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CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

Cultural Criminology Part 1 Lecture Overview 1. Brief recap 2. What is cultural criminology? 3. What is subcultural criminology? 4. Examples of subcultural criminology 5. Limitations Brief Recap Culture—cultural criminology Society Environment Individual Sociological theories • Functionalist approach • Conflict theory Cultural criminology is concerned with the production and exchange of meanings between different members of a society or a social group  Criminology no longer insulated from academic trends (e.g. postmodern theory)  Cultural criminology as critical theory What is cultural criminology?  Recent development –still in a phase of development so there are new directions.  Two sub-branches:  Subcultural criminology—entails arejection of positivist and administravie criminology. Focuses on real life subcultural participants asd how they use media images to form their own subculrutal lifestyle and group identity  Criminological aesthetics—does not entail this rejection of mainstream crim. Examines repreentations of crime and crminalty in the media and not how those media images are used.  BOTH examine an Intersection of crime, media and culture—Hayward and young note theres a general attempt to make sense ofa world in which the screen scripts the screen and the script screens the street—when we look at peple on the street those lifestyles make it onto our small and big screens. And those people watch our screens to figure out how they should form their lifesdtyles and identities.  It entails ‘the placing of crime and its control in the context of culture’ (Hayward and Young, 1) –crime and control are cultural products and are social and cultural constructions. And as constructions they need to be understood in terms of the meanings they carry. Theoretical Roots and Antecedents of Subcultural Criminology 1. Cultural deviance theory— approach that examines show members of a criminal subcultural develop shared motives, attitudes, and rationalizations for their subcultural behaviour. Example of a social structure theory: youths growing up in a lower class environment would develop a set of shared norms that were contrary to the norms of middle class society. 2. Labelling theory: Becker and Cohen— becker—crminilogist should consider how moral entrepreusrs make the rules and deviant labels that end up being differently imposed on different groups. Cohen— moral panic describes a disproportionate societal reaction to particular folk devils and this reaction is created and informed by media coverage and it serves to label certain groups as folk devils. How media images are used as a symbolic interaction in which deviant identity is communicate to other members of that subculture as well as to the general public. 3. Postmodern sensibility: semiotics—there is no linear causal sequence that affects how the media might affect the lifestyle choices of subcultural members. Interested in how meaning is generated( semiotics) and this is important to study bc the meaning of crime and criminality is always contested—there is no agreement on the meaning of crime and criminality between the media, politicians, criminals, and pop culture. And how the meaning of subculture is socially constructed. 4. Clifford Geertz’s conceptualization of culture  Culture as web of significance that gives our life and our behaviours meaning— this web is spun by humans of a particular society.  Ensemble of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves  narratives –culture is a story that we tell ourselves about ourselves. So we find meaning in stories and generate meaning through storytelling  Focus on deviant youth subcultures: lifestyle choices  E.g. The ‘chav’ –construction of a deviant youthful lifestyle in the U.K. a young person without a high level of education, often unemployed. They have also been as a gang and subculture associated with antisocial behaviour. How do you know they are chavs? Bc of their clothing and their lifestyle choices. They engage crime to relieve their boredom, not bc of instrumental reasons. The hoodie hides their identification particularly from surveillance cameras. To society, the chavs are menaces, and associated with lawlessness, and portrays them as folk devils. Examples of Subcultural Criminology  Manifesto form  Research that uses qualitative methods A.Subcultural Criminology as Manifesto • Stakes out terrain and specifies terms of engagement • Positions itself in contrast to administrative criminology Administrative criminology—branch Subcultural criminology in crim that sought to inform the management and control of crime and criminals through policy-oriented research. Sensitive to cj trends and trends in policies. Rationality (rational choice theory), Irrationality, interpretation, and positivism, and instrumental crime— expressive crime (emotions) rationality and positivism re-emerged in the 1980s’. people weighing the costs and benefits, and this explains instrumental crime. Quantitative methodology—in Qualitative methodology—taps into the discovering scientific facts. emotions of people –expressive crimes are crimes of passion that are designed to vent your emotions. Focus on community of victims and fear Focus on transgressive subject and —focus on fear of crime. seductive pleasure of committing crime —focus on pleasure of crime. Centre Margins— interested in studying members in society who are marginalizations bc of their transgressing or social inequalities. Also interested in the margins bc the see their own work as marginal within the overall body of criminological theory. View from on high—from a birds eye View from ground level—or from the view street view. Acknowledges that these
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