The New Right and Theories of Control

A look at some of the New Right theories and ideas towards crime

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Hirschi (1969)

T. Hirschi (1969) asked people 'why don't we commit crimes' which resulted in him discovering a number of 'social bonds' which cause us not to commit crimes

  • Attatchment - how much do we care about other people's opinions and wishes?
  • Commitment - personal investments such as relationships and houses which we lose if we commit crimes
  • Involvement - how much time do people actually have left to commit crimes after a job and family life
  • Belief - how much do we have a sense that we must obay the laws of society

The stronger these bonds are the less likely we are to commit crimes, if these bonds are weakened by thing such as unemployment or poor upbringing then we commit more crimes.

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Farrington and West, N. Dennis & Charles Murray

Farrington and West (1990) undertook a longitudinal study of 114 workign class males up to the age of 30, they found that 6% of the sample made up for 50% of the crimes committed and found that they were most likely to come from a pooer home which had 'bad parenting' and even more likely if fathers were in prison or had a single parent upbrining.

N. Dennis beleived that tere was a correlation between crime and family characteristics is a reflection of the change in wider society. The traditional 3 generattion provided stability and moral values however in the 1960s there was a decline in 'father presense' which led to a decline in social control. This had a knock on effect on 'external' social control (education etc.) and thus has made crime worse.

C. Murray (1990) examined the family and commitment and how that relates to offending rates. Over the past 30 years he discovered the ecistence of the 'underclass' who have no desire to earn money through legitimate means. They have few long term relationships, children outside of marriage and are brought up with little or no concern about society's values. Members of the underclass feel isolated and this leads to crime.

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Wilson & Etzioni - Communities

Wilson (1982) proposed the 'broken window' theory - if a building has one broken window then it is more likely the otehrs will be broken. This suggests that the first window shoudl be prevented from being broken and thus the others will not be broken - If you stop crime early then it prevents it secalating further

Etzioni (1993) writes about communitarianism, this is the way communities have changed. He suggests that communities used to feel powerful enough to deal with social disorder themselves but now feel a need to rely on the state to solve problems. Etzioni suggests we must return to the way things were before.

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Stephen Box

Steven Box (1983) takes a more Marxist prospective and beleived that the poor steal from the rich because they feel it is unfair that the rich has better lives than them. He claims that certain conditions must be met for crimes to be committed.

  • Secrecy - a person won't commit a crime if they know they'll get caught
  • Skills - a person must know how to cimmit a crime in order to get away with it
  • Supply - there needs to be somebody willing to take the stolen goods on
  • Symbolic support - All offfences must have some sort of justification or motivation
  • Social support - the wider community must agree that the reasons are justified
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