CRIME AND DEVIANCE - left realism

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  • Left realism
    • Crime is a real problem
      • Aetiological crisis
        • from 1950s onwards - increase in crime
          • Young - this led to aetiological crisis
          • the increase is too great to be explained by an increase in reporting or increased tendency to label the poor - more people reporting crime because more victims.
      • local victim surveys
        • show that the scale of the problem is even greater than shown in official statistics.
        • disadvantaged groups have a greater risk of becoming victims, especially of burglary, street crime and violence.
          • disadvantaged groups - greater fear of crime - fear of attack may prevent women from going out at night - less likely to report crimes against them and the police often reluctant to deal with crimes e.g. domestic violence, ****, racist attacks.
    • Causes of crime
      • Lea and Young (1984)
      • Relative deprivation
        • how deprived someone feels in relation to others or compared to own expectations.
          • leads to crime when people resent others for having more than them and resorting to crime to obtain these things.
            • increase in individualism causing disintegration of families and communities - undermining values of mutual support and selflessness - weakens informal controls  creating spiral of increasing anti-social behaviour, aggression and crime.
        • people more aware of relative deprivation due to media and advertising - raises expectations for material possessions.
        • Relative deprivation alone doesnt lead to crime - Young - combination of relative deprivation and individualism.
          • individualism - concern with the self and one's own individual rights, rather than those of the group.
            • causes crime by encouraging pursuit of self-interest at expense of others.
      • Subculture
        • some groups turn to crime - close deprivation gap
        • criminal subcultures subscribe to values and goals or mainstream society e.g. materialism and consumerism
          • yOUNG - ghettos in USA where there is 'full immersion in the American Dream: a culture hooked on Gucci, BMW etc.
            • Opportunities to achieve these goals legitimately are blocked - resort to street crime.
      • Marginalisation
        • unemployed youth - marginalised - no organisation to represent them and no clear goals - powerless - express frustration through criminal means e.g. violence and rioting.
    • Late modernity, exclusion and crime
      • Young - now living in stage of late modernity where instability, insecurity and exclusion make problem of crime worse.
      • deindustrialisation and loss of unskilled jobs - increased unemployment especially for young and ethnic minorities.
        • destabilised family and community life - increased exclusion of those at the bottom.
      • Greater inequality between rich and poor and spread of free marker values encouraging individualism - increased sense of relative deprivation
      • Young - growing contrast between cultural inclusion and economic exclusions as source of relative deprivation
        • media promotes cultural inclusion - poor have access to media's materialistic, consumerist cultural messages.
        • greater emphasis on leisure, personal consumption and immediate gratification, leading to higher expectations.
      • Merton - Anomie - society creates crime by setting cultural goals, while denying people that opportunity to achieve them legitimately.
      • The result of exclusion - amount and types of crime changing in late modernity - crime found increasingly throughout social structure - increase in hate crimes - result of relative deprivation downwards.
    • The falling crime rate
      • Young - second etiological crisis - since mid 1990s - crime rate has fallen - problem for reality explanations - suggest that crime is no longer major threat.
    • Rising antisocial behaviour rate
      • Since 1990s - governments introduced ASBOs and IPNAs
        • Blurring boundaries of crime
          • 'Incivilities' become crimes - breaching ASBO is a crime - 'manufacturing' more crime.
        • Subjective definition
          • anti-social behaviour has no objective definition
        • Flexibility
          • ASBOs used against people wearing hoodies, making noise, letting off fireworks etc. net constantly widened to generate endless number of infrindments
    • Tackling crime
      • Policing and control
        • Lea and Young (1986)
        • police clear-up rates too low to act as deterrent - police spend too little time investigating crimes. Public must become more involves in determining polices priorities and style of policing.
        • Military policing
          • police depend on public to provide them with information - police are loosing public support - flow of information dries up and police rely on military policing (random stop and searches) - alienates communities and results vicious circle - locals don't trust police and don't provide information.
        • Police need to improve relationship with local communities by spending more time investigating crime, changing priorities and involving public in policy making.
        • Crime control cannot be left to police alone - multi-agency approach - involving local councils social services, housing departments, schools, voluntary organisations, victims support and public.
      • Causes of crime - unequal structure of society and major structural changes needed to reduce crime - must deal with inequality of opportunity and unfairness of rewards, tackle discrimination etc.
      • Government policy
        • Young - criticises governments - largely addressed symptoms e.g. anti-social behaviour - tougher on crime rather than underlying causes
    • Evaluation
      • advantages
        • Suceeded in drawing attention to reality of street crime and effects - especially victims from deprived groups.
      • Criticisms
        • Henry and Milovanovic - accepts the authorities definition of crime as being street crime committed by poor, instead of defining problem as being one of how powerful groups do harm to poor.
        • Maxists - fails to explain corporate crime - more harmful.
        • Interactionists - left realist rely on quantitative data from victim surveys so cannot explain offenders' motives.
        • Relative deprivation cannot fully explain crime - not all those who experience it commit crime - over predicts amount of crime.

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