Part IV: Deviance
Chapter 14: Emotion Contests and Reflexivity in the News: Examining Discourse on
Youth Crime in Canada
The author examines how two Canadian newspapers, the Alberta Report and the
Calgary Herald, address appropriate reactions to youth crime.
Thesis: Media play a significant role in generating moral panics regarding youth
crime, especially by promoting public fear that youth rime is increasingly serious
and spiraling out of control. Media react to moral panics in increasingly complex
Focus primarily on whether or not the rhetoric related to youth crime takes on
emotional or rational forms, as well as on the news awareness contexts that involve
reactions to emotions as a central aspect of the social problem.
Implications: Canadian news articles are polymorphous and reflexive. Media adopts
the rhetoric of moral panics but also adapt to it in novel ways. The media generates
emotions contests given the central aspect emotional reaction play w/in the moral
Chapter 15: Dirty Harry and the Station Queens: A Mertonian Analysis of Police
Anomie Theory: Merton theorizes that anomie and strain arise whenever unequal
social opportunities prevent some people from achieving the culturally defined
goals (such as money) by using legitimate means (such as a job). One way to
circumvent the gap b/w culturally approved ends and the culturally approved
means to achieve them is through innovation (e.g. theft, robbery, tax fraud,
embezzlement, and organized crime). This theory assumes that criminals hold the
same values and goals as everyone else.
Purpose: To apply Merton’s ‘anomie’ theory to the realm of policing, where the
cultural def’n of success and the opportunity structure are different.
Thesis: Authors argue that police deviance can be understood as a function of an
anomic social structure in which an exuberant cultural emphasis on police as noble,
masculine ‘crime fighters’ occupies a disproportionate relationship to the
availability and/or efficacy of institutionally accepted means. They argue that the
outcomes are forms of deviant behavior among officers that coincide closely with
Merton’s four classification- innovation, retreatism, rebellion and ritualism.
Machismo, Heroism, and the Thin Blue Line: - Policing is constructed as a non-stop adrenaline rush in which the lines b/w
goo and evil are relatively clear and where the cops always seem to get their
- Young officers internalize the cultural construction of police as crime fighters.
In Mertonian terms, the N.A. social system is promoting a value system that
equates successful policing with fighting crime.
Structural impediments to Crime Fighting:
The opportunity structure varies as a fxn of 3 overlapping phenomena:
1) the organizational capacity of police departments to respond effectively to
criminal activity as a fxn of their resource base.
2) The extent to which the legitimate means are supported by other criminal
a. When related to culture’s emphasis on fighting crime, the variable
extent to which other criminal justice inst’n are willing and/ or able to
maintain the integrity of due process contributes to the anomic
disconnect in question.
3) The willingness and/or capacity of communities to assist the state in the
greater project of order maintenance.
- unbridled cultural emphasis on police as crime fighters @ odds w/ legitimate
- E.g. witnesses failed to come forwards, pre-existing racial tensions and
decades of social disorganization anti-police areas.
- adoption of questionable means to achieve noble ends- unethical & malicious
tactics to fulfill objectives that were noble.
- Use of deceptive practices is common in police work, especially when officers
are seeking a confession.
- Officers plant narcotics, falsifies reports, and searching w/o a just cause
legitimize activity by emphasizing the noble cause that was alleged to have
been their objective.
Rebellion: institutionally means and culturally proscribed goals are cast aside.
- police brutality.
- accepts the institutionalize means but scale back the goals so as to render
them more readily achievable but rarely do they go the extra mile to meet
- E.g. policewoman (officer first/ female second) or a policewoman (female
first/ officer second). 2 type eschews the aggressive and violent behaviours attributed to male police work by scaling back the crime-fighting ideal, take
on feminine roles such as caretaking, softness and empathy. Even 1 type aret
ritualists- strictly observe formal regul’n and standardized procedures
amenable to crime fighting to avoid seen as soft on crime or as pushovers by
- Men identity closely with their work.
- ‘old timer’- occupational distance from the street becomes the subject of
- ‘station queens’- applied to crime prevention officers who no longer fight the
good fight, opting instead for the safety of a desk and the predictability of
- unable to live up to the culturally celebrated def’n of success, the retreatist finds
him- or herself in a reclusive world outside the bounds of conventional society.
- for police officers thwarted in their attempts to sustain crime fighter persona,
retreatism is reflected in substance abuse or in stress-related illness.
- study differs from Merton’s thesis as he did not conceptualize systemic
anomie in terms of how a narrow slice of the popl’n adapts to the limited
availability and/ or efficiacy of acceptable means.
Chapter 16: Legislative Approaches to Prost’n: A Critical Introduction
Purpose/ Puzzle: Critical eval’n of 4 most common legislative approaches to
prostitution to promote security, health and human rights of people working in the
sex industry (PWSI) and the communities in which they live and work. They provide
a framework for the analysis of sex work and sex industry.
Regul’n of Sex Work :
- 1) criminalization as an approach sex as immoral and should be prohibited
(in most of U.S. and South Africa) or tolerated (in Canada and England)
- U.S and South Africa: bans both buying & selling of sexual services.
- Canada: exchange of sexual services for money does not violate laws but
activities associated w/ the buying and selling of sexual services violate
several sections of the Code. E.g. keeping or being found in a common bawdy
house, providing directions to or transporting someone to a bawdy house,
procuring or living on the avails of prost’n, communication in a public place
for the purpose of prostitution and purchasing sexual services from underage
- 2) Swedish Model: in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
o Prost’n – social ill & a form of men’s violence against women. o Criminal law used to regulate clients, managers, & owners/ operators
but not PWSI.
o Legislation criminalizes the purchase of sexual services, procurement,
working indoors, working with others, advertising and profiting from
the sexual labor of others.
- 3) Legalization: in Nevada, U.S.A., Amsterdam, Netherlands, Germany &
- sex work as morally disgraceful but inevitable activity- some forms of sex
work are criminalized while others are licensed.
- License workers, compulsory medical check-ups for PWSI, registration, &
size limitations on bawdy-houses, maintenance of procuring and pimping
criminal laws, limitations on street prost’n.
- 4) Decriminalization: New Zealand, NSW, Australia.
o sex work seen as a private matter b/w consenting adults.
o Regulates PWSI & sex work activities w/o criminal law but recognizes
the labor rights & responsibilities
o Managers and business establishments are regulated using labor
standards legislation, occupational, health and safety codes and
- 1, 2, & 3 similarities in consequences for PWSI.
o Temporary reduction in street work, the displacement of women and
men into more hidden forms of sex work & the worsening of
conditions for street prostitutes.
o Law was selectively enforced on the highly visible spaces of street-
- Method 4: decriminalization above consequences are unlikely.
o New Zealand: regulated using provincial labor standards legislation,
occupational health and safety codes, and zoning regulations. Only the
most disruptive and abusive activities associated with some sex work-
coercion, kidnapping, physical assault, sexual assault, unlawful
confinement are regulated using criminal law.
Hence, reduces risks and dangers associated with the other
- The Debate
o Sex work as victimization (favours Swedish model) or sex work as
work (favours decriminalization)?
o Sex work as work- see 2 column of pg 83:
- Terminology: using ‘sex work’ decreases intense social stigma tht comes with
PWSI. Sex work is legitimate revenue-generating activity and that sex
workers deserve rights and protection.
- Legislative Approaches and Their Benefits: (Read it from the book)
- Concerns of PWSI: removing stigma, fostering respect, securing safe work
environments, good health and well-being, obtaining labor rights and
Conclusions: Decriminalizing model is beneficial to all stakeholders but still have issues: the
ongoing stigma and marginalization of PWSI and opportunities to develop social
programs to eliminate/ reduce it. To be effective, decriminalization must be
combined with a full array of social programs.
Chapter 17: Moral Panic and the Nasty Girl
Public believes that youth violence, parti