Left Realist explanations of Crime

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  • Created by: Maria
  • Created on: 17-06-10 16:24

Left Realism –

· Left realists believe that capitalism can be changed to help the working class. Left realists also try to address the problems of other sociological theories

· While they agree with Marxists that white collar crime has been underestimated, they argue that working class crimes still hold the more severe consequences on a personal level

· Lea and Young (1984):

o Argue that there are three main concepts which explain crime;

§ Relative Deprivation; which is where groups feel deprived in comparison to other groups. The working class of one area may feel they are ‘worse off’ than the working class of another area, and may turn to crime to prevent the experience of relative deprivation. The rise in living standards overall may lead to relative deprivation becoming more widespread

§ Subculture; lifestyles may develop to cope with relative deprivation, and people will similar lifestyles will form a subculture. The subculture will all experience similar levels of relative deprivation, and may commit crimes to cope with this

§ Marginalisation; when groups lack the power and status to be represented in political life and have their needs voiced. They may turn to crime in order to ensure that their interests are represented

· Left realists also believe that relationships between offender, victim, state and society should be studied in order to understand crime. This is known as the square of crime. Without all of these elements, crime is not possible to understand, as all work together

o Studying the state enables sociologists to understand how dealing with crimes affects crime; for example, military policing may lead to confrontation



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