TOPIC 4: REALISM
· Right realism sees crime as a growing problem that destroys communities, undermines social cohesion and threatens society’s work ethic. Right realists criticise other theories for failing to offer any practical solutions to the problem of rising crime.
· They also regard theories such as labelling as too sympathetic to the criminal and too hostile to the forces of law and order. Right realists are less concerned to understand the causes of crime and more concerned with providing realistic solutions.
· Wilson provided the justification for widely adopted policies such as Zero Tolerance of street crime and disorder.
· Less concerned with causes of crime but finding realistic solutions. However, they do provide an explanation to the cause.
The causes of crime:
· Right realists reject the idea put forward by Marxists and other structural or economic factors such as poverty. For right realists, crime is the product of three factors: individual biological differences, inadequate socialisation and the underclass, and rational choice to offend
· Wilson and Herrnstein put forward a biosocial theory of criminal behaviour. In their view, crime is caused by a combination of biological and social functions. Biological differences between individuals make some people innately more strongly predisposed to commit crime than others. Similarly, Herrnstein and Murray argue that the main cause of crime is low intelligence, which they also see as biologically determined.
Socialisation and the underclass
· Effective socialisation decreases the risk since it involves self-control and internalising value of right and wrong.
· Charles Murrayargues that the crime rate is increasing because ofa growing underclass or ‘new rabble’ that is defined by their deviant behaviour and those who fail to socialise their children properly. According to Murray, the underclass is growing both in the US and the UK.
· Lone mothers are ineffectively socialisation agents especially for boys. Absent fathers means that boys lack male role models and as a result, young males turn to other, often delinquent, role models on the street and gain status through crime rather than supporting their families through a steady job.
· For Murray, the underclass is not only a source of crime. Its very existence threatens society’s cohesion by undermining the values of hard work and personal responsibility.
· Murray argues that crime is increasing in both the USA and the UK as a result of welfare dependency as individuals become dependent on the state which leads to a decline in marriage and growth of lone parent families.
· Bennett, Dilulio & Walters argue crime is a result of – ‘growing up surrounded by deviant, delinquent and criminal adults in a practically perfect criminogenic environment – that seems almost consciously designed to produce vicious, predatory, unrepentant street crime’
Rational choice theory
· Right realists argue that crime comes from rational choice theory, which assumes that individuals have free will and the power of reason. Clarke…