Sociology Questions for A2


Realist approaches to crime + deviance

Intro=Realists see crime as a real problem that effects real people and needs real solutions.

P1=Left Realism. By Lea and Young. Relative deprivation= Feelings heightened when combined with individualism and leads to criminal responses as it undermines the family and community values. Informal social controls are weakened and anti-social behaviour, violence and crime increase.

P2=Left Realism Marginalization=Young people feel this way and they are frustrated with their treatment by the police so are hostile towards mainstream society. Subculture= If they experience the two previous things then they form deviant subcultures where they believe that society doesn't value them so they turn to crime.

P3=Left Realism= Eval= little evidence to show criminals support or interpret realities the same way as Lea and Young. Why aren't all people deviant? Focuses on street crime and ignores working class and corporate crime. It fails to account for opportunistic crime by adults.

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Realist approaches to crime + deviance

P4=Right Realism= Underclass theory Charles Murray. He states that they lack moral values e.g. marriage and family. They often include single mothers and have absent fathers. They are the main cause of crime in inner city and council estates. Marshland said that the welfare state is responsible for it development.

P5=Right Realism=Rational Choice=Clarke People commit crime based on a rational choice of the calculation of the consequences of being caught for the crime. Control Theory= Hirschi States that not everyone commits crime as they have the 4 controls= attachment, commitment, involvement, belief.

P6=Right Realism=Eval=Rex + Thomlinson reject the underclass as some events are beyond the poor’s control. There is little empirical evidence to show that the underclass exists. Cohen says the new rights view leads to class inequalities. They overstate the rationality of criminals.

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Realist approaches to crime + deviance

P7=Marxist Views=Althusser say that the law is a ideological state apparatus which Reiman supports as he states that law enforcement favours the rich. Box also agrees as he states that the powerful kill, injure and maim the ordinary people. Croall says that white collar and corporate crime goes unpunished due to it not being visible to the general public.

Conclusion=is useful as they try to explain crime and deviance in relation to people. However it doesn't consider class or the reality of criminals in it's explanations of crime and deviance.

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Importance of Victim Surveys

Intro=How important are they? Important=practical and useful. There is a debate as to whether they are the most use for the sociological understanding of crime and deviance.

P1=Strengths= Left Realist and Feminist= Focus on what the Victim says and thinks, they can therefore develop a rapport with them, this means they can share the meaning with the victim which then increases the validity, it provides qualitative data. CSEW=Reliable reflection of household crime, as it uncovers the dark figure of crime. It is unaffected by police counting rules. They use structure interviews and therefore gain reliable data.

P2=Weaknesses=CSEW= It does not cover commercial victimisation, it excludes victimless crime, it also excludes crime against children, sometimes people are unaware they are victims and this can be difficult for them. Left realist and Feminist= Not reliable (as they are unrepeatable), they can be difficult to analyse, they can be time consuming and very expensive to run.

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Importance of Victim Surveys

P3=OS Comparison=OS better as they are cheaper, easier, more contempory. Also they are conducted in a standardised and systematic way. However Left Realist victim surveys consider the victim and therefore develop a rapport and a better understanding of what it is like to be a victim.

P4=Self Report Study Comparison=they uncover the true amount of crime by asking people to ü the crimes they have successfully committed. Ian Marsh states that the validity is under question due to the under and over reporting of crime by some of the participants. This affects the representativeness as it can then be inaccurate. It does not include all criminal acts and it is therefore a social construct. Josine Junger Tas reports that there is a sliding scale which people report on it depends on past experience with the Justice system. Victim surveys are more important as the show people’s feeling about and towards crime.

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Importance of Victim Surveys

P5=Left Realist Views= Islington Crime Survey by Jock Young and John Lea suggested that working class and black people have a realistic fear of crime as they are often the victims of it. It found that 1/3 of the interviewed had been touched by serious crime in the last 12 months they also found that 28% felt unsafe at home.

P6=Feminist Views= Graham claims questionnaires and structured interviews give a distorted and invalid picture of women’s experience. Hanmer and Saunders used unstructured interviews in a random street in Leeds in the 1980s using well trained and sympathetic female interviewers and found 20% of the women had been sexually assaulted but no reported it.

Conclusion=Victim surveys are important as they tell more about the victims thoughts and feelings however they do have some floors such as not covering all types of crime. So in order to have the best understanding of crime and deviance they need to be use with OS and Self Report Studies.    

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