Free essay on left realism theory; its roots and evolution

Explain Left Realism Theory, including its roots, how it evolved, and the current social implications of Left Realism Theory

Left realism theory is a hypothesis that attempts to explain the relationship of crime to social divisions and social control in society. The working class group of people in society is usually the most affected according to this theory, causing its solutions to worsen the crime problems in society (Walklate, 2007). This theory attributes deprivation to be the sole cause of criminal activity but insist that any corrective measures to curb crime, should be adequately controlled. To better understand the left realism theory, it is imperative to have knowledge on its evolution as well as its current implication socially. This paper therefore seeks to explore the aforementioned aspects of the left realism theory.

Left realism is a component of criminology which particularly became popular and influential in the 1980s following the work of Jock Young. Jock Young’s work centered on the causalities of crime and proposed the need for criminology to practically employ questions regarding crime management and public policy (Walklate, 2007). Before the emergence of the left realism theory, most criminological views were influenced by Marxist theories which later came to be viewed as irrelevant. The left realism theory therefore emerged as a critical criminology to counter what was believed to be the Left’s malfunction in obtaining a practical concern in daily crimes (Walklate, 2007). According to this theory, the Right realists had been left to dominate most of the political programs of law and order. Notably the left realists emerged to criticize the manner in which the dominant criminological theories characterized criminals as political mediums who were against the bourgeois dominion (Walklate, 2007). The theory therefore evolved to explain criminal behavior in expression of it being a revolt against the prejudices imposed upon the mass of the population in society by the ruling elite (Walklate, 2007).

Current social implications of Left Realism Theory

The left realism theory has had various social implications in the present society. First, contemporary society has been immensely transformed according to this theory through the introduction of social fear. Social fear in this case, has resulted from various forms of discrimination and deprivations in society. Examples of these include; economic, racial and gender discriminations. As a result, apprehensive and isolated citizens have come to form major component of today’s societies (Siegel, 2009). Consequently, this has led to introduction of social inequality in society. Another social implication of the left realism theory has been the creation of employment opportunities in society (Siegel, 2009). Relative deprivation has been associated as the main cause of crimes according to this theory. Because of this, there have been immense efforts to offer more job opportunities especially to the low class in society hence resulting to more job chances in society. Notably in contemporary society, there has been a great change in the family unit. Maintaining a family and particularly parenting roles have become more challenging in present society (Siegel, 2009). This is because all members in the family unit need to feel appreciated lest they commit crime.


Siegel, L. J. (2009). Criminology. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Walklate, S. (2007). Understanding criminology: Current theoretical debates. Maidenhead:
McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.