Realist Theories Essay

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Realist Theories They see crime as a problem to be tackled. All realists: - Argue that there has been a significant rise in the crime rate - especially in street crime, burglary and assault. - Are concerned about the widespread fear of crime and about the impact of crime on its victims. - Argue that other theories have failed to offer realistic solutions to the problem of crime. We can divide realist approaches along political lines: - Right Realists - Share the New Right or neo-conservative political outlook. - Left Realists - Are socialists and favour quite different policies of reducing crime. Right Realism - They see crime, especially street crime, as a real and growing problem that destroys communities, undermines social cohesion and threatens society’s work ethic. - Right realist views on crime correspond closely with those of neo-conservative governments during the 1970s and 1980s. The Causes of Crime - Right realists reject the idea put forward by Marxists and others that structural or economic factors such as poverty and inequality are the cause for crime. For example, they point out that the old tend to be poor, yet they have a very low crime rate. - Right realists argue that crime is the product of three factors; individual biological differences, inadequate socialisation and the underclass, and rational choice to offend. Individual Biological Differences - James Wilson and Richard Herrnstein (1985) put forward a biosocial theory of criminal behaviour. In their view, crime is caused by a combination of biological and social factors. o Biological differences between individuals make some people innately more strongly likely to commit crimes than others. E.g. Personality traits such as aggressiveness, extroversion, risk taking, and low impulse control put some people at greater risk of offending. o Wilson and Herrnstein also argue
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