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CRM312 UNIT 1 (PART 2) - Sept 16th Cultural Criminology Intro (2).docx

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Ryerson University
CRM 312
Stephen Muzzatti

CRM312 – UNIT ONE (part 2) th Week 3: September 16 , 2013 – UNIT ONE: first lecture continued – CRIMINOLOGY AS NEWS-BREAKING: - At the first level of approximation, there was a polar distribution/diametric distinction between empirical reality (statistics, data collected) and social reality of crime (media coverage of crime is not about the reality of crime and this is a known concept that news is a social product) - Example: Data shows violent crime has gone down over the years, yet social media has most people believing that crime rates are as high as ever, often referring to previous years as “safer” - Because of the lack of empirical crime reality available to the public/accessible, people often rely on the social reality (largely news media) - Crime news is a buffer for social reality because of the processes in producing the product - This is what we sometimes call “info-tainment” (1980’s news strategy for advertising) - “Crime is not about what’s happening in the outside world, crime is about what’s happening in the news room” - In reference to the “specific requirements” checklist for “newsworthiness” YOUTH CUTLURE: - Seminal piece: Cohen’s study done on delinquent boys (Mods, Rockers) - John Erwin: - 1970’s: studied youth culture in California - 1973: journal article which… - in 1977: turned into a full book simply called “Youth Scenes” which takes into account: identity of youth, youth culture, physical space, etc. - Burmingham School of Contemporary Arts was a school of thought attached to a lot of studies on youth culture in Britain, starting with musical influences (punk, ska, reggae) - Simon Frith & Dick Hebdige studied youth identity & culture depicted by the media - Showed the importance of symbolism & the shaping of identity of young people in relation to “deviant subcultures” - Their study was more of a cultural studies approach, focusing on the web/interplay of different agents in determining reality METHODOLOGY: - Cultural criminology offers re-vamped terms of engagement with the spheres of crime, deviance, transgressive behaviour, etc. with “edgy” methods (counter methodologies) - content/discourse analysis - field ethnographies - These methodologies (1) challenge the dichotomy/separation of researcher and subjects and (2) work to prioritize the aesthetics of crime (visuals, emotions, the art and feel of crime) and there’s way to get that through quantitative methods (because quantitative methods are usually a narrow of view of crime and missing the important, rich detail) (1) most known for ethnographic field work - The driving ethos behind ethnographic field work research is criminological Verstehen (Jeff Ferrell) - borrows from early 20 century Max Weber’s Verstehen - Verstehen is the sympathetic/interpretive understanding of the world, specifically of crime and its control in this case, so the researcher must embrace Verstehen by making a commitment to naturalism, and truly believe that his/her research has meaning to the lives of real people outside of just the research (that the research isn’t just for the paper, or that assignment, that the results can impact how others outside the subjects, etc.) The point is that the researcher can only really understand the world by understanding the meaning involved, which can be negotiated by the people involved (as aforementioned, this challenges the researcher/subject dichotomy - not a strict researcher-to-subject structure where researcher understands everything, and subjects are only there to be studied) - This is applicable to the study of crime because wh
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