Assess the Contribution of Realism to Our Understanding of Crime and Deviance (21 Marks)

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Assess the contribution of Realism to our understanding of Crime and Deviance (21 Marks)

Realism is a perspective that branches off into two sub-categories, Left Realism and Right Realism. Left Realism was originally developed as a critique of New Criminology and, like Marxists, they support the Conflict Theory (The idea that society is unequal). However, unlike Marxists, they believe in gradual social change rather than overthrow of capitalism to achieve equality. Right realism though, like Functionalists, supports the consensus approach, and suggests that acts of crime are natural but there are formal and informal sanctions in place to contain and control these actions. They view this positively as they work successfully on most people, most of the time. Both Left Realism and Right Realism are macro sociological approaches.

Right Realism suggests that we all have shared values and that crime is a failure to integrate into these values. This is backed up by Murray, who suggests that instability in the family is a cause of crime as children receive inadequate socialisation due to possibly a lack of a male role model for boys or simply a lack of knowledge between what is acceptable behaviour and what isn't. This leads to welfare dependency and then an underclass of work-shy individuals with a lack of commitment to society. Right Realists suggests that a zero-tolerance policy of crime and harsher prison sentences are an effective method of crime prevention as they would act as a deterrent ensuring that the costs of committing a crime outweigh the benefits (Hirschi). This view is criticised as its solutions that are implemented have actually shown little decline in crime statistics, thus giving us the impression that right realist implementations, although potentially correct, may be better combined with other methods.

Left Realists argue that Official…...

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