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Left/Right Realism


Mindmap about the two types of realism: Left and Right. This concerns their views, critiques, strengths and solutions to combat crime.
Patrick Calvento
Mind Map by Patrick Calvento, updated more than 1 year ago
Patrick Calvento
Created by Patrick Calvento over 6 years ago

Resource summary

Left/Right Realism
  1. Right
    1. What is it?
      1. Originated in 1970's.Negative view of human nature, needs to be subject to social control + socialised into appropriate behaviour
        1. Developed to explain and solve the problem of crime, it follows functionalist assumptions of consensus in which the belief that the criminal law is there to protect the lives and properpty of law-abiding people
          1. State therefore has a duty to deter criminal activity and severely punish those who break the law. They are concerned with identifying the 'criminal other' and having appropriate punishments as the legitimate response to criminal activity.
            1. Crime stems from the greedy nature of people, poor socialisation and too easy opportunity
              1. Some new rights theorists are particularly hostile to rehabilitation or social work. Stress the need for a programme to develop self-discipline among those who might end up as part of the 'yob culture'
                1. However there is no unified perspective and can be divided into libertarian and authoritarian wings
                  1. Libertarians- have tended to adopt a decriminalisation approach to illegal acts that have been termed 'crimes without victims' i.e. drug taking
                    1. Consider that while the state should be strong, it should not intervene in the private affairs of the individual
                      1. Particularly hostile to traditional sociological explanations, which they see as part of an 'excuse making industry that absolves criminals of their actions
                        1. See crime as a result of the free will of the individual, who is exercising choice, just like the many poor people who choose not to engage in crime (Bridgette 1989)
                    2. Authoritarian view draws upong traditional conservative values in the approach to criminal activity. Reject the individualism of the libertarians and accept that there are important social values that influence the incidence of crime. They argue that a strong moral code in society is a major deterrence against crime
                      1. Morgan (1978) says that cessation of socialisation into traditional morality, as a result of the welfare state's reluctance to impose social values on individuals has lead to an increase of crime
                        1. Only way to combat crime is to 're-moralisation of social life.' Society must reject relativism and rediscover the traditional values such as nuclear family and abstinence outside marriage
                          1. Critics point out that it is far from obvious which moral values act to civilise individuals and that the appeal to traditional values often hides a misogynistic and homophobic agenda.
        2. Theorists
          1. WIlson
            1. "Broken window"- minor crime left unchecked creates more crime. Advocates that the police adopt a 'zero tolerance' policy, Reflects Durkheim's idea that local informal social controls are crucial for law and order
              1. Three key factors affecting long-term crime
                1. Number of young males
                  1. Costs/benefits of crime
                    1. Inadequate socialisation into norms and values
                      1. Non-traditional families (SPF) is a major factor. Lack of discipline in schools, mass glamourisation of C+D and the decline in the influence of religious values are other important contributory factors
                      2. Advocates target hardening of deviant groups and areas through pro-active policing
                    2. Clarke and Coleman
                      1. Rational Choice Theory- crime will be caused if the benefits outweigh the costs. Focus is on the situational aspects of crime and not in underlying causes, such as culture or criminality
                        1. They distinguish between 'involvement' decisions and 'event decisions
                          1. Involvement is making the logical distinction between initiation, habituation and desistance, which they suggest are affected by different sets of conditions and will need to be studied separeately
                            1. Event decisions is decision making by the potential criminal which is the step-by-step procedures that lead to the actual act, weighing up the risks and benefits
                        2. Charles Murray
                          1. Underclass are insufficiently integrated into society's N+V. Viewed as as prone to criminal tendencies, violence, illegitimacy and promiscuity, educational failure and welfare dependency
                            1. Argue that the concept of the underclass is an ideological construct designed to segregate a 'deserving poor' from the 'undeserving' to cut down the burden of welfare payments to the taxpayer. Concentrates only on one small area of welfare policy+ ignores wider impact of government policy such as pensioners, the disabled and so on. Real focus of the thesis of the underclass should be the welfare state in general, not just the presumed criminal activities of the underclass, which there is no real evidence.
                          2. Ernst Van den Haag
                            1. Very poor view of humanity, willing to cheat to 'get on.' Some groups need to be controlled for their own good+society.Therefore he argues that it is reasonable for law and order agencies to target the poor. Advocates a tough penal punishment: corporal+ capital
                            2. Wilson and Herrnstein
                              1. Investigated why some individuals commit crime and other do no. Reason is related to constitutional factors (some biological)
                                1. Body types such as the muscular body type=criminal, and that this runs in families. Such factors influence the extent to which individuals can calculate the rewards associated with the crime.
                                  1. It tends to be aggressive males with low intelligence who seem to commit crimes in search for gratification regardless of consequences
                                    1. Moreover the leniency of the criminal justice system in dealing with criminals reinforces the biosocial predispositions of a certain group. This population has been found predominantly in the underclass, created through the dependency culture of the policies in the 1960's-1970's
                                      1. A criticism is that there is a lack of precision in the concepts (approval of peers.) They are difficult to operationalise because they lack definition and thus impossible to test. They use research into identical twins to support which leaves it open to interpretations
                                        1. Gibbs (1985) argues that they use loose labels to describe crimes which they are concerned, therefore do not include white collar crimes, which can help serve disprove the body type theory
                                          1. Currie (1991) argues that the leniency of the courts is not confirmed by the statistics. In America the rate of imprisonment in the US rose, as did the crime rate
                                            1. By stressing that human nature is a partial cause of crime, they ignore the existence of different crime rates in different cities of America and the world
                                2. Anti-Sociological Criminology
                                  1. Right Realists oppose connections sociologists have made between crime & poverty
                                    1. Extending the Welfare Statem lack of discipline in education, decline of trad. family values are seen as key factors behind crime increase
                                  2. Selfish Human Nature
                                    1. Rising crime levels reflects ineffective+ inadequate social control
                                      1. Permissive attitudes allow self-indulgent + anti-social behaviour
                                        1. Feckless parenting, absent fathers, lack of discipline + liberal policies have increased crime
                                          1. Result=spiralling volumes of incivilities, muggings, graffiti, vandalism, theft, asssault
                                        2. Solutions
                                          1. increase costs of crime (likelihood of being caught+ tougher punishments
                                            1. Reduce opportunities for offending
                                              1. Tough punishment: heavy fines, sentences + capital punishment
                                              2. Critique
                                                1. Influential on Government policy in both the USA and UK. For example 'zero tolerance' successfully adopted in New York
                                                  1. Counter argument is that where zero tolerance is introduced, it simply shifts crime to other areas
                                                  2. Argued that it is a lack of investment in deprived areas rather than incivilites that cause crime to arise
                                                    1. It is easy to pick on scapegoats like single parent families, victim blaming in general and stigmatises single mothers. It also stereotypically views SPF's as inadequate
                                                      1. Marxists argue that concentration on minor offences means more serious crime is ignored
                                                        1. Rational choice theory overemphasises the degree to which decisions are made on calculative grounds, and only focus on the immediate situation of the individual and ignore wider forces that can influence such as morality, conformity and social organisation
                                                          1. Draw attention to the problems of the statusless young male in society, whose masculinity is threatened
                                                            1. Draws attention to issues of deterrence and prevention on a practical level
                                                          2. Left
                                                            1. What is it?
                                                              1. Crime is real problem for ordinary people, especially to the poor and derived, ethnic minor + inner city residents
                                                                1. Explains it in terms of subculture, relative deprivation + marginalisation, also through analysis of social and economic relationships and how they have become marginalised
                                                              2. Theorists
                                                                1. Lea and Young
                                                                  1. Ethnicity and Crime. Black criminality, accepting there has been an increas on crimes committed by young blackss. Institutional racism+ canteen culture among the police
                                                                    1. Black criminality also stems from racial discrimination, material deprivation, low wages and unemployment. See black youth having particularly high aspirations, but often not able to legitimately achieve these aspirations
                                                                    2. Relative deprivation
                                                                      1. Argue that frustrated from disparity between expectations and reality of lifestyle leads to those feelings. Reality for many young black males is a choice of unemployment, training schemes. They feel unfairly denied in the prizes offered to others. Can involved strategies which include C+D behaviour
                                                                        1. Crime can occur in any part of the social structure, as a result of individuals or groups feeling deprived when they compare their circumstances with those of other comparable groups. Absolute poverty is rejected as the sole cause of crime, because when the poor steal it is necessities not luxuries. Relative deprivation focuses on individuals in all parts who feel aggrieved with their share of material goods, therefore turn to illegal tactics to redress the unfairness. It is a moral choice in certain conditions
                                                                      2. Marginalisation
                                                                        1. W+B w/c youth often feel alienated by schools, unemplyment, low-wages, the police. Young black males face it through prejudice + harassment. Argue that this may be the tipping point into committing crime
                                                                          1. Important to recognise that they focus on a number of causes of crime that vary according to time, space and social group. Marginalisation is likely to be greatest when unemployment is high. When a generation has grown up assuming that unemployment reflects the failure of the social system rather than being a fairely orginary state of affairs, then marginilisation is most likely. However this does not lead to an immediate increase in crime. Feeling gradually increases slowly.
                                                                        2. Subculture
                                                                          1. The subculture of young blacks is disticntly different from their parents who largely accepted their marginalised position in society
                                                                            1. Black youth subculture has high material expectations and aspirations: money and status symbols like cars. Because this is closely enmeshed in values of consumption, style and wealth, this is precisely why they engage in crime- because of block opportunities
                                                                              1. Young (1994) argues that the working-class subculture has a macho definition of masculinity that focuses on danger and risk taking, therefore contributes to certain types of crime in the community, from public incidents to wife beating. Currie (1985) also argue that certain aspects of subcultural life, are connected to potential criminal behaviour. Not be used to stereotype SPF's as 'criminal' but a realistic attempt to address and solve factors that, for some subcultures are connected to crime
                                                                          2. Explains why young black working-class males are particularly associated with criminal activity
                                                                          3. Jock Young
                                                                            1. Social Change and Crime. Argues that late modernity is making crime worse in a number of ways
                                                                              1. Greater uncertainty and instability in most aspects of life
                                                                                1. People's desire for immediate and personal pleasure
                                                                                  1. Less consensus about moral values
                                                                                    1. Breakdown of informal social controls
                                                                                2. Crime is a real phenomenon
                                                                                  1. Rising crime rate cannot solely be explained by the 'unreliability of official crime statistics.
                                                                                    1. Therefore less critical of crime statistics than most, argue that they do reflect typical criminals, young, male, working class and disproportinately black
                                                                                      1. Focus on victims as well as offenders, recognising in crime is concentrated in the inner-city and sink housing estates
                                                                                  2. The Policing Problem
                                                                                    1. Police too often resort to 'military policing' as a method to stop crime through 'stop and search' policies
                                                                                      1. Alienates the community from them, recently the Muslim community. To improve this the public should have more say in shaping police policy.
                                                                                    2. Square of Crime
                                                                                      1. Beyond the offender and shows concern for victim patterns and formal and informal factors. Argue that crime can only be understodd in terms of the interrelationships between these four elements
                                                                                      2. Critique of Left Realism
                                                                                        1. Recognition of multiple causes of crime, as it focuses on victims as well as offenders, adding antoher dimension to our understanding of crime
                                                                                          1. However, relative deprivation or marginalisation cannot explain the motive behind the offender's actions (white collar or corporate crime
                                                                                            1. Not all people in relative deprivation turn to crime
                                                                                              1. Assumes that when society's values break down crime becomes more likely- a return to anomie theory which is not too distant from Right Realism
                                                                                                1. Left realists are concerned to modify the impact and reduce the fear of crime. They do so with reformist traditions of the working class and aim to empower them to make their situation better. Suggest that the formation of local community groups to act as defenders of the community is the way forward (Einstadter 1984))
                                                                                                  1. Left realists have also been involed in suggesting practical schemes to help victims of crime, victim support schemes and victim-offender programmes (Matthews 1992) A further measure advocated is for ordinary people to become more involved in structures of power such as the magistrates courts, so their voices can be heard
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