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Morality and Crime.docx

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CRIM 1650
Gordon Anderson

Morality and Crime Objectives  exploring “crime on the Margins”  Examining the links between Morality and Crime  Criminalizing Drug Use: Objective Harm versus Social Construction Crime on the Margins  focus on the boundaries or margins between crime and deviance  examination of two related processes o amplification of deviance  process of which deviant aspect of a behaviour or activity are exaggerated or amplified with the result that this behaviour or activity is redefined as a crime  reclassifying a deviance as a crime o normalization of deviance  Process of which the deviant aspect are minimized and downplayed where the result of the activity is not defined as a crime  „objectivist‟ versus „constructionist‟ approaches to social problems. o objectivist:  The status as a behaviour of a social problem is based on objective characteristics as an objective harm  objective harms - effects/harms that we can measure. We are able to see the certain characteristics and quantify them o Constructionist  the status of behaviour as a social problem is a result of process of social construction. defined as problems based on perceived harm, not objective harm.  a moralistic harm – as a social group, when they don‟t like something in terms of the morals of the actions, a „harm‟ is created to deter the action.  links between the process of social construction and the wider social, political, and economic context in which this process takes place. o need to understand the larger context that social construction takes place  the legal Morality and Crime  morality as a foundation of criminal law o morality is used to justify a whole wide range of offenses  question of „Who’s Morality?’  who‟s got the right to impose sanctions and judge such behaviour.  Victimless crime and the ambiguity of harm o unclear of what the harms are and who the harm is impacting o absence of harm, other beliefs/choice become more visible  hypocrisy and societal double standards o prevalence of sexual commodification and strong demand for sexual services  big demand for prostitution  prostitution are not illegal in Canada, but other activities surrounding it are. o widespread consumption and legal status of alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs.  moral distinctions = social political, and economic distinctions  Criminalization of morality as a political accomplishment o politics disguised as morals  Case study: Criminalizing drug use and abuse Criminalizing Drug Use: Objective Harm  Claims o distinctions between legal and illegal forms of drug use are rooted in objectively defined harms  illegal cuz of harm and more harmful than legal drugs o These harms reflect the pharmacological properties of the drugs themselves and take one of two forms.  personal harms  addiction  withdrawal from social connection  societal harms  healthcare and treatment harm  lost economic costs  something else  reality o objective measures of harm fail to differentiate between legal and illegal drugs.  don‟t actually allow us to explain certain drugs being legal and others illegal  prevalence of recreational drug use and limits to physical addiction  impurities creates overdose  Far more harm linked to legal drugs – alcohol and tobacco o Ambiguity of the boundary between legal and illegal forms of drug use  Canada‟s drug strategy – eliminated of alcohol from part of its drug strategy  Harper wanted to remove alcohol  Now, the traditional illegal drugs are only on there  Police inspector in Vancouver claims alcohol is a problem  why is it not on the strategy? o if objective harm is inadequate for accounting for these differences, then what are some other factors should we pay attention to?  causes us to shift from objective POV to constructionalist POV Criminalizing Drug Use: Social Construction  Historically Novelty of Criminalization as a Response to Drug Use o there was a time where there is no legal and illegal line for drug use o 1880‟s illegal drugs were used normally and for medical relations  Historical Context of Criminalization: Social, Economic, and Political Anxieties o Why was there a sudden ban on drugs? o The state of the economy was unstable during the late 1800‟s to early 1900‟s o Suspicion and fears and hate towards specific racial groups  Chinese building railroads in NA and Opium smoking was brought along. o No real shift in understanding of harms in certain drugs, but brought by the matter of public and political perspectives of the drug  Opium Act – against the Chinese  Cocaine – against the Blacks after the abolition of slaves  Marijuana – links to the Mexicans  Characteristics of Users and Contexts of Use o where the drugs are being consumed are usually portrayed as dangerous  opium dens were where the Chinese men led white women to opium and prostitution  Prohibition – saloons, where alcohol is usually consumed, presumed to be anti-American  Claims-Makers o Danger claims about drugs were made by significant figures  Moral Entrepreneurs  Emily Murphy  a woman‟s rights suffragist, a judge  saw the problems of opium in her cases and made a connection between opium and prostitution  also made claims about cocaine and marijuana  Concern of interbreeding of whites and other races o impact on the white purity  Politicians  wanted to show their constituents that they care about the concerns and so they pass legislation  Physicians and the Medical establishment  wanted to ban certain drugs to destroy the competition and make money off of the legal drugs Documentary: “Hooked: Illegal drugs and how they became that way” a case study othmarijuana  19 century: US placed propaganda against marijuana o created educational films to show that marijuana is bad  As marijuana became banned, alcohol became America‟s drug of choice. o when the prohibition happened, marijuana was brought up  Jazz and Marijuana was both popular at bars  New Orleans saw that Marijuana was a link to crime  Minority races were used as a scapegoat to ban certain drugs.  Anslinger – started the propaganda against marijuana. o pressure from the south and southwest to try to get the Mexicans out of US o they used Marijuana to get Mexicans out o Claimed that Marijuana was a gateway drug to other drugs. o Used movies and shows to show the “dangers” of marijuana o Argued that Marijuana caused people to commit suicide, violence, and rape o Used the youth to show that Marijuana could corrupt them Lesson’s Learned  Processes of deviance amplification associated with drugs and prostitution reflect social, political, and economic interests and anxieties rather than objective harms o There is a disconnect in terms of the law and where it stands
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