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What are the characteristics of realists?

Right Realists - Conservative and zero tolerance view of crime.

Left realists - Reformist sociologists who promote equality.


What do Right realists argue?

They see crime as a growing problem, they see other perspectives such as critical criminology as too sympathetic to the criminal.

They are concerned with practical solutions to reduce crime with a focus on control and punishment rather than rehabilitation or tackling poverty.

They reject the idea that economic issues create crime as old poor can be quite poor but have the lowest crime rates.


What are Right realisms 3 causes of crimes theories?


Biological differences -
Wilson and Hernstein argue that crime is caused by different biological factors e.g Personality traits such as aggression or risk taking or low intelligence. This view is criticised by Lily who argues that differences in intelligence account for only 3% in the difference in offending rates.

The underclass - Murray argues that the nuclear family has been undermined but a generous welfare state creating a culture of dependency that fails to socialise people into meritocracy which results in the creation of an underclass where discipline is low and status is found in street gangs etc.

Rational choice theory -
Clarke’s 1980 rational choice theory argues that individuals have free will and aren’t dictated by external forces.
Deciding to commit a crime is based on rational choice and calculations of consequences


What do Right realists argue are solutions to crime?

RRs feel it is pointless trying to tackle the underlying biological etc, factors of crime and instead focus on the control and punishment of criminals.

Zero tolerance policies must be implemented, it was in New York by mayor Rudy Guiliani to results including a 59% decline in muggins

This Broken windows theory argues that small crimes should be dealt with to prevent escalation.

Whoever these policies are criticised as they discriminate against ethnic minorities and the young and push crime elsewhere usually online.


What are some criticisms of Right realists?

It ignores corporate crime

Young argues that crime was all ready falling before ZTP came in.


What is the Left Realist view of crime?

Like Marxists they are opposed to the inequality of capitalist society and view it as the cause of crime.

Unlike Marxists they are reformists and not revolutionists, they believe gradual reforms are the only way to achieve equality.


How do Left Realists criticise other theories?

Marxists focus on the crimes of the powerful and ignore the working class and crimes effect on them.

New Marxists A Romanticise working class criminals.

Labelling theory The victims of crime are ignored.

Left realists argue that:

It’s main victims are disadvantaged groups - They are most likely to experience crime and feel they’re reports of crime are ignored.


What do Left realists argue are the causes of crime?

Lea and Young - 3 causes of crime

1) Relative deprivation - How deprived someone feels in relation to others , when someone has more than them they are entitled to get more.

Society creates cultural inclusion sharing thoughts equally on materialism etc but has an unequal economic exclusion and blocked opportunities that creates relative deprivation and strain.

2) Subcultures -

Some turn to religion to comfort and encourage conformity.

Criminal subcultures subscribe to materialistic beliefs but opportunities are blocked so they turn to crime.

3) Marginalisation - Unlike groups such as workers, unemployed youth are marginalised where they feel powerless and frustration leading to criminal activity such as rioting.


What do Left realists argue about late modernity and crime?

Lea and young argue that in late modern society the problem of working class crime is worse due to

Harsher welfare policies, increased unemployment, weakening social cohesion such as declining family and community importance.

Crime is now increasingly found in all classes in postmodernity, there is now resentment at undeservingly high rewards e.g footballers wages.

Relative deprivation to working class people as lazy and spongers.

Less tolerance of crime

Less consensus on acceptable behaviour and deviance.


What do Left realists outline as solutions to crime?


Democratic policing - Police rely on communication but increased anti police views are drying up information flows, to win public support police must become more accountable to local communities by involving them in policing policies.

The provision of a decent welfare state and decent jobs and housing for all.


What are some criticisms of Left Realism?

Ignores the crimes of the powerful
Fails to explain corporate crime
makes crime appear a larger issue than it actually is.