New Left Realism - New Left Realism For the past 30 years...

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New Left Realism For the past 30 years, Jock Young has been recognized as one of the major British writers in the field of crime and deviance. His intellectual career encompasses Interactionism (see "The Role of the Police as... Amplifiers of Deviance"), Radical Criminology (see "The New Criminology", 1973 - with Paul Walton and Ian Taylor) and now New Left Realism (see "What Is To Be Done About Law And Order?" - with John Lea) and, for this reason alone, perhaps, his work represents an interesting area of study. For the sake of theoretical continuity and clarity , therefore, this brief look at New Left Realism will focus on the work produced by Young in this area... A New Left Realist approach to the study of crime begins by doing two things: Firstly , it rejects "partial" theories of crime because they are guilty of either: a. An over-concentration on the operation of control agencies (for example, Functionalism and Subcultural theory ) or b. An over-concentration on the experiences of criminals and the attempt to "understand" their point of view as either: " Victims " of a labelling process ( Interactionism ) or " Political catalysts " against bourgeois hegemony ( Radical Criminology / Marxist Subcultural theory ). Secondly , it synthesizes various elements from past theoretical perspectives into a "new realistic" approach to crime and deviance that seeks to understand: a. The effect that crime has on its victims (mainly, but not exclusively, the working class). b. The social origins of crime , mainly in terms of the cultural background and development of criminals. As you may recall from a previous set of Notes ( Radical Criminology ), I outlined 7 ideas proposed by Taylor, Walton and Young that represented the core of any "theoretically-adequate conceptualisation of deviance". I further suggested that radical criminologists had singularly failed to operationalise these ideas Before we look in more detail at the New Left Realist position of Lea and Young, it is perhaps worth noting that it is as initially critical of " Radical Criminology " as it is of " Orthodox (or conservative) Criminology ". This is perhaps interesting mainly because Young, as we have seen, was one of the prime movers behind the development of Radical Criminology in Britain.
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It is also significant that New Left Realism does not claim - as Radical Criminologists tended to claim - to be a form of "Marxist criminology". It is perhaps interesting to note that in the follow-up to "The New Criminology", the book edited by Taylor, Walton and Young ("Critical Criminology", 1975) contained a fierce critique of Radical Criminology - and its pretensions to be a "Marxist" form of theorizing - by Paul Q. Hirst . A reply to the
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