Left Realist Criminology: A New Theoretical Perspective

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A school of criminology which emerged initially in Britain in the early 1980s as a response both to the punitive and exclusionary policies of conservatism and to the utopianism of New Left criminologies. Distinctive Features Left realist criminology, as its name implies, is radical in its criminology and realistic in its appraisal of crime and its causes.


Rather it suggests that it is within the core institutions of society (its relationships of class and of gender) and its central values (such as competitive individualism and aggressive masculinity) that crime arises.
Crime is not a product of abnormality but of the normal workings of the social order. Secondly, it is realistic in that it attempts to be faithful to the reality of crime. This involves several tasks: realistically appraising the problem of crime, deconstructing crime into its fundamental components (the square of crime), critically examining the nature of causality, being realistic about the possibilities of intervention and, above all, fully understanding the changing social terrain in which we now live. The particular political space in which left realism emerged was in the mid-1980s. The juxtaposition was with the emergence of conservative (neo-liberal') governments in many Western countries which pursued an overtly punishment-oriented approach to crime control.
At that time a liberal/ social democratic opposition was on the defensive. ...
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