Class and Criminality
Rob White and John van der Velden, analyze the relationship between crime and the class structure by exploring typical patterns of crime associated with specific classes and discuss attempts by the state to regulate and control capitalist marketplace activities and working-class life. Empirical indicators are drawn from the Australian context. The authors were concerned that in the post-Cold War ambiance, both the study of the structural conditions producing crime, and class as an analytic category were falling by the wayside. For them, crime under capitalism is endemic to the system, involving working-class criminality and the crimes of members of the capitalist class and middle strata. Class criminality is causally linked to the logic of a system geared to capital accumulation and private profit, rather than to meeting social needs. The criminality associated with economic marginalization and social alienation stems from the subordinate position of the working class in society. In this regard, the functions of the welfare apparatus are extensively examined. Alternatively, the crimes of the well-to-do are linked to their efforts to enhance their competitiveness and profit margins within the context of market transactions, as well as to their ability to further their individual and collective social and material interests through a wide variety of illegal and formally legal means. The need to address legitimate personal safety concerns and the role of “law and order” campaigns are examined within this framework.
crime and politics; white collar crime; criminalization; criminology; crime control; crime, corporate; class structure
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 22, No. 1 (1995): 51-74