Left Realist view of Crime & Deviance - Detailed notes.

Detailed notes on the Left Realist view of Crime & Deviance, including:

  • Into to Left Realism & their views
  • Explaining Crime - Lea & Young (1984)
  • Tackling Crime - Kinsey et al (1986) & Young (1992,1997)
  • Understanding Crime - The 'square of crime'
  • Strengths and weaknesses of Left Realism.
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A2 Sociology 1st April 2011
Crime & Deviance
Left Realist view of Crime & Deviance
Like Marxists, Left Realists accept that structural inequalities and perceptions
of injustice are the major causes of crime
Through victim surveys, they found that the sort of crime that worries people
most is street crime like mugging, violence, car crime and burglary
These are mainly performed by young working-class males, both black and
The main victims of these offences are the poor, the deprived, the ethnic
minorities and the inner-city residents
Left Realists recognise that most people don't care much about white collar or
corporate crime, as it has little impact on their lives
Lea & Young (1984) ­ Explaining crime
Lea & Young attempt to explain why people turn to crime using three key
Relative Deprivation:
o It is not deprivation as such that causes people to commit crime, but
whether they see themselves as deprived in comparison with others
o In modern societies, advertises stress the importance of economic
success and promote middle-class lifestyles
o L&Y argue that rising crime is partly the result of rising expectations of
high standards of living, combined with restricted opportunities to
achieve this
o Working-class deviant subcultures emerge as group solutions to
problems arising from social inequality, though they take different forms
over time and in different contexts
o These can act as motivators for crime, as some working-class
subcultures see offending as acceptable behaviour
o Second-generation West Indian immigrants' sub cultural solutions
include the Rastafarian and Pentecostal religions as well as `hustling'
for money and street crime.
o Some groups find themselves politically and economically `on the edge'
of society
o This is due to factors such as poor education achievement,
unemployment, and lack of involvement in community organisations
o The key to avoid marginality is employment, as workers have clearly
defined objectives, such as higher wages
o Young, unemployed West Indians do not have clearly defined aims or
pressure groups to represent them
Chris Cartwright

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A2 Sociology 1st April 2011
Crime & Deviance
o They feel a general sense of resentment which can lead to them taking
to the streets and rioting
Tacking Crime
Left Realists develop practical policies to tackle crime. For example, they see better
and more democratic policing as central to reducing crime, and protecting its main
victims: working-class people.…read more

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A2 Sociology 1st April 2011
Crime & Deviance
Understanding crime
Left Realists believe that crime can only be understood in terms of the relationship
between the four elements in the `square of crime', as shown in the diagram below.…read more

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A2 Sociology 1st April 2011
Crime & Deviance
The offenders
o Why do they choose to offend? Are they marginalised or relatively
o Offenders choose to commit crimes ­ to what extent are they driven to
it by outside forces?
Strengths of Left Realism
It explains the social causes of crime, and recgonises that tackling crime
means tackling inequalities
It recognises that most victims of crime are poor and working class, and the
importance of tacking crime and the fear of crime
It recognises…read more


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