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Lecture Six.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 1500
Michelle Dumas

February 26, 2014 Crime and Criminal Justice: Lecture Six The CSI Effect -the television show changed the way people see the science and the outcome of criminal trials -changed the way people perceive crime -people and juries are expecting more evidence -this has caused cases longer to move through the system -to screen the jury they ask for the television shows that people watch -there are unrealistic expectations regarding what forensic science can do based on the shows that people watch Myths -Precision – forensic science is always correct or exact and there is room for human error (we know there is always room for human error) -Job duties – people can have several jobs, can be on the scene of the crime, collect evidence and analyze the crime (however each step is completed by unrelated people) -Equipment and training – we have the training and equipment to solve every case and the way equipment is used is how it is used in real life (some of the equipment on tv shows are made up) -Tests – results are quick and cheap (it takes a long time and are extremely expensive to conduct – are 3 to 5 years behind) -the suspect always confesses (many crimes go unsolved) Affects -Police are under pressure to collect more evidence – police are required to collect up to 100 rather than 10 as they were doing previously -prosecutors demand unnecessary scientific tests because the jury will expect it -defense attorneys know that faulty evidence and human error -Juries want more evidence to shake doubt -forensic scientists are backlogged, don’t have enough money or enough people to conduct tests -it has taught people and criminals how to clean up crime scenes to leave less evidence behind (therefore police have less evidence to collect, prosecutors don’t have evidence, people are not convicted as a result) Clip (The CSI Effect) -shows like CSI are having an effect -condoms are being used, latex gloves are worn, bullet casings are being picked up, criminals are getting ideas to cover their tracks -juries are less likely to convict based on witnesses (demand DNA and other evidence) Theories of Media Technological -emphasizes on technology communicates -looks at media with a critical lens -looks at how media portrays events and presents information and issues Critical (social science) -looking at media and inequality (the effect of power) -looking at media and social conflict -how ideology is reinforced through media, creating conflict against other groups, how our perceptions are altered Social Constructionism -created by Spector and Kitsuse in 1977 -the way social problems and deviance are constructed -used to look at how media sends messages about social problems, deviance and crime -in opposition of the objectivist approach -looking at the language that is used by the people communicating about a problem or crime (the use of language in the process of defining a person or problem) -looking at the way how particular groups of persons come to be defined as deviant -Subjectivist approach -people are not deviant until labelled as such (Subjectivist approach) Concepts Claim –visual or audio to convince others to accept something as deviant or criminal Claim-makers –the people who make claims (doctors, psychologists, politicians, organizational leaders, anyone who makes a claim about something being a problem or an issue) Claims making activities – how the two intercept (who is making the claims and what claims are they making, and how power affects these claims) -people with power tend to be more influential -the ability to convince the public that something is a problem Language (4 rhetorical devices) Rhetorical Idioms -when a person situates a condition in a moral universe, focussing on fixing bad behaviour -use common sense notions to define what is good and what is bad -smoking is bad for your health Counter rhetoric’s -when you counter claims that are made and you set them up as two opposing sides -if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem -if you’re not with us, you’re a terrorist Motifs -a figure of speech typically done in a way to show that something is extreme or urgent -epidemic, war, sense of urgency to fix it now -school shootings have become an epidemic, the war against poverty Claim-Making Styles -the style way a claim is made -facts and statistics, a scientific claim to provide information to make it seem believable and make people trust it 3 Factions of Constructionism Strict Constructionist -do not recognize objective dimensions -nothing is real and nothing exists, we are only looking at claims that people make -philosophical in its stance -if someone says this table exists than it exists Contextual Constructionist -provide context for the claim being made and then evaluate them -do not deny objective dimensions, things happen and we can use this to evaluate claims to reinforce an idea -most people fall into this category Debunkers -try to break down claims that are being made and state why they are wrong Public Arenas Model (Hilgartner and Bosk 1988) Competition for public arenas -used to rely on newspaper -we now rely on online resources -there is competition because it cannot contain all the stories because there isn’t enough space to contain all of them -there must be competition among claim makers to get their claims heard -what claims are more likely to win at that competition and how are they different from those that do not make it to the public arena -there is not enough space (carrying capacity) and some space has more value than others -a news program is only an hour or half an hour long -newspapers can only be so big or no one will buy it -some space is more valuable than others (in news casts the first 5 minutes is the most important – flooded with natural disasters and crime) -every story cannot be told -developed the model to show how certain criteria ranks over others Principles 1) Drama –stories told in dramatic terms (more likely to get coverage) -children being kidnapped or killed -emotional hook -more likely to be told 2) Novelty -exploit current events and new events to become appealing -presented as an urgent or exclusive situation (new and different) 3) Culture -stories that are in cultural themes -the loss or worry of loss of life (death in an unusual way) -cultural myths (certain victims are in need of protection, women and children are most often reported and talked about and how they were not protected) 4) Politics -economic elite are more likely to have their voices heard -those in power are more likely to be covered -political ideologies win out (conservative ideology, the way we treat crime, get tough on crime) Moral Panics (Stanley Cohen – 1972) EXAMPLE: Y2K Definition -Looking at the way there is a panic or frenzy over particular behaviours -how certain groups or behaviours are blown out of proportion -merge to become a threat to our values and societal interests -the persons, conditions or behaviours are targeted (folk devils) -we must legislate and change bad behaviours -the perceived threat is greater than the actual threat (media blows things up and makes things appear as if there is a bigger threat than there actually is) -media wants to make money (competition to other media and therefore play into dramatic stories) Characteristics of a Moral Panic 1. Reporting -facts are overblown to give the story a greater edge -not necessarily incorrect but are quoted out of context and given in a w
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