Crime from the marxist and functionalist prospective

Essay by lea123University, Bachelor's September 2006

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Crime has become a major problem in Australia's society whether it be such crimes as theft, white collar crime or drug related it becomes evident as to why this is so. When adopting sociological theories such as the Marxist theory which was established by Karl Marx who based his theories on various societies such as the capitalist, along with looking at certain aspects of social life such as class, economics and inequality etc. In turn this lead to social theories such as the views of the state and alienation.

Along with the functionalist theory which was found by Emile Durkheim who believes society is made up of a number of functioning parts such as institutions, occupations and individuals each having a necessary function. Whilst certain functions maybe considered having more importance than others in order for society to work all aspects must function in the correct manner as this can lead to the breakdown of the social structure.

Crime within Australia has escalated to alarming rates in 2003 where a total of 196,926 crimes were committed. However these statistics only equated for 60% of the crimes that were actually committed under criminal acts such as homicide, assault, sexual assault and theft.

From a Marxist point of view this can be explained through economics and its inequalities with in our society though the relationship of production where by Karl Marx believed

"In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.