Definition<br />Right Realism is an extreme of the Functionalist approach, and again accepts official statistics. <br />It considers the phenomenon of crime from the perspective of Political Conservatism and asserts that it takes a more realistic view of the causes of crime and deviance, and identifies the best mechanisms for its control. Unlike the other Schools of criminology, there is less emphasis on developing theories of causality in relation to crime and deviance.<br />Murray is a leading right realist.He says everyone is tempted to commit crime, but what preventsis the amount of social bonds that hold us together. Murray talks about the development of the Underclass.Inadequate Socialisation: the rise of single parent families means young boys grow up without appropriate male role-models. Crime is a way of proving they are men, if employment is not a desirable option. <br />
What Right Realists believe<br /><ul><li>Right Realists question the view that economic factors, like poverty or unemployment are the reasoning behind rising crime rates.
Instead, it was believed that “ individuals are more</li></ul> likely to commit crime when the social constraints <br /> on their behaviour are weakened.”<br /><ul><li> In terms, crime is linked to inadequate social control- the blame is upon the individual and societies lack of disciplinary action.</li></li></ul><li>They recognise that official statistics <br />have problems with underreporting,<br /> underrecording, biased policing, etc. <br />They argue however that this should not<br />lead to their rejection as they do show <br />the basic reality of crime.<br />That is, that crime is a growing social <br />problem and is largely committed by lower<br />working class male juveniles, often black, in<br />inner city areas.<br />They suggest sociologists should supplement official crime statistics<br />with victim surveys to gain a more valid measure of crime.<br />
How it links to Crime and Deviance<br />In criminology, right realism grew out of control theory and political conservatism. It links the perceived escalation of crime and delinquency to a decline in individual responsibility and moral degeneracy.<br />To right realists, crime and deviance are an individual pathology – a set of <br />destructive lawless behaviors actively chosen and perpetrated<br />by individual selfishness, a lack of self-control and morality. <br />Right realists are dismissive of the ‘theoretical’ approaches<br />to the study of crime.<br />
Theorists Study<br />Wilson(1975) suggests that crime is linked to a breakdown in social order in some communities. He argued that disorder in certain neighbourhoods breads more crime and deviance as sense of community and civility is lost, and with it informal social control. <br />Murray(1990) locates the causes of contemporary crime to a growing underclass. He maintained that children from fatherless single parent families are more likely to commit crime. He argues that they are inadequate controlled as they lack a male role model and authority figure <br />Marsland (1988) argues that crime and deviance is linked to the breakdown in the moral fabric of society. It suggests that schools and religion have become less effective agencies of social control.<br />
Strengths<br />The main strengths of the right realism approach are:<br /><ul><li>Its theories have helped shape much current Home Office research into crime as well as stimulate a range of victim surveys. This suggests that right realist ideas have made a major contribution to the study of crime and deviance.
Right realist theories have gained practical support. Research by Flood-Page et al.for the Home Office offers partial support for Murray’s views on ‘family decline’. They found children (especially males) from lone parent backgrounds and step-families were more likely to offend than those who lived with two natural parents. This suggests there is some validity in the right realist ideas.
Their views have also gainedtheoretical support. Control theorists are sympathetic to right realist views as they raise important questions about the way in which formal and informal social control determines levels of crime and deviance. This suggests that the ideas have wider theoretical appeal.</li></li></ul><li>Right realist theories too readily accept official statistics despite knowing they have problems. They fail to explain adult white-collar crime and neglect female subcultural delinquency. This suggests that the right realist response to official statistics is not adequate. <br />Right realist theories have been questioned on practical grounds. Research by Flood-Page et al. shows there is some link to family structures and offending. However, they suggest that single parenthood or belonging to a step-family is not in itself a cause of crime. They argue the key factors to consider are the quality of family relationships and levels of parental supervision. This suggests that the validity of right realist ideas have to be questioned.<br />Weaknesses<br />
Its Relation to Left Realism <br />Left realists support right realists in so far as they recognise there are real crime problems to be explained, and that real practical solutions needed. However, they are critical of right realists for locating the underlying causes of crime in terms of inadequate social control. They argue that social inequality is a more significant factor. They point to factors such as marginalisation and relative deprivation, and the consequent growth of criminal and deviant subcultures. <br />
Conclusion<br />In conclusion perhaps the greatest strength of the right realist approach is that it recognises that crime and deviance cannot be explained away as a social construction. They recognise that crime and deviance is a real problem in contemporary society and demands causal explanation.<br />Moreover, right realists put forward a complete approach to crime and deviance, as they not only consider the offender, but victims and agents of social control. However, right realism can be attacked for neglecting to study white-collar crime. <br />