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The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Left Realist Perspective in Criminology - Coursework Example

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The paper "The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Left Realist Perspective in Criminology" discusses that the realist theory whilst accepting the free will of the offender to make the choice to commit a crime then goes on to try to apportion that blame to other external factors. …
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The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Left Realist Perspective in Criminology
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Download file to see previous pages Within left realism, the labelling theory of criminology focuses on activities within society as well as in the activities of the criminal justice system. Left realism is concerned with informal social control and deterrence within the criminal justice system. Left realism has not attempted to deliver any new theory on the causes of crime, but has instead worked on changing the existing theories of crime into the ‘action and reaction’ model (Young, 1987). Merton (1938) developed the theory of anomie or relative deprivation when combined with social or economic marginality is one of the major causes of crime. Lea and Young (1984) concluded in their study that relative deprivation is likely to result in those persons turning to criminal activity in situations where they have been marginalised from society.
Positivism suggests that crime is brought about by absolute deprivation in the form of unemployment, lack of schooling and poor housing. Realist theories tend to consider relative deprivation as being the major cause of criminal behaviour. Relative deprivation occurs when there is unfairness in the allocation of resources which leads the offender to resort to crime to level the balance. Left realism has been criticised for its restricted applicability for certain crimes. Crimes associated with relative deprivation include things such as shoplifting and street robberies. Cloward and Ohlin (1960) believed that relative deprivation did not occur in response to the need to supplement the income of the individual but as a way of coping with the obstacles placed before these individuals which prevented them from achieving success in their lives.
Box (1983) stated that those suffering from relative deprivation were more likely to resort to violent crimes. Box explained why he believed that men suffering from relative deprivation are more likely to rape women than those from other social backgrounds. In his study he stated
"When men from this latter group rape they rely primarily on physical violence because this is the resource they command. Being relatively unable to 'wine and dine' females or place them in a position of social debt, and being less able to induce in women a sense of physical and emotional over-comes these 'socially' powerless men are left with a sense of resentment and bitterness which is fanned and inflamed by cultural sex-role stereotypes of 'successful' men being sexually potent."(Box 1983 p.152) [2]. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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