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CRIM 1650 Lecture Notes - George H. W. Bush, List Of Association Football Teams To Have Won Four Or More Trophies In One Season, Recreational Drug Use

Course Code
CRIM 1650
Gordon Anderson

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Morality and Crime
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
o need to understand the larger context that social construction
takes place
the legal

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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
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
withdrawal from social connection
societal harms
healthcare and treatment harm
lost economic costs
something else
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

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prevalence of recreational drug use and limits to
physical addiction
impurities creates overdose
Far more harm linked to legal drugs alcohol and
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
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
Historical Context of Criminalization: Social, Economic, and Political
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
Marijuana links to the Mexicans
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