Realist explanations of crime and deviance

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  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 15-11-15 11:28
For Key Assumptions of realists, do they accept or reject official statistics on crime and therefore what do they seek to explain?
-Largely accept official crime statistics, -They seek to explain the real problem of rising crime levels committed by the main culprits,
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What are the 5 categories suggested by official crime statistics for those who are most likely to commit crimes?
-Young, -Black, -Working class, -Males, -Often from urban areas,
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For a key assumption, what approach do they reject that explain crime and deviance away and example theories?
They reject approaches such as Marxism and Interactionists who explain crime and deviance away as a social construction,
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For a key assumption, what kind of explanation do they offer for crime and deviance?
A structural casual explanation,
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For a key assumption, what solutions do they believe will reduce real problems based on what kinds of crime?
-Practical solutions, -Crimes which have detrimental effects on victims and communities (especiallu poorer social groups,
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For key assumptions, what kind of methods do they prefer to investigate crime and deviance?
Quantitative victim surveys as well as official crime statistics,
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What type of victim surveys do left and right realists favour?
Left realists favour local victim surveys, -Right realists favour national victim surveys,
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What type of theory is left realism?
A conflict theory
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Give the name of the sociologist who supports left realism?
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Who do left realists blame?
They blame society/ inequalities/ deprivation,
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What does left realism/ Young suggest are the three structural causes of crime?
-Marginalisation, -Relative Deprivation, -Subcultures,
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What is the definition of marginalisation?
Not able to take an active part in society due to unemployment, lack of money,
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For marginalisation, who does Young suggest feels marginalised in late modern society and why?
-Growing numbers of working class and black youths, -Due to insecurities such as recessions, unemployment and family instability such as divorce,
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However, what do left realists stress about marginalisation?
It is not in itself a direct cause of crime- They reject simplisitic links between poverty, unemployment and crime,
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What does Young argue is the link between crime and relative deptivation?
Young argues crime is most likely to follow when individuals or groups feel relatively deprived,
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What is the definition of relatively deprived?
This is when the marginalised feel worse off than other groups and feel social injustice,
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What is the pattern of feelings of relative deprivation in late modern society and why?
He suggests the feelings of relative deprivation have increased, -This is because expectations regarding consumption/ cultural inclusion (e.g. latest mobiles) have increased due to media pressures,
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However, what does Young stress about relative deprivation as an argument alone?
It doesnt necessarily lead to crime.
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What does Young say is most likely to cause crime when coupled with relative deprivation and the definition?
A strong sense of individualism= concern for oneself rather than others,
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As an example, what was the level of umployment for 16-24 year olds in November 2011?
1 million, 21.9%
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On top of unemployment, what did who do to welfare benefits and tax credits in November 2011?
-George Osborne, -Cuts in welfare benefits, -Increased reduction to tax creditsl
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Lastly, what did David Cameron announce in June 2012 for under 25s?
He announced proposed cuts to housing benefits,
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How does the above evidence cause relative deprivation and what can this lead to with another example?
The above may make working class and black youths feel relatively deprived and feel injustice and therefore fight back at an unequal society e.g. London riots,
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Who does Young argue in late modernity has relative deprivation spread to?
The middle classes,
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Who does he claim the middle class resent?
He claims there is 'relative deprivation downwards' where the middle classes feel resentful of the underclass,
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What does relative deprivation downwards explain and an example?
'hate crimes' e.g. racist attacks against asylum seekers,
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What emerges as a group response to marginalisation and relative deprivation?
Criminal and deviant subcultures,
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What do subcultures allow for groups of individuals?
They allow groups of individuals to feel socially included and facilitate crime and deviance by making such behaviour seem acceptable,
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What does Young suggest about the diversity of subcultures and their acts?
He suggests that an increasing variety of subcultures exists (religious, criminal, conflict and retreatist) and shape the type of deviant activity engaged in,
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What practical solutions do Left Realists believe would reduce the spread of crime?
Government intervention and community involvement. They favour 'justice' policies,
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Give 5 examples of 'justice' policies to reduce crime?
1) Anti-discrimination policies, 2)Reduce economic inequality, 3)Create more training and employment opportunities 4)Build police community partnership, 5)Greater use of community service sentences,
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What political group form right realist arguments?
New Right
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Who do right realists largely blame for crime?
They blame the individual/ deviant (although they partly blame society).
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What do right realists see as they key to undrstanding growths in crime?
Inadequate social control,
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What do right realists argue are the 6 causes of crime?
1) Biological differences, 2)Socialisation and the underclass, 3) Rational choice, 4) Breakdown in the moral fabric of society, 5)Breakdown in social order 6)Opportunity
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What sociologists believe crime is caused by a combination of biological and social factors?
Wilson and Herrnstein,
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Give examples of biological traits which causes such people to commit crime?
Aggressiveness, extroversion, risk taking and low IQ predispose,
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What sociologist sees the growth of the underclass as the key cause of crime?
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Who does Murray argue are inadequatly socialised and why?
Children from fatherless single parent families, -They lack a male role model and authority figure,
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What does Murray also suggest the over-generous welfare system has created and what does this lead to?
-It has created a dependency culture, -Where the underclass have become content to live off benefits and crime as their work ethic has been eroded,
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Who does Murray believe young males turn to and gain what? What do they do this instead of?
Murray believe some young males turn to criminal role models on the street and gain status through crime, -They do this rather than supporting their families,
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What sociologist provides the argument that crime can be understood as rational choice and what does this mean?
-Cornish and Clarke, -Where the benefits outweigh the costs,
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What do Cornish and Clarke argue crime can be seen as and why?
-Attractive, -Due to a 'lenient' criminal justice system which offers 'soft' social control,
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How does this theory link to the London riots in 2011?
UK riots 2011- Because so many people were rioting in August 2011, the benefits of the goods outweighed the costs as it was unlikely they would be caught and punished,
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What sociologist argues that crime and deviance is linked to a breakdown in the moral fabric of society?
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What is suggested about agencies of social control and examples?
It is suggested that schools and religion have become less effictive agencies of social control,
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What does Marsland believe less effective agencies of social control has led to?
A decline in morality e.g. knowing right from wrong and as a consequence crime has increased,
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What sociologist argues the argument of the breakdown in social order causing crime?
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What does Wilson argue about the breakdown in social order?
He argues that disorder in certain neighbourhoods leads to more crime and deviance as a sense of community is lost, and with it informal control,
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What sociologist provides evidence that crime is linked to opportunity?
Opportunity so the situations in which deviants find themselves with little risk,
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What solutions do right realists favour to help deter crime?
Tougher social control,
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What solution do right realists suggest for biological differences as a cause of crime?
No suggested solution
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What solution do right realists suggest for socialisation and the underclass?
Cut back welfare benefits,
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What solution do right realists suggest for rational choice as a cause of crime?
Moe and longer prison sentences,
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What solution do right realists suggest for the breakdown in the moral fabric of society?
Citizenship education,
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What solution do right realists suggest for the breakdown in social order?
Zero tolerance policing,
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What solution do right realists suggest for opportunity as a cause of crime?
Target hardening e.g. security locks,
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Who provides empirical support for left realism and what is his support based on?
Jones et al's, -His local Islington crime survey
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What does Jones et al and his crime survey suggest about crime in urban areas to support left realism?
His survey shows that crime is a real problem for inner city residents. They found that levels of victimisation and fear of crime were high, especially amongs women. In these areas, levels of deprivation are high, thus levels of marginalisation are,
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What research has what sociologist provided empirical support for right realism, specifically Murray?
-Flood-Page et al, -Offers partial support for Murray's views on 'family decline'. They found children (especially males) from lone parent backgrounds were more likely to offende than those living with two natural parents,
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However, although Flood-Page et al shows a correlation between family structures and offending, what do they stress about it being a cause of crime?
They stress that single parenhood/ step-families is not a cause of crime. What is key, is the quality of family relationships and levels of parental supervision.
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What sociologist has provided empirical criticism of right realist theories, specifically biological factors?
Lilly et al, -She suggest they over-emphasise the role of biological factors in determining crime. Lilly suggests that IQ differences account for less than 3% of differences in crime.
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What is the problem with left realist theories too readily accepting official statistics?
They fail to explain adult white-collar crime and neglect female subcultural delinquency and therefore their responses to OCS are inadquate,
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Who has given realist theories theoretical support and what do they both agree on?
-Functionalism, -They both agree that there are structural causes for crime. Functionalists too believe that young, male, working class, black individuals are more likely to commit crime.
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However, what would aspect of realist explanations would functionalists disagree with and why?
They would disagree on the structural causes of crime, believing crime can be better understood as a response to anomie and blocked opportunities,
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What three theories have realist theorists been criticised by?
-Labelling theorists, -Feminist theorists, -Marxist theories,
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Why do interactionist/ labelling theories attack realist theories for underestimating what?
For underestimating the way in which the extent and distribution of crime and deviance is socially constructed,
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What do labelling theories instead suggest about what offical crime statistics suggest are most likely to cause crime?
They argue it is due to selective law enforcement, labelling, self-fulfilling prophecies and consequent subcultural formation.
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Why do feminists attack realist theories for failing to consider what?
For failing to consider how patriarchy shapes gender patterns of crime.
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What do radical feminists claim and how does this contrast with realist explanations?
They claim that both in the private sphere and public sphere men exert power and social control over women, -As a consequence, women have fewer opportunities to commit crime.
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Why do Marxists argue realists fail to explain how the extent of crime and deviance is socially constructed?
Marxists claim selective law enforcement against the powerless working class creates distorted crime patterns as seens in OCS and diverts attention away from crimes committed by the powerful.
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How do Marxists blame for causes of crime instead of realist explanations?
They blame criminogenic capitalism (economic inequality and capitalist values,
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To conclude, what is the greatest strenth for realist explanations?
That they recognise that crime and deviance cannot be explained away as a social construction. They are aware crime and deviance is a real problem in contemporary society and demands casual explanations.
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Moreover, what kind of approach do they put forward for crime and deviance and why?
They put forward complete approaches as they not only consider the offender, but victims and agents of social control,
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However, why can realists be attacked/ criticised?
For neglecting to explain white-collar crime, which can be more harmful and costly than street crime,
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Card 2


What are the 5 categories suggested by official crime statistics for those who are most likely to commit crimes?


-Young, -Black, -Working class, -Males, -Often from urban areas,

Card 3


For a key assumption, what approach do they reject that explain crime and deviance away and example theories?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


For a key assumption, what kind of explanation do they offer for crime and deviance?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


For a key assumption, what solutions do they believe will reduce real problems based on what kinds of crime?


Preview of the front of card 5
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