Topic 4 - Realist Theories

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: 09eatonb
  • Created on: 29-12-15 20:04

Realism -

  • see crime as a real problem, especially for its victims, they propose policies to reduce crimes
  • realist aproaches divide along politial lines

Right Realism - 

  • Conservative / new right political outlook 
  • support a 'zero tolerance' stance on crime.
  • Very influencial on the UK and USA
  • see crime as a growing problem
  • believe other theories have failed to solve the problem of crime - they regard labelling theory and critical criminology theory as too sympathetic to the criminal and hostile to the police and courts 
  • solutions = mainly concerned with practical solutions to reduce crime - through control and punishment 
  • Causes of crime - 
    • reject the idea that strucural or ecnomic factors such as poverty are the causes of crime e.g the old are poor yet they have a very low crime rate
    • crime is a product of 3 factors:
    • Biological differences  =
      • WILSON AND HERRNSTEIN (1985) - crime is caused by a combination of biological and social fators
        • Biological differences between individuals make some people more liable to commit crime, due to personailty traits e.g aggressiveness, risk-taking or low intelligence - all biologically determined
    • The Underclass = 
      • Effective socialisation decreases the risk of offending by teaching self-control and correct values.
      • RRs see the nuclear family as the best agency of socialisation
        • However, accprding to MURRAY (1990) - The nuclear family is being undermined by the welfare state, which is creating welfare dependecy and encouraging the growth of an underclass who fail to socialise their chldren properly.
        • Generous welfare provision has led to the growth of benefit dependent lone parent families, since men no longer need to take responsibility for supporting their families.
        • Absent fathers mean that boys lack discipline and anappropriate role model, so they turn to delinquent role models in street gangs and gain status through crime rather than through supporting their family.
    • Rational choice theory =
      • CLARKE (1980) - rational choice theory assumes individuals are human beings with free will
        • Deciding to commit crime is a choice based on a rational calculation of the consequences
        • If the rewards of crime appear to outweigh the costs, people are more likely to offend - Crime rate is high because the the percieved costs are low, e.g. little risk of being caught and lenient punishments
      • FELSON (1998) - routine activity theory argues that for crime to occur there must be:
        • A motivated offender, a suitable target (victim or property) and the absence of a 'capable gardian' (policeman o neighbour)
        • Offenders act rationally, sp the presence of a guardian is likely to deter them.
  • Solutions to crime -
    • RRs believe it is pointless trying to tackle the underlying causes of crime since they are hard to change.
    • Instead they focus on the control and punishment of offenders
      • WILSON AND KELLING (1982) - we must keep neighbourhoods orderly to prevent crime taking hold, any sign of deteriation e.g. graffiti must be dealt with immediately.
      • They advocate 'zero tolerance' policing. The police should focus on controling the streets so law abiding citizens…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »