Sociology: Outline and assess left and right realist explanations of crime deviance.

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Realism Pages: 3 (701 words) Published: May 10, 2004
The right realist perspective on crime is mainly associated with the American sociologist W.J Wilson. This perspective became very influential on home office policy-making during the conservatives period in office.

The right realist approach assumes that human beings are naturally selfish, individualistic and greedy. Therefore ther are 'naturally inclined' to further their interest, even if this means comitting crime. They also believe the origins of crime are misunderstood, that is policies aimed at tackling crime by removing social and economic inequalities. Wilson noted that the Great Depression in the USA did not result in a rise in crime. Another right realist explanation is that the welfare state has undermined our sense of obligation to support each other, andthat community controls, i.e. informal controls imposed by neighbours, family and peer groups are breaking down.

Right realists stress that attempts to explain the causes of crime should be abandoned and that sociologists should instead focus on finding practical solutions to slow the growth of crime. This developed the control theory.

Hirschi argues that crime is opportunistic and anyone would commit crime if the situation was right and there was little chance of being caught. He says that sociologists should not focus on whypeople commit crime but why more people do not. He maintains that most people are rational in their choices and that there are controls that operate to make most people keep their actions within the bounds of the law. They are, Attachment- commitment to family relationships which could be threatened by criminal acts, Commitment- years of education, building a career, buying a home and aquiring a good reputation, all this could be lost by commiting crime, Involvement- some people are activley involved in community life as volunteers, parentgovernors for schools etc. all this would be jepordized by criminal behaviour.

Right realists believe the way to control crime is...
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