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Chapter 7: Deviance & Crime Canadian Attitudes Toward Crime Canadian television viewers allured to crime shows When asked to indentify top 10 social issues that concern them, Can placed crime among top 3 Cans believe crime is on the rise, courts are too lenient w/ offenders, should use death penalty Canada contains a large # of bad people who have broken the law Oversimplification b/c 1) the term crime simply indicates technical violation of criminal law tells lil about his/her moral character ex) This is the Law [TV show] o 2) List of famous ppl who have been labelled as criminals include Martin Luther, Louis Riel, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela this people are now heroes for most people Norms & laws have changed dramatically, so have the defi of crime Sec 319 of Criminal Code: prohibits the wilful promotion of hatred against any identifiable grp or anyone distinguished by color, race, sex orient, religion, or ethnic grp o Any1 doing so punished w/ an imprisonment of upto 2 years Acts that are right & heroic for some ppl are wrong & treacherous for others The Social Definition of Deviance & Crime Types of Deviance & Crime Deviance: breaking a norm; violation of an accepted rule of behaviour o Ex) If a man were to use a womans washroom, regard him as deviant o Many deviant acts go unnoticed o Informal punishment: mild sanction thats imposed during face-to-face interaction Ex) gossip, shaming, stigmatization Stigmatized: ppl are negatively evaluated b/c of a marker that distinguishes them o Formal punishment: results from breaking laws, laws that are enforced by govt bodies Ex) spending time in prison John Hagan classifies types of deviance & crime along 3 dimensions: 1) Severity of the social response Homicide (other serious deviance) results in the most severe negative reaction Wearing a nose ring less negative reaction 2) Perceived harmfulness of the deviant/criminal act Sexual assault harmful; tattooing less harmful Not actual harmfulness, but perceived harmfulness is the issue 3) Degree of Public agreement Whether the act should be considered deviant Murder vs. smoking marijuana 1 4 types of deviance & crime [Hagan] 1) Social diversions minor acts of deviance, harmless, evokes mild societal reaction Ex) dyeing your hair purple! Malak Patel | Chapter 7 2) Social deviation more serious acts [non-criminal], somewhat harmful, subject to institutional sanction Ex) wearing long hair in John Lies high school 3) Conflict crimes illegal acts that many ppl consider harmful, punishable by the state th Ex) growing a long beard in early 17 cent Russia 4) Consensus crime illegal acts that all ppl agree are bad & harm society greatly State inflicts severe punishment Ex) wearing samurai hairstyle in mediaval Japan Peoples conception of deviance & crime change over time Power & the Social Construction of Crime & Deviance Social constructionism: natural or innate features of life are sustained by social processes o Emphasizes how some ppl are in a position to create norms & pass laws that define others as deviant or criminal o POWER is a key element in defining deviance & crime you are born to be a criminal! Crimes against Women Women are generally less powerful than men Stranger rapes severely punished; date rapes or acquaintance rapes rarely prosecuted Diana Scullys study of convicted rapists shows rape situation has improved o New Can laws have raised ppls awareness of date, acquaintance, marital rape o Sexual assault is now more prosecuted Why? o b/c women now have more autonomy in the family, earn more, have more political influence o feminists succeeded in changing the defi of sexual harassment o Sexual harassment now considered a social deviation of crime o ed public awareness Social defi of crimes against women have changed w/ a shift in distribution of POWER b/w men & women White Collar Crime White-collar crime: refers to illegal acts committed by a person of respectability & high social status in the course of his occupation o Ex) embezzlement, false advertising,tax evasion, insider trading,fraud,copyright infringement Street crimes: committed by ppl from lower classes o Ex) arson, breaking & entering, robbery, assault, etc White collar crimes are more costly to society (ex. Bre-X) o WC crime is underreported, less prosecuted o Police agencies not equipped/trained to process complaints abt many WC crimes o Invisible in crime totals (Statistics Can) WC crime results in few prosecutions & fewer convictions b/c of: o 1) WC crimes takes place in private difficult to detect o 2) corporations can afford legal experts, PR firms that advises on how to bend laws 2 Govt also commit serious crimes o Difficult to punish political leaders o Argue good motives excuse bad behaviour Malak Patel | Chapter 7o Ex) RCMP members put themselves ABOVE the law in their attempts to enforce the law o w/e the police needs to do in order to do their jobs is ipso facto legal In sum, WC crime is underdetected, underprosecuted, & underconvicted b/c its a crime of well-to-do Social construction of crimes against women have changed; against WC has changed very little b/c impossible to shift power from upper class to lower class Crime Rates Some crimes are more common, rates vary over place & time & among dfrnt social groups Info on crime collected by the police is our main source of info on crime in Can o Info collected from 400 municipal police dept o Canada uses Uniform Crime Reporting [UCR] system Drawbacks of Relying on Official Crime Statistics Much crime is not reported to the police Victimless crimes: violations of the law in which no victim is identified or steps forward o Ex) illegal gambling, illegal drugs, prostitution communicating Authorities & wider public decide which criminal act to report & which to ignore Changes in legislation influence # of recorded offenses Sometimes the assailant is a friend/relative of the victim afraid to report it Self-report surveys: respondents are asked to report their involvement in criminal activities, either as perpetrators or victims o Self-reporting surveys report approx same # as official statistics but find 2-3X the rate of less serious crimes Indirect measures are also used
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