What are Left realist theories of crime and deviance?

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Published on 27th August 2017 by

What are Left realist theories of crime and deviance?

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Left realism developed as a response to the influence of right realism on government policy and the need to produce practical solutions to the rising crime rates.

Although left realists see society as being an unequal capitalist society, left realists are not revolutionary socialists like Marxists, but reformist. They do not believe in the violent overthrow of capitalism but in gradual social change as the best means to achieve equality.

Left realists want practical strategies for reducing crime right now and not having to wait for a revolution and a socialist utopia to remove crime.

Left realists criticise other sociologists for not taking crime seriously. Left realists believe crime to be a serious problem which especially has a pronounced affect on the disadvantaged groups in society, who are also its main victims.

Labelling theorists believe that working class criminals have been labelled by social control agents, often in a discriminatory way, but left realists see this approach neglecting the actual victims. The real victims are working class people who suffer from the deviant acts.

Traditional Marxists: the left realists agree that the crimes of the powerful for example corporate crime is important, but they believe that traditional Marxists neglect working class crime and its effects.

Neo-marxists: criticised by left realists for romanticising working class deviance as modern day Robin Hood’s, who undertake acts of political resistance against capitalism by stealing from the rich. Left realists argue that it actually the working class that victimise it’s fellow working class members, and not the affluent.

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