Left Realism

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  • Left Realism
    • Attitudes to crime
      • Like Marxists- are opposed to the inequality of a capitalist soceity
      • Unlike Marxists they are reformist not revolutionary sociologists
      • Believe in realistic solutions for reducing crime
        • Disagree with Marxists idea of a future revolution
    • Criticisms of other theories
      • Marxists concentrate on the crimes of the powerful but neglect working- class crime and its effects
      • Neo Marxists romanticise working-class criminals
      • Labelling theorists see criminals the victims of labelling and neglect the real victims
    • Causes of crime
      • Lea and Young identify three causes
        • Relative deprivation
          • How deprived someone feels in relation to others
          • They may have to resort to crime to obtain what they feel they are entitled too
          • Cultural inclusion but economic exclusion
        • Subculture
          • A subculture is a groups solution to the problem of relative deprivation
          • Not all subcultural solutions lead to crime
            • e.g. some turn to religion
          • Criminal subcultures subscribe to societies materialistic goals but legitimate opportunities are blocked so they turn to crime
        • Marginalisation
          • Unlike groups such as workers, unemployed youth are marginalised.
    • Late modernity and crime
      • Young- the problem of working class crime is worse, due to
        • Harsher welfare policies, increased unemployment, job security and poverty
        • Destabilisation of family and community life, weakening informal social bonds.
      • Changes in late modernity
        • Crime is now found throughout society, not just at the bottom
        • There is less consensus about what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
        • The public are less tolerant and demand harsher formal controls by the state
    • Solution to crime
      • Democratic policing (Kinsley Lea and Young)
        • To win public support the police must involve them in deciding policing policies and priorities.
        • Crime control must also have a multi-agency approach
          • e.g schools and social services. Not just police
        • Argue police are losing public support
          • Losing information they rely the public on for
        • Marxists argue its naiive for LR to make police accountable since they are a key part of the repressive state apparatus protecting capitalist intrests
      • Reducing inequality
        • Remove crimes underlying cause: social inequality
        • They call for major structural changes to tackle discrimination, inequality in opportunity, decent jobs, housing etc.
    • Criticisms
      • Ignores harm done to the poor by the powerful. Marxists argue it fails to explain corporate crime
      • Over predicts the amount of W/C crime


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