Flashcards in Realists + Crime Deck (16):
For right realists, crime is the product of which three factors?
1) Biological differences
2) Inadequate socialisation and the underclass
3) Rational choice to offend
How do Wilson and Herrnstein (right realists) say biological factors are responsible for crime?
1) Biological differences make some people more innately predisposed to commit crime than others
2) E.g. Traits such as aggressiveness, extroversion, risk taking and low impulse control
3) They argue that the main cause of crime is low intelligence, which they see as biologically determined
What does Murray (right realist) say about the growing underclass and its relation to criminality?
1) Effective socialisation decreases the risk of offending
2) Murray says the crime rate is increasing because of a new growing underclass who are defined by their deviant behaviour and who fail to socialise their children properly
3) Murray suggests that the welfare state's 'generous revolution' has allowed people to become dependent on the state which has led to the decline in marriage and the growth of lone parent families, and lone parent families are inadequate socialisation agents
What do right realists say about rational choice and crime?
1) Rational choice theory assumes that individuals have free will and the power of reason
2) Clarke argues that the decision to commit crime is based on a rational calculation of the likely consequences
3) If the rewards outweigh the costs then people will be more likely to offend
4) Right realists see the current costs of crime low, and this is why the crime rate has increased
5) Felson argues that for crime to occur, there must be a motivated offender, a suitable target and the absence of a 'capable guardian'
How do right realists think that crime should be tackled?
1) They believe it is not helpful to deal with the causes of crime, since these cannot be changed
2) They seek to make crime less attractive
3) Their main focus is control, containment and punishment of offenders
4) E.g. Wilson and Kelling's broken windows, zero tolerance policies
5) Prevention policies should increase the costs of crime and reduce the rewards
What are 3 criticisms of right realism?
1) It ignores wider structural causes such as poverty
2) It overstates offenders' rationality, and this conflicts with its view that criminals' behaviour is due to biological factors and socialisation
3) Over-emphasises control of disorder, rather than tackling the underlying causes of neighbourhood decline such as lack of investment
How do left realists criticise the traditional Marxists, the neo-Marxists and the labelling theorists?
1) Criticise traditional Marxists as they neglect working-class crime and its effects
2) Criticise neo-Marxists as they romanticise working-class crimes as stealing from the rich to give to the poor, when in fact most working-class crime is within the working class
3) Criticise labelling theorists as they say that this theory ignores the real victims of crime
What 3 factors do left realists see crime as a result of?
1) Relative deprivation
How do left realists say that relative deprivation lead to crime?
1) People may feel resentment that others have more than them undeservedly, and this can lead to crime when they obtain illegitimately what they feel they deserve
2) Lea and Young say that although society is better off today, people are more aware of relative deprivation due to the media and advertising
3) The lethal combination is relative deprivation and individualism, crime is encouraged by the pursuit of self-interest at the expense of others
How do left realists see subcultures as a cause of crime?
1) Subcultures are a group's solution to relative deprivation
2) People group together that feel relatively deprived and either turn to crime to obtain what they feel they deserve, or they may find that religion offers them spiritual comfort (theodicy of disprivilege)
3) Criminal subcultures still subscribe to mainstream values and goals, e.g. materialism and consumerism, however legitimate ways of obtaining material goods are blocked, and so criminal subcultures resort to street crime
How do left realists believe that crime should be tackled?
1) Policing and control
2) By tackling the structural causes
How do the left realists believe that policing and control will reduce crime?
1) They think police clear-up rates are too low and they spend too little time actually investigating crime
2) This leads to the public losing faith in the police, and so do not receive as much vital information from the public
3) The left realists argue that policing must be made accountable to local communities and it must deal with local concerns
4) However, crime cannot be left to the police alone, a multi-agency approach is needed, including social services, housing departments, schools and leisure services, as well as the support of voluntary organisations and the public
How do left realists argue that tackling the structural causes will prevent crime?
1) They believe the causes of crime lie in the unequal structure of society, and so major changes are needed in order to reduce the level of crime
2) We must deal with inequality of opportunity and the unfairness of rewards, provide decent jobs for everyone, and improve housing and community facilities
3) We must become tolerant of diversity and cease stereotyping whole groups of people as criminal
What are 3 criticisms of the left realist approach to crime and crime control?
1) Not all those who experience relative deprivation commit crime
2) It fails to explain corporate crime, which is more harmful
3) Their use of subcultures theory assumes value consensus and that crime only occurs when this breaks down
Compare left realism and right realism
1) They both see crime as a real problem
2) Right realists blame individual lack of self control, left realists blame structural inequalities and relative deprivation
3) Right realists propose a tough stance against offenders, left realists propose reforms to create greater equality