Sociology Crime and Deviance Realism

Left and Right Realism Sociology Crime and Deviance

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  • Created by: Cookie
  • Created on: 01-06-12 22:44

Left Realism

Left realists are reformist socialists and favour policies to promote equality.

Like Marxists, Left realists are opposed to the inequality of capitalist society and see it as a cause of crime.

LEA and YOUNG: Causes:

  • Relative deprivation--> feel others have unfairly more, so resort to crime. (similiar to mertons theory)
  • Subculture--> a groups solution to relative deprivation. It offers illegitimate opportunity structure, providing alternative status hierachy to win status delinquently.
  • Marginalisation--> no organisation to represent and no clear goals, just frustration.
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Left Realism

Left Realists criticise other theorists:

Traditional Marxist: conentrate on crimes of powerful but not subject class

Neo Marxist: romanticise subject class criminals, whereas, in reality they victimise subject class too.

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Right Realism

Right realists share conservative New Right outlook and support zero tolerance on crime.They see other theories have failed to solve the problem of crime. Labelling theory is too sympathetic to criminals.

Causes of crime: 

  • Biological differences: WILSON and HERNSTEIN--> some people are predisposed to commit crime due to personality, e.g. aggressiveness.
  • The underclass: socialisation decreases risks of offending, teaching correct values. Absent fathers = no discipline. MURRAY--> argues that the nuclear family is undermined by welfare state, creating welfare dependancy and encouraging growth of the underclass who fail to socialise.
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Right Realism

Solutions to crime:

Right Realists believe its pointless to tackle causes. Instead, tackle punishment.

WILSON and KELLING--> keep neighbourhoods orderly to prevent crime. Any graffiti must be dealt with. Police should focus more on streets.

Rational choice theory: CLARKE--> individuals are rational beings with free will. Doing cost benefit analysis, finding reward outweighs costs, then there will be more offenders.

FELSON--> routine activity theory argues that for crime to occur there must be a motivated offender, suitable target and absence of police.

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Evaluation of Right Realism

  • Ignores structural causes of crime, for example, poverty.
  • Ignores corporate crime, which is more costly
  • Ignores causes of decline of crime

Evaluation of the causes of crime (biological differences)

  • How can criminals be both rational actors freely choosing crime, while their behaviour is determined by their socialisation and biology

Solution to crime evaluation

  • Zero tolerance policies allow police to discriinate against ethnic minorities, youth, and homeless.
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