A Comparison Of Right & Left Realism In Criminology - Westminister University - Essay

2151 words - 9 pages

Crm2500 – Criminology in late modernity
Priyesh Bhangoo – M00627199
Discuss one example of crime prevention or control inspired by right realist ideas, and one inspired by left realist ideas. Compare them, considering their strengths and weaknesses.
This essay will focus on the comparison between the strengths and weaknesses of both Right Realist and Left Realists ideas in regards to the control and prevention of crime. Realist Criminology emerged in the early 1980’s, in response to a decline in popularity for Marxist and Interactionist theories, and differed from the two as it took on a more pragmatic approach to crime reduction by working within the constraints of the social system. Rather than occupying themselves with the deeper and structural causes of crime such as poverty, Realist criminology created a newer approach that focused mainly on developing practical solutions in response to crime by working with the government, due to a fear of crime that had become more widespread within the public and was therefore taken into consideration more effectively. Between the 1970’s and 80’s, neoliberal governments were coming to power within both the UK and USA through ‘Thatcherism’ and ‘Reaganomics’. These types of governments had favored policies that had consumed less taxation which were intended to spur growth, however, due to the emergence of realist criminology the preservation of crime control and prevention became much stricter as there was an increased use of police, in addition to tougher approaches towards offenders to keep crime rates at an acceptable standard.
Realist Criminology can be split into two types – Left and Right. Although they share an understanding for a stricter approach to offenders and take more of a focus on the practical solutions to crime, they also have noteworthy differences in terms of the reduction and prevention of crime, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Right Realists believe that an individual who commits a crime is solely responsible for his/her actions, and therefore reject the Marxist idea that poverty, or other structural causes of crime such as capitalism, has barely any part to play of an individual’s actions and ultimately argue that a harsher approach on criminals would serve well to reduce crime. Right Realism is known to be associated with Margaret Thatcher whilst being strongly influenced by the political stance known as ‘Thatcherism’, and a right-winged neoliberal government which had come into power in the late 70’s. Right Realism accepts the correlation between low levels of ‘Social Control’ and high levels of ‘Social Disorder’ which can be linked with a rise in crime rates, however, the cause of crime is explained with both the ‘Rational Choice Theory’, the idea that crime is ultimately based upon individual choice in which individuals have chosen to commit a crime, and the Broken Windows Theory, which simply views signs of disorder and lack of concern for other individuals as ‘broken windows’ that need to be addressed to allow society to become more appealing, if left unrepaired it could be inferred as a form of tolerating criminal behavior. In addition to these two theories, Right Realism associates itself with Charles Murray’s ‘Underclass Theory’, an identification of the ‘Underclass’ who contribute to deviant behavior and create criminal values, Murray (1990) uses this theory to describe how members of the underclass contribute towards criminal activities as it was believed that too much lenience was given towards criminals in addition to the extensive treatment of the unemployed which ultimately passed down a culture of ‘Worklessness’ through later generations as a result of the Underclass’s inability to teach their children the correct norms and values associated with a law-abiding citizen, therefore suggesting that the deviant behavior individuals partake in within the present society is a result of previous generations with similar behaviorisms. In accordance with Right Realists, crime is not the result of a social construction, it is believed to be a real issue and fear of crime within society would be considered reasonable (Jones, 2009).
In contrast to Right Realism and its increasing influence in the 70’s onwards, Left Realism, also known as radical criminology, was developed by Criminologists Jock Young, John Lea and Roger Mathews and had emerged in the 1980’s. Originating in Britain, Left Realists were opposed to the right-winged views and had argued instead that social inequality was a main cause in criminal behavior, and in order to reduce crime more interventions within the community were needed, thereby taking a more left-winged approach and similar to that of the British Labor Party. The Left Realism approach to crime dismissed Marxism, and focused mainly on crime within the working class. It was believed that criminology should focus on ‘crime prevention’ socially within the community and amongst working class people by improving the relationship between local communities and law enforcement, rather than focusing on more elaborate crimes. In practicality, it became a policy-based intervention which focused mainly on the reality of crime for victims. Lea & Young refused the idea that public concern for an irrational fear of crime was the product of media sensationalism, and had claimed that the working class, ethnic minorities and the elderly have a realistic fear of crime due to being victims of street crimes. Left Realism also identified three major causes of why groups tend to commit such crimes; Relative Deprivation, in which the working class feel deprived in comparison to the middle class. Marginalization, people tend to feel powerless to change their situations, which then leads to Subcultures, where individuals who experience the weight of these factors form deviant subcultures. Both Lea & Young (1984) proposed ideologies that the causation of crime was due to a mixture of deprivation and individualism present within society, this had ultimately created widespread anti-social behavior, in addition to aggression, within the masses which lead to individuals committing criminal activities.
Right Realism uses data taken from official crime statistics, for example the British Crime Survey. The analytical data is used to acknowledge the idea that crime is a real issue within society, rather than it being distorted and exaggerated through the mass media. Right Realists focus predominantly on crimes that occur on the streets such as burglary and theft, as these crimes produce more fear amongst the public (Hopkins Burke, 2009) mainly due to the fact that the common victims of these crimes tend to be the average person and not the bourgeoise. A weakness within Right Realism can be highlighted through the under-representation of ‘Victimless’ crimes, such as White-Collar offences. Right realists pay very little attention towards victimless crimes through their use of official statistics when analyzing crime as a concept, this may be due to White-Collar crime being much less noticeable amongst recorded statistics (Dutcher, 2005).
As stated previously, Left Realists share similar ideologies with Right Realism of which they also believe crime to be a real issue within society and must be taken more seriously, however, according to Young (1997) they believe that individuals within more relatively deprived circumstances are affected much more in comparison to the affluent groups of society. In opposition to the right-winged uses of official statistics, much like the British Crime survey, Left Realists do not believe that this type of research can generate a realistic background of Crime as many crimes go unreported to the police. Rather than use official statistics, Left Realists tend to rely upon surveys aimed towards victims of crimes, in which they believe to provide a realistic representation of criminal activities that truly occur (Young & Mathews, 1992). Furthermore, Left Realists propose that the Criminal Justice System should consider and address all aspect involved with a crime: the victim, the offender and the criminal justice system as a whole in addition to the general public, which they believe would respond fully towards the matter of crime. Although all aspects of the Criminal Justice System are acknowledged by Left Realism, a downfall of this theory could suggest that Left Realists can be too reliant upon their use of Victim Surveys, which may also ignore other crimes such as offences which are perpetrated by females or domestic violence as they may not be included within Victim surveys (Jones, 2009). It could be argued that Left Relists minimize the role of the offender, whilst concentrating much more on the victims of a crime (Young, 1996)
In terms of prevention of crime, Right Realists such as Murray (2003), through use of the ‘Underclass Thesis’ which had been highly influential on both governmental and criminal justice policies, proposed the reasoning that harsher sentencing upon criminals would potentially deter the ‘Underclass’ from committing criminal acts by changing their attitudes towards crime itself, this is supported through the ‘Broken Windows’ theory (Wilson & Kelling, 2003) as both theoretical perspectives share the view that there is a lack of social norms with communities. The concept presented the idea that within a community, signs of vandalism such as broken windows, graffitied walls and total disregard towards property creates an image that crime is acceptable within that area. As a result, the theory suggests that this depiction of ‘Broken Windows’ would then work as a magnet of sorts by encouraging individuals to commit criminal activities, which would then create a norm of behavior within society. Robert Hopkins Burke (2009) explains that this offender-centered view had become significant within policy development, which had led to an increase in severity for punishments towards offenders and anti-social behavior within the community. This is, however, a theory which disregards other aspects involved within the Criminal Justice System as the focal point is centered upon offenders only, rather than the various pieces of a puzzle which create a crime.
Left Realists differ from the idea of harsher punishment towards offenders, and instead proposed a theory which ultimately depicts the relations between the victim, offender, law enforcement and the wider community within a ‘Square of Crime’ (Lea, 2010). The relationships between Criminal Justice agencies and the community, in addition to the relationships with the offenders and victims would coincide to determine the efficiency of both control of crime and wider policing. This key argument is used by Left Realists in an attempt to show how crime can be analyzed by use of these four elements within the square, it proposes the idea that police must work closer within communities in need, as crime is a result of poor interactions between the elements of the square. This view is supported by Merton’s Strain Theory (1968) which suggests that a strain is caused due to capitalism, this unethically leads individuals to have a want for materialistic goods such as a higher income, however, if this cannot be accomplished it could consequently push an individual to commit crimes in order to achieve these possessions. As mentioned previously, the ‘Square of Crime’ serves as a contradiction to Right Realist ideology, which pushes the responsibility of a crime solely on the offender, whilst it ignores other elements which could potentially cause a crime.
To summarize, both Left Realism and Right Realism share similarities between their ideologies. The two theoretical perspectives are parallel with each other in terms of pointing their focal point towards visible crimes as opposed to Corporate and White-Collar crimes. In addition to this, both theories believe in the importance of politically responding towards issues that cause street crime, which hold the most public concern. It was clear between the two theories that they both take on a practical approach towards crime, however, they each face their own criticisms. Right and Left Realism predominantly focuses on crimes committed by individuals from deprived backgrounds, in addition to the fact that both also neglect women in their representations of crime. Right Realism is highly influenced by the idea that a criminal makes their own decision to commit crime, where as Left Realism focuses more on the deprivation within communities and the impacts of individualism which lead a person to commit a crime.
Dutcher, J. S. (2005), From the Boardroom to the Cellblock: The Justifications for Harsher Punishment of White-Collar and Corporate Crime.
Hopkins Burke, R. (2009), An Introduction to Criminological Theory (3rd edition).
Jones, S. (2009), Criminology (4th Edition).
Lea, J. (2010), Left realism, community and state-building, Crime, Law and Social Change, 54 (2), pp 141-158
Lea, J. & Young, J. (1984), What is to be done about Law and Order. 
Merton, R. K. (1968), Social Theory and Social Structure.
Murray, C. (1990), The Emerging British Underclass, London: Health and Welfare Unit, Institute of Economic Affairs.
Murray, C. (2003), ‘The Underclass’ in E. McLaughlin, J. Muncie & G. Hughes, Criminological Perspectives: Essential Readings.
Wilson, J. Q. & Kelling, G. L. (2003), ‘Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety’ in E. McLaughlin, J. Muncie & G. Hughes. Criminological Perspectives: Essential Readings.
Young, J. (1997), ‘Left Realist Criminology: Radical in its Analysis, Realist in its Policy’ in M. Maguire, R. Morgan & R. Reiner.
Young, J. & Matthews, R. (1992), Rethinking criminology: The realist debate.

More like A Comparison Of Right & Left Realism In Criminology - Westminister University - Essay

Theoretical Perspectives In Criminology - Swinburne Criminology - Essay

949 words - 4 pages ... Running head: CRIME EVENT ESSAY CRIME EVENT ESSAY Assignment 2A: Essay-Crime event A Discussion of Theoretical perspectives in the crime event of Momena Shoma The objective of this essay is to explain the cause of a crime event through the lens of two sociological theoretical perspectives. This essay will discuss the fundamental principles of the social process theory and the social structure theory in order to explore the crime event of Momena ...

A Comparison Of "autumn Logging" And "all In A Day" - English 306, Literature Of Work, Athabasca University - English Essay

770 words - 4 pages ... Sarah Furlong 3255296 Bernard Bloom English 306 June 12, 2018 A Comparison of “Autumn Logging” and “All in a Day” “Autumn Logging” by M.C. Warrior and “All in a Day” by Herbert Applebaum are two short, to the point poems written about each man’s feelings about a day’s work. The poems focus on outdoor labour in a concise and straightforward manner, making for an easily comprehensible read for the audience. Warrior’s poem depicts the nature of a ...

The World's End - Identity And Realism - Sheffield Hallam University - Essay

2609 words - 11 pages ... Alicia Middleton BA Film Studies A Close-Up on British Cinema Representations of identity and realism in The World’s End (Dir. Wright, 2013) The World’s End (Dir. Wright, 2013) is a British Science Fiction film which is centred around Gary King (Simon Pegg) as he and his old school friends take on the famous pub crawl ‘The Golden Mile’ in their old town ‘Newton Haven’, which they first attempted twenty years before ...

Criminology Skills Essay Outline - Griffith University, 1011CCJ Criminology Skills - Essay Outline

2077 words - 9 pages ... police officers and other criminal justice personnel. In the early 1990s, Griffith University in Queensland established a degree program in criminology and criminal justice following major upheaval in the states criminal justice system. Police need a deeper appreciation of social, psychological an legal issues which are intrinsic to their work-an understanding which can only be acquired by higher education. United states research confirms that ...

To What Extent Is A Model Penal System - Criminology - Essay

936 words - 4 pages ... information: The first item of assessment is a written essay of 2,500 words (excluding references) which tests learning outcomes (listed below). It will do this by requiring students to respond to a question which asks them to ‘critically evaluate or explain’ concepts relating to crime and victimisation using academic sources contemporary research, policy documentation, and where appropriate, media sources. In line with SSPSSR policy, all written ...

Digital Revolution And Freedom Of Expression - Criminology 2018 - Essay

2181 words - 9 pages ... raise to the desire to limit access to information and cyberspace. Cellphones, social networks and other technologies have also been linked to the development and deployment of terrorist attacks and political activism which results in domestic instability. [1: Balkin, Jack M., “Digital Speech and Democratic Culture: A Theory of Freedom of Expression For the Information Society”, New York University Law Review. Vol 79 (2004) at 7] [2: Shirkey ...

Comparison Paper Between Different Periods In History - Liberty University Government - Essay

1073 words - 5 pages ... GOVT 200 Comparison Paper Instructions For this assignment, you will read the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. Once you have read these founding documents and Jefferson’s letter, you will write a 2–3-page paper (double-spaced, 1-inch margins) adhering to the format specified in the Course Style Guidelines document, comparing each of them. When comparing the U.S ...

Comparison Of Storys A Rose For Emily And A Worn Path - College Of Southern Maryland - Essay

799 words - 4 pages ... BLANDFORD 3 Brittany Blandford Professor Heid English 1020 June 6, 2018 The Comparison of Emily & Phoenix Although the main characters in the two stories “A rose for Emily” and “A Worn Path” may have a lot of differences but they also share a lot of similarities. What both women have in common are their struggles and the things they have to sacrifice to overcome the obstacles on their journey throughout life. Both Emily and Phoenix were strong ...

European Union And United States Comparison Report - University Of Phoenix/geo 155 - Essay

490 words - 2 pages ... European Union and United States Comparison 3 European Union and United States Comparison Report Asdrubal Castillo GEO/155 July 1, 2013 Mr. Robert G. Prescott The European Union (EU) was founded was founded after the end of World War Two in 1948 and consist of 28 European countries with the goal to promote stability and economic cooperation between its members. It consists of a Council that represent national governments, the European ...

Is Education A Right Or Privilege - English - Essay

776 words - 4 pages ... Education is basically a human right. It can be changed, based on what people can actually learn. Education can open up doors that nothing else can. Every single person needs education in order to advance in the world and every single individual is entitled to an education. Education is one of the most important investments an individual can make for their future. It plays a key role in social and economic development. It should be our top ...

A Comparison Of The Imagery And Language In "the Handmaid's Tale" And Judith Wright's Poems

1021 words - 5 pages ... In Margaret Atwood's "The handmaid's tale" and Judith Wright poems, some subject matters are similar because there are a lot of imageries based on children and men, from voices of a woman. In "the handmaid's tale" the narrator has lost her child and husband, and in some Judith Wright poems it is about a woman's love for men, and a child being born. Looking at the imagery and language used, we can compare between the approach the writers are ...

Dead Man Walking - A True Story About The Death Penalty - Criminology - Essay

1225 words - 5 pages Free ... Adam Hodges Criminology 3/22/18 Dead Man Walking Capital punishment, otherwise known as “The Death Penalty,” has been around for many years and has been the cause of death for over twelve hundred inmates since 1976, but is the Death Penalty really beneficial to the American public? This question is in the back of many people’s minds, and has left many questioning the meaning of the punishment. The death penalty targets murderers or high profile ...

Children's Right To Education In China - Fc005 - Essay

1355 words - 6 pages ... FC011The Individual, State and Societ Student ID No: 100881 Module Code: FC011 Module Title: The Individual, State and Society Tutor name: Robert Murphy Class: Group 4 Assessment Title: Children’s right to education in China Student ID Number:100881 Date of Submission:29/5/2018 Word count: 1341 Words Children’s right to education in China The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone ...

A Comparison Of Hinduism And Theosophy

2141 words - 9 pages ... become an essential part of the Hindu culture and help guide a day-to-day life.The Hindu's worldview is mapped out in four goals, Dharma, Artha, Karma, and Moksha. Each one of these elements deserves a separate essay on the sole subject in order to fully understand them, but for the sake of comparison I will present the basic idea of each.Dharma, the main goal in Hinduism, consists of righteousness and morality. Dharma is your social and religious ...

An Essay About A Literature Piece "written In Stone" - University Of Texas Literature - Essay

532 words - 3 pages ... Timaka L Brown TLB2665 “Written to Stone” : Good Job President Fenves I think that the decision to remove the statues shouldn’t have taken this long. For years, students of color, and in particular, Black students at the university have voiced their opinions on the matter. They have let the administration know that the presence of these statues is completely unacceptable, especially in a political climate of racism and prejudice. I respect ...