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Lecture

SOC 1500 Week 7

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 1500
Professor
Michelle Dumas
Semester
Fall

Description
Soc 1500 October 23, 2012 Week 7 “The CSI Effect”  Perceptions & outcomes o Basing perception from what they see in the media o Public perception has an influence on criminal justice outcomes  Television o Very popular medium o A lot of people watching crime shows  Jury o Has been looked at to see if there are expectations among juries  Legal changes o Some states ask jurors what their favourite shows are o Want people who watch less television  Defined o Unrealistic expectation that the public has Myths  Precision o Science never makes any mistakes o No human error because evidence doesn’t lie o Don’t believe people, believe the evidence  Job duties o One person does it all (police officer, evidence collector, analyzer)  In real life, all done by separate people  Equipment & training o Police and forensic lab have everything that they need o Everyone has all the training they need  Tests o Can test everything because time and money don’t matter o Analyzing DNA doesn’t take minutes, takes a lot of time  Suspect confessions o Suspects always confess Who does this affect?  Police o Now required to over-collect o Used to be 10 pieces of evidence-now 100-400 pieces  Prosecutors o Now must demand for these tests o Takes case longer  Defense attorneys o If science doesn’t lie then client must be guilty  Problem with collecting can still be used against their client  Juries o Asked and required excessive tests to be done to shake unreasonable doubts Soc 1500 October 23, 2012 Week 7  Forensic scientists o Increase use of forensic science and scientists o We need more people to analyze the evidence  Relation to crime o Teaches criminals to clean up crime scenes Theories of Media 1. Technological a. Communication studies 2. Critical (social science) Looks at how the media acts as a socialization tool. People believe about things around them by consuming media. Media can act as social control. a. Media & inequality- How media serves the economic interest of the powerful. How the upper class owns which media and what message are they telling us. b. Media & social conflict- How we get our perception about crime and criminals. Media Constructions of Crime Social Constructionism-want to look at the ways at which values, images, or ideas are socially constructed Spector & Kitsuse (1977)-a way to assessing social problems and deviance. subjective, socially constructed  Process: social problems o How are they created, how are they socially constructed so that something is seen as a problem  Language o Language used for example talking about drug use criminally or medically  Deviant(s) o Nothing bad about the person, just socially constructed as a problem Social Constructionism CONCEPTS:  Claim o Any verbal, visual (picture) or behavioral statement that tries to persuade an audience to take a condition seriously and report to it as a problem.  Claim-makers o People who make claims-can be professionals (doctors, politicians, police)  Claims-making activities o Look at the ways claim-makers make claims o What kind of power do they have o How much attention are they getting Soc 1500 October 23, 2012 Week 7  Public o Need to persuade an audience- public is the biggest audience Language-4 Rhetorical devices  Rhetorical idioms o Situate a condition in the moral universe (morality) good and bad, heroes and villains o Use common sense notions, things that people perceive as being true and right such as smoking is bad for your health.  Counterrhetorics o Counter claims that are made. Good side and bad side. o Ex. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem  Motifs o Figures of speech that make it seem that it’s a really big problem and there is a sense of urgency (“epidemic” “war”) o Ex. Reporting of school shootings and violence  Claims-making styles o Scientific style is the most common  We give percentages, rates, numbers  Make it seem more plausible  No one typically questions the numbers, take them as facts 3 Factions of Constructionism  Strict constructionist o Very few people o Do not believe there is any objective reality o Everything is socially constructed o Ex. Table does not exist until someone says there is a table there  Contextual constructionist o Believe there is an objective reality (table does exist) o Evidence an claims can be evaluated o Believe that evidence should be evaluated so when someone provides you a number, they want to evaluate that claim (how was that statistic come up with)  Debunkers o Debunk the claims o Crude o Looking for a lie  Example (clipBowling for Columbine) o The more people hear about another murder, it is perceived that crime is increasing Soc 1500 October 23, 2012 Week 7 Public Arenas Model (Hilgarner &Bosk) Competition for ‘public arenas’: which claims are more likely to me told than others  Competition o Competition to get that space and time to get that claim made or story told o Who wins in the competition  Value o Space for public arena is extremely fierce, there is only so much space (carrying capacity) (news program is half an hour or 60 minutes) o Compete for that space available=valuable o Certain parts of the space are more valuable than others  Reality o There is only so much space (carrying capacity) o Cannot tell every story Principles 1. Drama a. The claims that are the most vivid and told in the most dramatic ways. Have an emotional sense to it, are more likely to get space (ex. Child abducted vs. person stealing a CD) 2. Novelty a. More likely to get space than something that is repetitive or that we already know b. Going be presented as something that is urgent or exclusive 3. Culture a. Claims that are rooted in culture preoccupations are more likely to get space b. Most common: loss of life (murder) c. Some people are in need of protectionseen as an important story to tell (ex. Women and children) d. Most valuable victim for a story is a young white female 4. Politics a. Anything that can advance that ideology is more likely going to be reported b. ‘Law and Order’ approach Moral Panics (Stanley Cohen)  Defined o The rockers of Britain to see how media told stories about them and showed how they were these deviant persons that needed to be controlled by police  Target (folk devils) o Particular persons are seen as a threat (witches)  Threat Soc 1500 October 23, 2012 Week 7 o Perceived threat, the way the stories told, makes us think threat is greater than it actually is from newspapers, television (have to make money so want to tell a good story) o People are more likely to pay attention Characteristics 1. Reporting a. Exaggeration facts are overblown to give story a greater edge b. Figures aren’t necessarily incorrect but used in a wrong way 2. Repetition a. More repetition, more likely we’ll see it as a problem or threat b. Information seems believable to the public, and sounds correct, and this gives us the sense of urgency need to do something about it 3. Pictures and titles a. Misleading pictures and snappy titles (headlines) b. Provocative headlines, drawing in reader with pictures c. Sets up the story in how you read it Elements  Definition o Stages of which things go through as they become more panicked  Recognizable o Presented to us in recognizable form  Public concern o More repetition creates a build up of public concern o People are writing in and calling into talk showsbecomes a discussion  Authorities o More people perceiving it as threat, there is more call to action from authorities o Politicians, government, police to take action  Recede or change o Panic changes to a new issue, a new moral panic o Changes because law has been put into place or there has been a change in the law to sa
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