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Lecture 2

CRIM 3657 Lecture 2: January 13

7 Pages

Course Code
CRIM 3657
Robert Teixeira

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-RN 832 [email protected] Image: -Jane Creba: 2005 shooting -Eatons Centre -”Summer of the Gun” -term devised by David Miller: described the increase in gun violence -what thoughts are provoked by this representation of crime in the media? -moral panic -provokes punitive measures and a law-and-order stance on crime Understanding Youth Crime: 3 points: -mainstream news reports sensationalize these crimes -we must develop a more useful understanding of youth crime: 1) The framing of a social problem: how the social problems defined have profound implications on how groups and institutions react to this problem..practices that affect the political landscape, such as voting, legislations, etc, is affected by how crime is framed 2) Not about the individual but about the social-relationship between youth, crime, and society: crime is about corrupt individuals, lacking character and possessing an innate becomes a complex social problem..the issue to address is the relationships between youth, crime, and society (structures, practices, and modes of understanding crime)..we must examine the practices and rationalities of governance 3) An approach based on social justice praxis: the idea of praxis extends back to social theorist, Karl Marx: philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways, but our focus is on changing it: knowledge doesn’t exist just for its own sake, but must be used to justice praxis: production of knowledge and research for critical engagement of social conditions: facilitates social justice -one way to facilitate better policies and practices: the kind of knowledge that is produced: how crime is interpreted and handled -addresses marginalization, oppression, and social inequalities -p. 5: praxis of possibilities -praxis: integration of theory and practice together, making it part of research processes and what is produced from research processes: a melding of practice and knowledge -how do these problems emerge socially and politically? One effect of social justice praxis: provides a wider lens of view on events -we must think against current social political conditions toward more open futures, where there is an expansion of possibilities for young people, social institutions, and governing practices, to create new ways of participating in it -we must ask questions about practices, our knowledge claims, and discourses -taking a critical approach entails interrogating power: ask questions about contemporary practices and knowledge claims What are Discourses?: -a body of statements that are organized in a regular and systematic way: places limits on what we can think and say about something -discourses are conjoined with power: power relations construct that limit to knowledge -it is a brand of social construction theory -the social world becomes meaningful through language -discourses are very socially consequential -ways of knowing are tied to relations of power -provides the framework for understanding and interpreting social phenomena -Michel Foucault: -discourse analysis involves a series of analytical steps: 1) How statements are created/become possible; their histories are traced 2) What can be said (written) and what cannot: ie. how specific statements became legitimate 3) Influenced by power; power makes certain ways of thinking and talking about something more available than others Meda Discourses: -misrepresents level of crime: pervasive stories and images of youth crime and the level of violence and threat are often misrepresented -individualizes crime: -decontextualizes crime: removes offending behaviour from its social context, in which the individuals are seen in a social vacuum; it pathologizes them: an intrinsic makeup -individualistic and punitive: more punitive measures in place, especially those related to the mental health system -blocks from view an understanding of systemic factors: racism ^-the cultural aspects to understanding offending behaviour are blocked -structural factors: poverty, lack of education, zero tolerance policies, pervasive over policing, carding, lack of jobs, and meaningful involvement in the community -image presented on the slide: discourse of “whiteness”: innocence -binary between innocence and offender -very simplistic overriding binaries which become mapped on to white and and non-white Popular Discourses (everyday talk): -sensationalizes crime: economic motive to sell papers: violence and sex remain topics that are popular -anecdotes prevail: “I heard that”: these discourses lend themselves and are based often in prejudicial notions of groups -unscientific observations: one portrayal of the story is provided -we interpret media and popular discourses through our own experiences: we do not merely observe the media, but interpret them through our own lens and experiences -this leads to moral panics: violence and sex are part of the panic-narrative approach -Stanley Cohen -elements of the moral panics: -a group is given exaggerated characteristics and power to affect our lives 1) Media discourse 2) Creates simplistic or binary notion of victim and offender: these views are racialized and gendered: reinforce existing inequalities 3) A group is given exaggerated characteristics 4) Power to affect our lives 5) Distorts events -moral panics taps into anxieties that are often indicative of other aspects: lack of employment opportunities, economic concerns, etc.: blame is displaced onto these groups -moral panics: powerful people into action, calls upon experts and authorities, such as the police and medical authorities, to solve the problem -moral panics often change the culture, create increased suppression, and target a marginalized group in society -what are some panic narratives? -contemporary theorists argue that moral panics are meant to describe periodic outbursts -treated as a crisis -panic narratives are always circulating: a way of governing late liberal democracies in crisis -when assessing the nature and extent of crime, we must discuss how these crimes are produced, constructed, and represented in the media -available empirical research do not describe youthful offender -YCJA: the proportion of youth charged by the police decreased -p.11-12: provides extensive details -Youth crime is often understood under a narrow rubric of offending behaviour: we must incorporate victimization: they don’t exist as separate entities -victims are often offenders and vice versa -when youth offending is analyzed, the focus is placed on lawbreakers, and when we place great emphasis on punishment, alternative understandings on acting on youth crime is overlooked: solutions that are targeted at a more local level within the communities that the youth live in -we can begin to discern what a social justice praxis might look like in terms of beginning to understand the events that are unfolded in our consciousness, and imagine the possibilities for understanding these events Theories: -critical criminology: approach concerned with history, the nature of inequalities, social relations, and social structures (the state, legal system, and capitalism) -critical criminology concerns with power dynamics and structure -the theories typical of these approaches are feminists, marxists, anti-racist, etc. -2 basic competing discourses of youth offending: 1) Youth as vulnerable: in need to protection: elastic category 2) Youth in need of intervention/punishment: seen as reformable, rehabilitated -accompanied by 19th century epistemology on progress -the need of reform: indicative of major concerns in the era and its historical contours of inequality -philanthropy: early philanthropists acted as privatized, moral reformers -institute a foundation to assist members of the public -lift t
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