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  • 1. Realist Criminology Two distinct strands: Right Realism and Left Realism. Both aspire to take crime seriously Each have their own distinctive explanations for crime and how to tackle it. Right Realists favour a ‘get tough’ stance and use both biological and social explanations Left Realists on the other hand couch their explanations firmly in the inequalities created by capitalist society, but unlike their Neo-Marxist predecessors are more guarded about the possibilities of fundamental social change in the short term. Left Realists advocate a DUAL APPROACH a)practical measures to reduce crime b)pushing for long term change to a more equal caring society which can ultimately eliminate the root causes of crime. 1
  • 2. LEFT REALISM • TAKING CRIME SERIOUSLY – we hereby accuse the other theories of not taking crime seriously and charge each of you with the following criminological offences: 2
  • 3. Traditional Marxists • We emphasise the crimes of the powerful such as white collar and corporate crime, and look at how this penalises the working class • LEFT REALISTS THEY SAY – yes this is important but it neglects working class crime and its effects which neglect or play-down the very real problems working class crime causes • IN OTHER WORDS YOU TRAD MARXISTS HAVEN’T TAKEN CRIME SERIOUSLY! 3
  • 4. Neo Marxism • We say that crime by the working classes is understandable and is a political act – revenge and redistribution of wealth • NO! You just romanticise working class criminals as latter day Robin Hoods, stealing from the rich as an act of political resistance to capitalism. This is fanciful and unrealistic – most working class burglary or theft is stealing from other members of the working class not the rich • IN OTHER WORDS YOU NEO-MARXISTS HAVEN’T TAKEN CRIME SERIOUSLY! 4 I’m Robbin’ Hood - I rob from the rich and give to the poor! I don’t think so Hoodo!
  • 5. Labelling Theorists • We see working class criminals as the victims of discriminatory labelling by social control agents. • I charge you with neglecting the real victims of crime – working class people who suffer at the hands of criminals • IN OTHER WORDS YOU LABELLING THEORISTS HAVEN’T TAKEN CRIME SERIOUSLY! 5 We,ve been labelled.. ..innit!
  • 6. What is Realism? • The realisation that crime can be nasty, brutal, damaging and violent, and it has increased significantly since the 1950s. These increases can’t be explained away simply by increases in reporting of crime and more labelling which creates more crime • The acknowledgment that the crime problem is a real one for many people in Britain today 6
  • 7. Left Realism John Lea and Jock Young (right) What is to be done about Law and Order (1993) 7
  • 8. Left Realism • Idea to tackle the inadequacies of other perspectives in explaining crime and to counter the influence of Right Realism on government policy • Linked theory to hands-on practical measures to actually improve the lives of people in relation to crime. Famously promised to ‘take crime seriously’ especially those that affect women, ethnic minorities and the working class 8
  • 9. Similarities to Marxism/Neo-Marxism (no wonder really because it’s Young again) • Capitalism encourages levels of consumption it is unable to deliver to all. • It is no wonder then that some people motivated by consumerism/materialism make up the shortfall by turning to crime. • However revolution and the overthrow of capitalism is unlikely • Instead gradual social change is required along with practical solutions to the crime problem 9
  • 10. Left Realism: KEY IDEA 1 REAL INCREASE IN CRIME! • There has been a REAL and SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE in crime rates since the 1950s, and this crime most effects disadvantaged groups. 10
  • 11. Left Realism: KEY IDEA 2 AETIOLOGICAL CRISIS • The increase in the crime rate has led to an AETIOLOGICAL CRISIS for theories of crime – a crisis in explanation • Neo Marxists and labelling theorists deny that the increase is real – they argue that it is just an increase in the reporting of crime (e.g. more telephones) or an increased tendency to label the poor. Crime statistics show more crime but to them this is just an illusion – a social construction • LEFT REALISTS - they say NO – there just is loads more crime, get real! The Victim Surveys they carry out show twice as much crime as official stats. 11
  • 12. Left Realism: KEY IDEA 3 VICTIMOLOGY • Name given to the study of the victims of crime - tries to understand real-life problems as experienced by real people • They show that disadvantaged groups (women, the poor, inner city residents) have a greater risk of becoming victims – e.g. Unskilled workers are twice as likely to be burgled 12
  • 13. Left Realism: KEY IDEA 4 • FEAR OF CRIME • Disadvantaged groups have a greater fear of crime and this has a big effect on their lives • Fear of attack stops women from going out at night; the poor suffer more because they are less likely to insure themselves • Disadvantaged groups are less likely to report crimes against them and the police are often reluctant to deal with crimes like domestic violence, rape or racist attacks 13
  • 14. Left Realism • Three CAUSES OF CRIME Key concepts explain the causes of crime 14
  • 15. Left Realism: Causes of crime • Crime is the result of the interweaving of factors which differ according to the type of crime • This is known as MULTIPLE AETIOLOGY • AETIOLOGY is the word for the search for the causes of crime 15
  • 16. 1. Relative Deprivation • Poverty will only cause crime if people feel deprived in relation to other groups. The feeling of resentment is more important than the actual poverty. • Media and advertising plays a big part in this
  • 17. 2 Subculture If people feel they can’t achieve mainstream goals through blocked opportunities subcultures are the collective solution (alternative way of life). Absorb American dream and fulfil it with crime. Working class Subculture – the lifestyles chosen by some to solve their problems of living in a capitalist society often emphasise antagonism towards the police and authority in general
  • 18. 3 Marginalisation • Poverty and unemployment can make people feel on the margins. Marginalised groups are prone to use violence and rioting to express their frustration because they lack other outlets.