SOC 1500 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Strict Constructionism, Moral Panic, Innocent Victims

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17 Feb 2016
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Media & Crime
“The CSI Effect” – changed the science of crime and expected that to spill out into the real world
- Coined by Robert Blake case
oAccused of killing his wife
oHe went out the night she was killed, out for dinner, walked back to car, he went back to
restaurant and when he was gone she was shot
oHe was acquitted because there was a lack of physical evidence said they didn’t do
the tests they do on CSI
- Perceptions & Outcomes
oCanadians watch 22 hrs of TV each week
oHas an impact
oPop cultural affects outcomes and perceptions
- TV
oAffects victims. Families, police enforcement
- Jury
oDemand collection of physical evidence
oIf they don’t get it they acquit
oTaking more time for cases to move through the system
- Legal changes
oAsk potential jurors about their TV habits can determine if you want them on the jury
- Defined
oAcademically
oUnrealistic expectation the public ahs regarding forensic science and what it can
accomplish form watching TV shows
- Myths
oPrecision
Idea that science is exact and there are no human errors. Precise and correct with
no mistakes
The evidence never lies
oJob Duties
Can do everything collect things at the scene and do work in the laboratory
Reality all done by separate people
oEquipment & Training
Myth have everything (all technology and equipment)
Some of the producers admitted that the technology they use doesn’t exist or
isn’t actually used in real cases
They made it up and made it believable
oTests
Can test everything because time and money doesn’t matter
Real DNA test are extremely expensive
Do them in batches, not one at a time
oSuspect Confessions
Suspects always confesses not true because many crimes go unsolved
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Who Does This Affect?
- Police
oOver collect evidence
oCollect on average an extra 100 pieces of evidence
- Prosecutors
oDemand unnecessary task because the juries expect it
oTo get a conviction they want the best evidence
- Defense attorneys
oHuman error
oCan be a problem if their client is innocent
oCan be affected
oHave to be aware of how much is collected and what is collected
- Juries
oRequire excessive and uneeded evidence
oAsk for DNA when it does not need to be collected (home invasions)
oForensic scientist have to do extra work
- Forensic scientists
oReceive the brunt of all of this
oHave to analyze more
oExpected to do more then needed
oOnly have so much time to get to everything that is now required of them
- Relation to crime
oDeclining
oUse of forensic science is increased
oCrime is decreasing don’t need to spend money on things that are decreasing
Theories of Media
- Technological
oEmphasis how technology works
oCommon in communication studies
oNot used in social sciences
- Critical (social Science)
oMedia & Inequality
Serves the economic interest of elite groups
How the news presents the particular way we see the world and how it benefits a
group
oMedia & Social Conflict
Perceptions of crime
Ideology can help reinforce the status quo
Media Constructions of Crime
- Social Constructionism
oSpector & Kitsuse (1977)
Process: social problems
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
How deviance is constructed socially
Opposition of subjectivist approach looks at who decides the
something is objective
Not the label, but rather who is doing the labeling
Language
What language is being used to define behaviours as a problem
The way the language you use impacts the way we see the event
Important element to the construction of social problems
Deviant
How people/groups are constructed as deviant
Not deviant until labeled as such
Social Constructionism
- Claim
oAnalyzing of language
oAny verbal, visual statement that tries to persuade an audience to take a condition
seriously
oPictures or clips say a lot
oOften use common sense categories that are easily understood why it is a problem in
need of fixing
- Claim – makers
oPeople who make the claims
oProfessional doctors, police, politicians, victims
- Claims making activities
oWho are the claim makers and what claims are they making and how it fits into those
who have power and those who do not
oPersuade an audience to take you claim seriously
- Public
oMore people means more action is taken
Language – 4 Rhetorical Devices
- Rhetorical Idioms
oSituate a condition in a moral universe and appeal to people with morality
oUse of common sense notions
oEasy because people are already thinking this way
oEx: smoking is bad for health
- Counterrhetorics
oCounter claims that are made by setting up two sides
oMost common one: if not part of the solution than part of he problem
Used to get people on your side
Set up a situation where you have two places to be, but want to be on the best
side
- Motifs
oFigure of speech that is used that gives a sense of urgencies needs fixing now
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