Left Realism

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  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 03-06-16 12:14

LR has developed since the 1980s. Like RR, it sees crime as a real problem. But while RRs are New Right Conservatives, LRs are socialists.

- Like Marxists, LRs are opposed to 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.

- While Marxists believe only a future revolution can bring a crime free society, LRs believe we need realistic solutions for reducing it now.

Criticisms of other theories:

LR accuse other sociologists of not taking crime seriously:

  • Traditional Marxists concentrate on crimes of the powerful but neglect w/c crime and its effects.
  • Neo Marxists romanticise w/c criminals, whereas in reality they mostly victimise other w/c people.
  • Labelling theorists see criminals as the victims of labelling. LRs argue that this neglects the real victims.
  • Its main victims are disadvantaged groups: the w/c, ethnic minorities and women. They are more likely to be victimised and less likely to find the police take crimes against them seriously. (e.g. racist attacks, domestic violence).
  • There has been a real increase in crime. This has led to an aetiological crisis( crisis of explanation) e.g. labelling theory sees the rise as just a social construction, not a reality. LRs argue that the increase is too great to be explained in this way and is real.

The causes of crime

Left realists, Lea and Young identify 3 causes of crime -


For LR, crime has its roots in relative deprivation- how deprived someone feels in relation to others. When they feel others unfairly have more, they resort to crime to obtain what they feel they're entitiled to.

There is cultural inclusion: even the poor have access…


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