Assess different Marxist views of the relationship between crime and social class. Marxist theorists suggest that the workings of society can be explained by the concept of exploitation – the ruling class exploit the working class. This is the fundamental point by which Chambliss pointed to explore the relationship between class and crime. Traditional Marxists imply that the judiciary system is beneficial to the ruling class only. This dominant ideology disseminates through agencies such as, education, media, and religion which is forced onto individuals, this process is known as hegemony.
The capitalistic society is based upon consumers and competition therefore crime can be seen as an inevitable outcome of these values which stress looking after one self at the expense of others. In other words, those maintaining the capitalistic society maximize the benefit of the criminal judiciary system. If we look at the traits of the concept of capitalism, it is likely that the upper classes are able to commit such white collar crimes such as fraud and theft without any comeuppance. Marxists theorists provide explanations how crime is dealt within society, in order to maintain the status quo.
Capitalism inevitably plays a large role in this, as they divert attention of the masses away from the causes of crime and the capitalist controlled judiciary system aids capitalist society play on this, as society views young working class white/black males as criminal/deviant groups. This instills a moral panic in society when capitalist controlled journalists write cases based on where black working class youth have wronged white upper class people, i. e. cases such as mugging and assault. Society will then watch the news and read newspapers and make assumptions and stereotype all black youth they come across as bad news.
Chambliss argues that crime occurs throughout all social strata – the major differences being the nature of the crimes committed and the amount of law enforcement involved. He suggests that power in the form of money to influence is the key factor which determines who gets arrested and who does not. He implies that those whom operate organized crime are members of the economic and political elite therefore, with the motto money to influence in mind; those operating organized white collar crime are less likely to be addressed by the police and law enforcement agencies.
Chambliss views crime as a natural product of capitalist society. Members of all class use whatever means and opportunities their class position provides to commit crime therefore in low income areas the mugger/pusher/assaulter/prostitute use what they have to get what they can. In higher income areas, businessmen, lawyers and politicians have more effective means as their disposal.