Realist perspectives of crime

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Realist perspective of crime, to be used in conjunction was text book

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Realist perspectives of crime

  1. 1. Realist perspectives of crime <ul><li>By Chris Thompson </li></ul><ul><li>Sociologytwynham.wordpress.com </li></ul>
  2. 2. Realist Theories of Crime <ul><li>The previous examples are all positivist in their approach how human behaviour is determined by external forces </li></ul><ul><li>In contrast realist criminology maintains behaviour is a matter of free will and individual choice </li></ul><ul><li>The notion of determinism is challenged by Realist perspectives of crime </li></ul><ul><li>There are two distinct realist perspectives – Right Realists and Left-Realists </li></ul>
  3. 3. Realist Theories of Crime <ul><li>Realists are primarily concerned with developing responses to a perceived intensity in the public’s fear of crime </li></ul><ul><li>Realists challenge many of the ideas put forward by earlier perspectives which are seen as not addressing the real issues of crime </li></ul><ul><li>Realists focus on crime which is at the centre of public concern e.g. street crime, violence and burglary </li></ul><ul><li>Realists are also concerned with increasing measures of crime control </li></ul>
  4. 4. Right- Realism <ul><li>Wilson & Hernstein (1985) argued that positivist sociology tended to look for causes external to the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Instead Wilson & Hernstein argue that becoming a criminal is a matter of choice of people who had never been properly socialised </li></ul><ul><li>Thus Wilson & Hernstein argue that as a society immediate gratification has become paramount and this combined with a lack of self-control through poor socialisation creates the criminal </li></ul>
  5. 5. Right- Realist Theories <ul><li>From this Wilson & Hernstein point out that a disproportionate amount of crime is conducted by young men living in cities </li></ul><ul><li>Combine this with poor socialisation in schools, the family and the wider community affects their behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Along with the effects of contemporary culture of immediate gratification and low impulse control causing reduced self-discipline means they’re more likely to commit crime </li></ul>
  6. 6. Right- Realist Theories <ul><li>Hirschi moved things on a little further with his ‘control-theory’ which examined the temptations people face </li></ul><ul><li>We all face temptations to commit crime and devaince said Hirschi but we don’t all succumb to this temptation </li></ul><ul><li>This is because most people have strong community ties to key institutions like family and school </li></ul><ul><li>He concluded offenders are people with poor self-control, which stems from poor socialisation </li></ul>
  7. 7. Right- Realist Theories <ul><li>Charles Murray also looked at poor socialisation as causing recidivism </li></ul><ul><li>Murray’s research into the underclass found common characteristics of the criminal </li></ul><ul><li>Illegitimacy, violence, and unemployment </li></ul><ul><li>He especially focused on the demise of the nuclear family and the rise of lone-parent families as creating a sub-culture of young people who are lazy, drug addicts and immoral </li></ul>
  8. 8. Right-Realist <ul><li>Rational choice theorists like Wilson & Hernstein argue for the need to increase the cost of crime (by this they mean the cost of getting caught) by making buildings harder to break into and having more security guards around buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Other Right-Realists say the police should focus more on preventing criminal damage through extensive informal social controls, such as working with local communities to prevent criminal damage </li></ul><ul><li>Finally more punitive measure such as more prisons and longer prison sentences need to be implemented </li></ul>
  9. 9. Left Realism <ul><li>Left realism emerged in the early 1980s as a reaction to ‘law and order’ politics of Conservatism and the vacuum in radical left thinking on crime and crime control. </li></ul><ul><li>  Left realists are critical of perspectives which see longer sentences and more prisons as the solution to rising crime rates. </li></ul><ul><li>They oppose the views of ‘left-wing idealists’ such as Marxists, Neo-Marxists and radical feminists. For they see such ‘idealism’ as ignoring real victims of crime. </li></ul><ul><li>For example if you’re being attacked by a mugger the last thing you want to hear capitalism reduced his or her opportunity to have the latest mobile phone, so they’ll take yours </li></ul><ul><li>This highlights the similarity between the Left and Right Realism </li></ul>
  10. 10. Left Realism <ul><li>In contrast to right-realism, left-realism was a reaction to the dominant law and order model of right-realism </li></ul><ul><li>They accept crime is a problem, especially for women and working class communities </li></ul><ul><li>Victims need to be taken seriously </li></ul><ul><li>The fear of crime is not irrational </li></ul><ul><li>The causes of crime must be given more emphasis by politicians </li></ul>
  11. 11. Left Realism – The Victims <ul><li>Jock Young used victim surveys to ‘give a voice to people’s experiences of crime’ </li></ul><ul><li>Left realists accept the data from British Crime Surveys shows the number of victims as being small but......the chances of being a victim are greater in inner-city areas </li></ul><ul><li>The Islington Crime Survey found 36% of local residents saw crime as a big issue; 56% worried about being burgled; 46% had been a victim of street robbery. Therefore people living in inner cities were at greater risk </li></ul>
  12. 12. Left Realism – The Offenders <ul><li>Left realists focus on relative deprivation as most victims of crime are the most vulnerable members of society – for these people crime is very REAL </li></ul><ul><li>Jock Young noted how the wealthier a society got crime rates increased because people see themselves as deprived in comparison to others which breeds discontent </li></ul><ul><li>Jock Young argued this combination of relative deprivation and individualism is the main cause of crime in modern societies causing anti-social behaviour and widespread aggression </li></ul>
  13. 13. Left Realism – society & rising crime <ul><li>Changes in the world economy has brought about a decline in unskilled and semi-skilled occupations </li></ul><ul><li>This has hit Afro-Caribbeans and other groups of lower working-class males with low levels of educational attainment </li></ul><ul><li>This then excludes them from mainstream society through an inaccessible job market and inaccessible areas of society such as security guarded shopping centres and gated communities </li></ul><ul><li>While media adverts continually remind them of what they’re excluded from </li></ul>
  14. 14. Left Realism – The cure <ul><li>Left Realists agree with Right Realists that the police can only do so much </li></ul><ul><li>However inside of increasing police powers (formal social control) they say there needs to be more informal social control </li></ul><ul><li>Such as jobs with futures; quality housing; quality social services; quality community areas like play areas; which all create a sense of belonging </li></ul>
  15. 15. Evaluating Realist Perspectives <ul><li>Right realists ignore the fact that the rise in ‘real’ crime rates could be due to changes in recording and reporting of crime </li></ul><ul><li>They ignore the increasing gap between the rich and the poor creating resentment (relative deprivation) </li></ul><ul><li>Right Realists focus on young males and street crime yet ignore the extent of white collar crimes, domestic crimes and corporate crimes </li></ul><ul><li>Does building more prisons and increasing sentences reduce crime? The evidence suggests not. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Evaluating Realist Perspectives <ul><li>Left Realists rely heavily on victim studies, such studies ignore domestic violence and also crimes where people aren’t aware they’re a victim </li></ul><ul><li>Left Realists focus on street crime at the expense of white-collar or corporate crime which is just as harmful </li></ul><ul><li>The rise in street crime could be due to an increase in property theft and the need for victims to get crime numbers for insurance and so distort the true extent of street crimes as also it’s easier to report such incidence with the proliferation of mobile phones </li></ul>
  17. 17. Realist perspectives of crime <ul><li>By Chris Thompson </li></ul><ul><li>sociologytwynham.wordpress.com </li></ul>

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