A2 RIGHT/LEFT REALISM - TOPIC 4 CRIME AND DEVIANCE

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  • Created on: 01-03-18 09:14

OVERVIEW OF REALIST THEORIES OF CRIME

  • realists are concerned with the widespread fear of crime and impact on victims 
  • argue there has been a significant rise in the crime rate eg street crime and assault 
  • focus on crime which is at the centre of public concern 
  • maintains free will and individal choice based on behaviour
  • RIGHT REALISTS - share the New Right / neo conservative political outlook and support the policies 
  • LEFT REALISTS - are socialists and favour different polcies for reducing crime 
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RIGHT REALISM - THE CAUSES OF CRIME

  • Right realists suggest crime is the product of three factors
  • 1. individual biological differences - WILSON AND HERNSTEIN - crime is caused by a combination of biological and social factors, argue becoming a criminal is a matter of choice of people who had never been properly socialised
  • 2. inadequate socialisation - the best agency of socialisation is the nuclear family. Society immediates gratification which leads to a lack of self control through poor socialisation in which creates the criminal. It can be pointed out that a disproportionate amount of crime is conducted by young men living in cities which leads to poor socialisation in schools/family along with the effects of contemporary culture of immediate gratification and low impulse control causing reduced self discipline and more likely to commit crime
  • HIRSCHI 'CONTROL THEORY' we all face temptations to commit crime, most people have strong community ties with family and school, offenders are people with poor self esteem and control which is from poor socialisation. 
  • CHARLES MURRAY -poor socialisation causes recidivism, research into underclass found common characteristcs of the criminal ie illegitimacy, violence, unemployment. There has been a rise in lone parent families creating a subcultue for young people who are lazy, drug addicts and immoral - absent fathers lack of role models for boys
  • 3. individuals rational choice to defend - assumes that individuals have free will and power of reason 
  • WILSON AND HERNSTEIN - argue the need to increase the cost of crime - getting caught - ie makring bulidings harder to break into and more security 
  • other realists - police should focus on working with local communties to prevent criminal damage 
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CRITICISMS OF RIGHT REALIST EXPLANATIONS

  • ignores wider structural causes such as poverty 
  • overstates offenders rationality and how far they make cost benefit calculations before commiting a crime
  • fails to explain impluse / violent crime only some utilitarian crime 
  • over emphasises biological factors 
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RIGHT REALISM - TACKLING CRIME

  • biological and sociological factors cannot be changed however their main focus is on control, containment and punishment of the offenders rather than the underlying causes 
  • crime prevention policies reduce the rewards and increase the cost of crime by using 'target hardening' ensuring punishments follow soon after the offence 
  • ZERO TOLERANCE - wilson and kelling - essential to maintain character within neighbourhoods to prevent crime so any signs of deterioration such as vandalism and graffitti must be dealt with straight away 
  • believe that the police should focus on street crime such as begging and drunkness so that law abiding citizens feel safe
  • this policy was introduced in New York however crime rate had already fallen nine years before zero tolerance policy
  • Young - argues that police in New York need arrests to justify their existence and shortage of serious crimes lead police to 'define deviance up' so arrested people for minor deviant acts and re-labelled them worthy of punishment
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CRITICISMS OF ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY

  • preoccupied with petty street crime and ignores corporate crime - more costly/harmful
  • gives the police free rein to discriminate against youths and homeless
  • over emphasises control of disorder rather than tackling the causes of neighbourhood decline such as lack of investment 
  • target hardening / zero tolerance led to displacement of crime in other areas 
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LEFT REALISM

  • critical of other perspectives that see longer sentences and more prisons as the solution to rising crime rates 
  • oppose the views of Marxists, Neo-Marxists and radical feminsts 
  • see 'idealism' as ignoring real victims of crime 
  • accept crime as a problems for women and working class women communities 
  • argue that victims should be taken seriously 
  • causes of crime must be given more emphasis by politicians 

AETIOLOGICAL CRISIS 

this is a crisis for explantion for the theories of crime. Left realists take crime seriously to show that disadvantaged groups have a greater risk of becoming victims and a fear of crime. For example some women may feel they cannot go out late at night because they may be attacked

THE CAUSES OF CRIME - LEA AND YOUNG 

  • RELATIVE DEPRIVATION 
  • SUBCULTURE 
  • MARGINALISATION
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LEFT REALISM - CAUSES OF CRIME RD

RELATIVE DEPRIVATION 

  • refer to Runcimans concept of RD- refers to how deprived someone feels in relation to others, compared with their own expectations, this can lead to crime when people resent others unfairly 
  • people are more aware of RD due to media and advertisment which raises expectations for material possessions and those who cannot afford result to crime 
  • main focus is RD as most members are victims of crime - vulnerable members of society
  • Young suggests that wealthier societies got crime rates increased due to people who see themselves as deprived 
  • RD does not just lead to crime it can lead to individualism - refers to the concen with one's self and individual rights , it causes crime by encouraging the pursuit of self interest at the expense of others 
  • increasing individualism and a combination of RD leads to causing disintegration of families and community by undermining the values of mutal support, this leads to the weaking of informal controls which creates anti social behaviour, aggression and crime. 
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LEFT REALISM - CAUSES OF CRIME SUBCULTURE

SUBCULTURE 

  • cohen, merton, cloward and ohlin - concepts of blocked opportunities and subcultures as a groups reaction to the failure to achieve mainstream goals - a subculture is a groups collective solution to the problem of relative deprivation 
  • different groups produce different subcultural solutions to this problem, some may turn to crime to close the 'deprivation gap' others find religion offers a 'theodicy of disprivilege' - weber 
  • criminal subcultures still subscribe to values and goals of mainstream society - materialism and consumerism - american dream - however opportunities to achieve these goals can be blocked so they resort to crime instead 
  • changes in 

MARGINALISATION 

  • marginalised groups lack both clear goals and organisation, groups such as workers have clear goals and better pay, there is no need to resort to violence and crime 
  • changes in world economy leads to the decline in unskilled workers and semi skilled occupations, eg afro carribeans and other lower class group of males with low levels of education - this excludes them from mainstream society through inacessible job market 
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LEFT REALISM - LATE MODERNITY, EXCLUSION AND CRIME

YOUNG - we are living in late modern society - instability, insecurity and exclusion - makes the problem of crime worse. The 1950-60's was the golden age - modern capitalist society was stable and secure, societies were strong with a general consensus. now in 1970's society has been under de-industrialisation with unskilled and low paid jobs, there has been a greater inequality between the rich and poor which encourages individualism. changes in the world economy leads to a decline in unskilled workers and semi skilled occupations, eg afro carribeans and lower class males with low levels of educational attainment excludes them from mainstream society through an inaccessible job market and areas of society

  • YOUNG - sees the growing contrast between cultural inclusion and economic exclusion as a source of relative deprivation. The media promotes cultural inclusion - the poor have access to media's materalistic needs. There is a greater emphasis on immediate gratification and leisure leading to higher expectations for a good life. The poor are denied opportunities to in society - the myth of meritocracy 
  • society creates crime by setting cultural goals while denying people the opportunity to achieve them by legitimate means 
  • late modern society is diverse - less public consensus - morals become blurred, leads to harsher penalties and increased criminalisation- a high crime society with low tolerance for crime
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LEFT REALISM - RISING ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

  • crime surveys show anti social behaviour rising - Young sees this as 'defining deviance up' 
  • ASBOS have been introduced 
  • the blurring of the boundaries 
  • the subjective definition of anti social behavior has no objective definintion 
  • flexibilty shows that ABSO's have been used against people wearing hoodies and begging
  • while the crime rate is going down government have created new 'anti social behaviour' wave to replace it 

Falling crime rate 

  • since 1990s crime rate has fallen
  • Young - crime is a social construction therefore it will continue to be seen as a problem 
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LEFT REALISM - TACKLING CRIME

  • POLICING AND CONTROL - police need to improve relationships with local communities and spend more time on investigating crime
  • crime cannot be left just to the police a multi agency is needed
  • crime lies in the unequal structures of society so strutcural changes need to be made, dealing with the inequality and unfairness in society
  • must become tolerant of diveristy, provide jobs for everyone and improve housing and communities 
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LEFT REALISM EVALUATION

  • suceeds to drawing attention to the reality of street crime and its effects 
  • interactions - argure because left realists rly on quantitv data from victim surveys they cannot explain the offenders motives
  • use of subcultural theory means that left realists assume that value consensus exists and that crime only occurs when this breaks down 
  • relative deprivation cannot fully explain crime because not all those who commit it experienece it 
  • this theory over predicts the amount of crime 
  • focuses on high crime inner city areas and gives an unrepresentative view 
  • the main solution lies in accounting policy and reducing inequality 
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