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Law & Social Control - Essay Example

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Further in the article Marx (1981) outlines the theories connected with the role of authorities in establishing the deviance which he calls “ironies”. Marx (1981) describes situations in which social control generates rule-breaking behavior and divides them into escalation, nonenforcement and covert facilitation. In discussing these types of social control, Marx (1981) uses mainly examples from criminal justice to make his point. In escalation, authorities unintentionally trigger rule-breaking by taking enforcement actions. The best example to depict the escalation type of situation is police involvement in family conflict. Police interference in interpersonal conflicts seems to lead to further violence, acting as “a breeding ground” for aggressive and provocative response. In nonenforcement, authorities contribute to deviance in more indirect way than in escalation. Here institutions prefer not to take enforcement actions and by this they intentionally permit rule breaking. Marx (1981) says that nonenforcement is the most difficult to identify, because this strategy is illegal and authorities often try to hide it. An example is given by the informant system, which is a major source of nonenforcement, though it plays crucial role to many kinds of law enforcement. Called a form of institutionalized blackmail, the informant system helps informants to avoid prison, or to receive reduced sentences. However, the informant source assists the police in arresting criminals which will not be caught with other means.
Covert facilitation represents taking deceptive enforcement actions through which authorities intentionally aid rule breaking. Marx (1981) calls this passive nonenforcement. Social control agents may infiltrate into certain structures and buy or sell illegal goods, victimize others or seek prostitutes in a tourist disguise. Covert facilitation ...Show more


These are – escalation, nonenforcement and covert facilitation. Marx (1981) tries to show the ironic point of view of some rules…
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Law & Social Control essay example
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