Realist Theories 2

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  • Realist Theories 2
    • Left Realism
      • Are reformists socialists and favour policies to promote equality.
      • Like Marxists, LR oppose the inequality of capitalist society and see it as the root cause of crime.
      • Unlike Marxists, they are reformist not revolutionary socialists: they believe gradual reforms are the only realistic way to achieve equality.
      • Believe that Traditional Marxists concentrate on crimes of the powerful but neglect w/c crime and it's effect, whilst Neo-Marxists romanticise w/c criminals, when in reality they mostly victimise other w/c people.
      • Labelling theorists see criminals as the victims of labelling but this neglects the real victims.
      • LR believe taking crime seriously involves recognsing that its main victims are disadvantaged groups and that there has been a real increase in crime.
      • Lea & Young indentify three related  causes of crime.
      • 1. Relative deprivation - how deprived someone feels in relation to others. There is a growing contrast between cultural inclusion and economic exclusion and this increases relative deprivation.
      • There is cultural inclusion where even the poor have access to the media's materialistic messages, but also an economic exlucsion of the poor from opportunities to gain the 'glittering prizes'.
      • 2. Subculture - a group's solution to relative deprivation. Criminal subcultures subscribe to society's materialistic goals, but legitimate opportunities are blocked, so they resort to crime.
      • 3. Marginalisation - unemployed youth are marginalised as they have no organisation to represent them and no clear goals - only powerlessness and frustration, which they express through criminal means e.g. violence and rioting.
      • Young - since the 70s the problem of w/c crime is worse due to harsher welfare policies, increased unemployment, job insecurity and poverty.
      • Destabilisation of family and community life, weakening informal social controls.
      • He also notes that crime is now found throughout society, not just at the bottom.
      • There is less consensus about what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and informal controls are now less effective as families and communites disintegrate.
      • The public are less tolerant and demand hasher formal controls y the state. Late modern society is a high crime society with a low tolerance for crime.
      • Democratic policing - Kinsey, Lea & Young argue that police rely on the public for information but they are losing public support so the flow of information dries up and they must rely instead of military polcing such as 'swamping' an area.
      • To win public support, they must involve the public. Crime contorl must also involve a multi-agency approach e.g. social services, schools and not just the police.
      • Marxists argue that left realists are naive to assume that the police can be made accountable, since they are a key part of the repressive state apparatus protexting capitalist interests.
      • Reducing inequality - major structual changes to tackle discrimination, inequality of opportunities and unfairness of rewards and provide decent jobs and housing for all
      • Over-predicts the amount of w/c crime as not everyone who experiences relative deprivation and marginalisation turns to crime.
      • Understanding offenders' motives requires qualitative data, but LR relies on quantitative data from victim surveys.
      • Focusing on high-crime inner-city areas makes crime appear a greater problem than it is.


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