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Structural Theory of Conflict - Research Paper Example

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April 15, 2011 Structural Theory of Conflict Sociological perspectives can be broadly divided into two main branches: structuralists or positivists and interpretivists. The structuralists include the functionalists and the conflict perspectives relating to the theories of Karl Marx…
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Download file to see previous pages However, since the 1970s newer approaches have started to come out with new concepts of criminology. All of these approaches evolved into what is now known as left realism. The major difference which can be found between the left idealism and left realism is a moral issue which will be discovered later in this article. Traditional Marxist Theories Marx himself had very little to say about crime. He merely explained it as a product of poverty. However, there are other sociologists who have built the traditional Marxist approach to crime. There are four main areas which are discussed by the traditional Marxist approach: the manipulation of values; the process of law creation; the enforcement of law; and individual motivation. According to the Marxists society is controlled by powerful industrialists- bourgeoisie. Control is maintained in the society by means of socialization and threat. Through the process of socialization the young are taught to obey the power and value of the capitalist system. A wide range of social institutions such as the school, mass media and religion convey the message to the masses. Marxists claim that the meaning of crime depends upon the dominant social values. A very valid example would be that the murder of a person in a brawl will be counted as a severe crime but the death of a factory worker is considered an accident even though the cause of the accident might be the irresponsible attitude of the management. The problem which results from this is that the perception which is created through the sociological institutions that much of the crime is carried out by the youth, or the working class men or the black. This creates an ideology which causes the law enforcement agencies to focus more on these people and as a consequence there are more policemen in such areas. According to concepts of Marx law is created by the ruling class. The ruling class ensures that the laws not only maintain their dominance but they also provide them the freedom to carry out oppression and also preventing the working class for improving their standard of living. Marxists also argue that the law enforcement acts as a major catalyst in widening the gap between the ruling class and the working class. This is quite visible by the way that crime is handled. Street crimes are more likely to be punished more severely than white-collar crimes. This is compounded by the fact that white-collar crimes are very likely to be dealt by the firm itself by firing etc. to avoid the scandals. Apart from this the treatment of these crimes is also a question mark on the law enforcement system where street crimes might result in long jail sentences whereas corporate or white-collar crimes usually only result in heavy crimes. Two areas which are explained and discussed extensively in Marxist studies are mugging and corporate crime. When ‘mugging’ is discussed most important details are provided by Hall et al. (1979) in the book policing the Crisis.’ It was in the early 1970s that mugging became the headline news in Britain. Mugging can be defined as robbery in the streets where the person is threatened or harmed. Mugging was an entirely new concept for the masses and simultaneously grabbed the focus of the news agencies who from time to time reported these crimes. This had increased such that the stat came out that it had increased by 129 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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