Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Spitzer, Steven: Capitalism and Crime
According to Marxist criminologists such as Steven Spitzer, crime in capitalist societies cannot be fully understood unless criminologists comprehend the nature of the capitalist economic system, the class relations upon which that system rests, and the ways in which those class relations in turn reproduce the economic system. These relations determine to a large extent how crime is defined, who gets labeled and processed as “criminals,” and the social response to crime. Spitzer argues that understanding crime and deviance requires criminologists to reflect on who and what are considered to be deviant (1975, p. 638). Why, for example, is so little attention paid to corporate crime compared to street crime? How do we account for changing definitions of crime and deviance? Why are certain groups disproportionately singled out for processing by the criminal justice system? For Spitzer, the answers to such questions require criminologists to appreciate that crime and other ...