Chapter 10: Realist Criminology Revisited
Realist criminology revisited Just over twenty years ago Jock Young (1986) wrote a path breaking article which identified the failures of criminology and made the case for developing what became known as left, critical or radical realism. Over the past two decades however these failures have, if anything, become more entrenched. From a realist perspective the ongoing failures of academic criminology are seen to centre around its conceptual weaknesses, lack of methodological and analytic rigour and diminishing policy relevance. Among its most spectacular failures has been its inability to adequately conceptualise ‘crime’, explain the causes of crime or account for crime trends. It has been suggested that as academic criminology has expanded that it has become more fragmented and diversified (Ericson and Carriere, 1994). However, it is not so much a fragmentation of the subject that has taken place as its division into a number of reasonably distinct groupings. These ...