Asses the Marxist View of Society
Marxists believe that the ideas that people hold are formed by their position in society, and ideology is therefore seen very clearly as the ideas of particular social groups reflecting their interests. The Marxist view is most associated with the view that there is a dominant ideology in society. This is a set of ideas and beliefs held by the most powerful groups and, in particular, of the ruling class in society. Mannheim (1985 1936) generally associated the dominant ideology with the deliberate obscuring of facts in order to conceal the inequalities of capitalist society and to prevent existing patterns of inequality and the privileged position of the dominant class, and to prevent any social change that might threaten their interests. Althusser (1971) ...view middle of the document...
An example of this is the way Marxists regard religion as part of the dominant ideology, establishing the hegemony and justifying the power of the ruling class.
Marxists have a negative view on society, especially on the criminal justice system. Marxist approaches to take the position that the law reflects the vested interests of a certain section in society. However, where the interactionist approach sees society as composed of numerous groups competing to have their views adopted, the Marxist view is that there are fundamentally two opposing sets of values – those of the ruling class and those of the proletariat.
According to Marxists, the ruling class successfully imposes its values on society and also laws that reflect its own interests. This is possible because the ruling class has control over the institutions that diffuse values in society, such as education system and the media, and it also has control over the political process. Those values which are viewed as deviant and those values which are viewed as both deviant and illegal are reflections of the power of the ruling class.
However, Marxist theories seem to ignore individual motivation as a cause of crime. The stress is primarily on the nature of capitalism and how economic factors ‘force’ people to act in various ways. As such, Marxist explanations are often attacked for being highly deterministic, rarely considering notions of individual free-will.
Also Marxists seem to suggest that the high rate of recorded crime among the working class, the youth, and black communities is solely the outcome of biased policing. At the same time they argue that the laws are biased against the working class, thus forcing them into crime.