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A2 Unit 2 - Crime and Deviance

9) Right Realism perspective

Most of the perspectives on crime take a positivist approach of conducting experiments in a scientific and empirical way.Positivist approaches also say that our behaviour (including crime), is determined by outside forces that we can’t control.


However, realist approaches say behaviour is determined by our choices we make, as we have free-will. Wilson and Hernstein said that criminal behaviour is a choice made by people who have been incorrectly socialised. They argue that society has become more and more used to ‘immediate gratification’. They also said that poor socialisation leads to a lack of self-control.

This mix of immediate gratification and low self-control leads to people making the choice to commit crimes.

Hirschi’s control theory – Hirschi said we all face the temptation to commit crimes in life. However, most of us resist the temptation. This is because we have strong ties to social institutions such as families and schools. These institutions lead to correct socialisation, so those without strong links to them are the most likely to commit crimes.

Charles Murray also said poor socialisation leads to crime; however, he focused on why this is more common in the ‘underclass’. He said the underclass wasn’t always those with the lowest income, but those who act in a certain way. Murray said the underclass are subjected to several factors which lead to crime: violence, unemployment, poverty etc. and this leads to higher crime.

Charles Murray said one of the main reasons we have an underclass is the increase in childbirth outside of marriage. He said this increase in lone parent families has led to an increase in people who are lazy, violent and immoral. So Murray said childbirth outside of marriage is a factor affecting crime.



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A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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