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Assess Realist Explanations Of Crime And Deviance

1106 words - 5 pages

Realism occurred in the 70’s and 80’s in changing politics. The realist view is that crime is not just a social construction, but is a real problem that needs to be tackled. Realists believe that there has been a significant rise in the crime rate and favours a tough approach against it, as they think that other theories have failed to offer a solution to crime.
The left realists Lea and Young attempt to give an explanation to street crime, committed by young people in urban areas. These sociologists took a victim survey which suggested that working-class and black people, especially elderly women, have a fear of street crime, as they are often victims of crime.
Their explanation of why ...view middle of the document...

The left realist solution to crime is to improve the policing and control, however the military style of policing in inner city communities have alienated the local population. For example stop and search statistics suggest that racial profiling is used to in an attempt to identify criminal behaviour, which results in the local population rebelling, because of this the police force need to regain the confidence of the local community. Another solution to crime would be to deal with the deeper structural causes of crime, left realists see the main cause of crime as the unequal nature of the capitalist society and the inequalities in income, wealth and opportunities. Lea and Young argue that crime can only be reduced by improving people opportunities. However Young has criticised governments for failing to tackle the basic inequalities that cause insecurities.
The left realist explanation has been criticised as there is little evidence to support the view that young working class or black criminals interoperate their realities in the way described by Lea and Young. They also do not explain why the majority of the working class and African Caribbean do not turn to crime. Their theory only focuses on subcultural responses and not smaller crimes such as burglary which is committed by individuals; they just focus on street crime. It is also criticised to account for crime committed by adults.
Right realists see crime as a growing problem that undermines social cohesion and destroys social communities. Right realist think that people are naturally selfish and that they are naturally inclined towards criminal behaviour is it can further their interest and if there is little chance of them being caught.
There are two main aspects to right realism, firstly the underclass theory. Charles Murray suggests that a lower-class subculture exists, which is called the underclass. This class subscribes to deviant values and criminal behaviour rather than mainstream values, and this is socialised into their children. Marsland argues that the welfare state is responsible for this underclass, he believes that people in the underclass are ‘work shy’ and would rather live off state benefits rather than getting a job. Murray sees the underclass as lacking values and commitment to...

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