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Assess the Usefulness of Realism in Developing Our Understanding of Crime and Deviance

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Assess the usefulness of realism in developing our understanding of crime and deviance
Sociologists, both left and right realists, have tried to develop accurate theories of crime that propose practical solutions when dealing with the worldly issues of crime and deviance. The way these two approaches pursue this is drastically different from one another, as both wings are from completely opposite ends of the political scale. Nevertheless, like all sociological theories, they have their margins and flaws, yet both approaches have demonstrated to be useful in developing our understanding of crime and deviance for a number of reasons.
The origins of left realism lie in the desire to move away from “pure theory” to something which can be utilised and applied practically in order to solve the problem of crime in Britain. Left realism is predominantly useful in understanding crime and deviance because it avoids the age old divisions between structure and action. Instead, left realism sets out an outline which contains all levels of analysis, both micro and macro. Young for example, suggests that in order to truly understand and deal with crime efficiently, the interaction between micro and macro factors need to be considered alongside each other in what is referred to as ‘the square of crime’. Simply, this means that when studying the problem of crime, sociologists should consider the roles of the state (they have the power to define what is criminal and what is not), the offender (what motivates them, material deprivation and so on), the public (an agent of informal social control; fear of public stigmatisation is regarded as one of the most commanding elements of behaviour) and lastly but importantly, the victim, as ultimately the victim is the one that decides whether a crime has happened. Such a method is exceptionally detailed and complex, and provides a refined way…...

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