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Monash University
General Education Studies
Danielle Tyson

Theories of Crime and the Media W1 Anomie. Characterises certain groups who experience a conflict between culturally desired goals and legitimate ways of attaining them. Behaviourism. Concerned with the objective study of observable behaviour and represents an antithetical challenge to psychoanalysis. Crime. Violation of a law where sanction must be imposed. Criminalisation. Application of the label „criminal‟ to particular behaviours/groups. Critical criminology. Emphasises relationship between routine, everyday life and the surrounding social structures (Marxist inspired). Cultural criminology. Embraces post modernism‟s concerns with the collapse of meaning, immediacy of gratification, consumption, pleasure, etc. and emphasises the cultural construction of crime, crime control and role of image, style, reputation and performance among deviant subcultures. Effects research. Focuses on the impact/effects if media texts on audience attitudes/behaviours. Folk devils. Describes an individual/group defined as a threat to society, its values and interests, who become subjects of media- orchestrated moral panic. Hegemony. Refers to the ability of dominant classes to exercise social and cultural leadership and thus to maintain their power by a process of consent, not coercion. Hypodermic syringe Model of media effects (media seen as injecting ideas, model. values and info to receiver, producing direct and unmediated effects). Late modernity. Describes the condition/state of highly developed present day societies, which denotes their state as a continuation/development of what went before (modernity), rather than new state (post-modernity). Left realism. Radical criminology perspective that views crime as a natural and inevitable outcome of class inequalities and patriarchy. Marxism. Proposes that the media (and all other capitalist institutions) are owned by ruling bourgeois elite and operate in their interests. Moral panic. Hostile and disproportional social reaction to a condition, episode, person or group defined as a threat. Mediated. Connect through some other person or thing. Paradigm. Shared set of ideas; dominant pattern of thinking at any given time. Pluralism. Idea that all opinions and interests should be equally represented and available. Political economy. Sociological tradition that analyses society and social phenomena (incl. media) in terms of the interplay between politics, economics and ideology). Positivism. Argues social relations can be studied scientifically and measured using methods derived from the natural sciences. Postmodernism. Embraces a rejection of claims to truth proposed by the ‟grand theories‟ of the past and challenges us to accept that we live in a world of contradiction and inconsistencies which are amenable to objective models of thought. Psychoanalysis. Study of people‟s unconscious motivations for their actions. Reception Sophisticated view of the receivers of media texts. analysis/audience Concerned with what audiences do with the media, research. Stereotyping. Process of reducing individuals/groups to oversimplified or generalised characterisations resulting in crude and usually negative categorisations. Media as moral crusaders  The media play a part in constructing crime problems.  After this embark on a moral crusade against identified folk devils.  Desired outcome is to sway public opinion and for authorities to launch a moral crackdown on deviants.  Media‟s treatment of victims is highly selective.  Often focused on individual innocent victims (e.g. children).  Often involves salacious and/or graphic imagery.  E.g. they show more interest if a beautiful woman is killed than if an ugly one is. Impact of the Internet particularly on young people and children  Link is often made between increase in technology use and increased exposure to online „risks‟ of harm (e.g. from cyber-bullying to online grooming, to hacking, to sexting).  Response has been a flood of education and government campaigns alerting young people to the risk of online harm and legal and social consequences. Theories of crime and media  Media „effects‟ research: o Idea of media as criminogenic. o Hypodermic syringe model – relationship between media and audiences is a mechanistic and unsophisticated process by which the media inject values, ideas and info directly into the passive receiver, producing direct and unmediated effects, which in turn have a negative influence on thoughts and actions. o Debates concerning the extent to which media can be said to cause anti- social, deviant/criminal behaviour. o To what degree do media images bring about negative effects in their viewers. o Developed from „mass society theory‟ and Behaviourism/Positivism. o Pessimistic view that nature is susceptible to external influences. o Assumes a direct, causal link between media images and criminal and/or deviant behaviour. o Mass society theory:  Refers to the masses or the common people who are characterised by their lack of individuality, alienation from the moral and ethical values to be gained from work and religion, their political apathy and their taste for low culture.  Individuals seen as uneducated, ignorant, potentially unruly and prone to violence.  As communities fragmented and traditional social ties were dismantled, society became a mass of isolated individuals cut adrift from kinship and organic ties and lacking moral cohesion.  Increase in crime and anti-social behaviour seemed inevitable, and as mass society took hold, citizens turned away from the authorities who were seen as remote, indifferent and incompetent and sought solutions to crime at a personal, community-oriented level.  Media seen as aid to people‟s well-being under difficult circumstances and as a powerful force for controlling people‟s thoughts and diverting them from political action. o Criticisms:  Failure to address the subtleties of media meanings, that media texts are open to multiple interpretations.  The unique characteristics and identity of audiences and the social context in which the encounter between media text and audience member occurs.  Mistakenly assumes that we all have the same idea about what constitutes aggression, violence and deviance, and that those who are susceptible to harmful portrayals can be affected by a one off media incident, regardless of the wider context.  Ignores the possibility that influence travels the opposite way – that characteristics, interests and concerns of audience may determine what media produces.  Behaviourism/Positivism: o Individual‟s identity shaped by their responses to the external environment, which formed stable and recognisable patterns of behaviour that could be publicly observed. o Believed that problems such as crime and deviance could be examined and treated e.g. born criminal (Lombroso), Bandura.  Media as purveyors of moral panics (Cohen): o Uses the notion of deviancy amplification to explain how the petty delinquencies of rival mods and rockers at seaside resorts were blown up into serious threats to law and order. o Identified a number of states in the social reaction, divided the media inventory of initial skirmishes into 3 phases: Exaggeration, prediction and symbolisation. o Also coined the term „folk devil‟ to refer to the ways in which the media stereotypes certain groups around whom moral panic if often constructed. o Sought to situate the moral panic over mods and rockers in a social context – the hostile reaction revealed much about post war social change/anxieties of the new affluence and sexual freedom of teenage youth cultures in the 1960s.  Marxism and dominant ideology approach: o Information flows from the top down. o A hierarchy of credibility is established in which the opinions and definitions of the powerful members of society are privileged, while the ordinary viewer/reader is prevented from engaging in critical or comparative debate.  Competitive/Pluralist approaches: o More positive idea of how the media operates in a relatively unregulated and deprivatised open marketplace. o Emphasises ideological struggle rather than ideological control of the masses. o Argues that media simply reflects a window on the world because it portrays life as it is through news, soaps and documentaries. o Criticisms: Often seen as naïve because it ignores the ways in which television programmes are carefully constructed to appeal to an audience.  Feminist approaches. o Argues that essentialist assumptions about women (based on stereotypical notions of women as mothers and as exclusively nurturing) condemned them to differential treatment within law. o Women who commit serious offences are judged to have transgressed into two sets of laws: criminal laws and the laws of nature (doubly deviant and doubly damned). o The news draws on traditional notions of appropriate gender roles in the representation of violence against women.  Cultural/postmodern approaches: o Less concerned with the question of „effects‟. o Emphasises centrality of meaning, representation and power in the contested construction of crime. o Whether „crime is constructed as videotaped entertainment or political protest, as ephemeral event or subcultural subversion, as social danger or state-sanctioned violence‟ (Ferrell). o Concerned with media representations of crime as spectacle and form of entertainment. o Example of a postmodern media „performance‟ concerns the media coverage of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2011. The Construction of Crime News W2 Agenda setting. The way in which those who work within the media decide what is important enough to report. Audience. The assumed group at whom media texts are aimed. Binary oppositions. Notion that the media presents the world through polarised constructions of difference which are fixed and immutable e.g. man/woman. Citizen journalism. Form of demographic participation brought about by mass ownership of phones with cameras, image sharing sites and popularity of blogs. Ethnocentrism. When a country‟s news organisations value their own notion over others. Framing. The shared cultural narratives and myths that a news story conveys via recourse to vital imagery, stereotyping and other journalistic shortcuts. Ideology. Refers to the ideas that circulate in society and how they represent/misrepresent the social world. Moral majority. Encapsulates the imagined community to which the popular press address themselves. Newsworthiness. Encapsulates the perceived public appeal/interest of any potential news story (determined by news values). News values (12). Professional, yet informal codes used in the selection, construction and presentation of news stories. Populism/populist punitiveness. Perception that the public demands more punitive justice and punishment strategies to deter would-be offenders from committing crime. Public appeal. Measured in sales figures and ratings. Public interest. Qualitative assessments of what public should/shouldn‟t be made aware of. Social constructionism. Emphasises importance of social expectations in the analysis of taken-for- granted and apparently natural social processes. Avoids the conventional binary opposition of representation/reality by suggesting that there is no intrinsic meaning in things, but that meaning is conferred according to shared cultural references and experiences. Early crime  Treason, murder and witchcraft were the most popular storylines historically.  By late 1800s we see the emergence of the aggressive marketing of crime news to the public that we are familiar with today. o Crime-related street literature - sermons, speeches, etc. for news of crime and justice. o Newspapers came to be produced by organisations with profits. o People either wanted to profit from crime or didn‟t.  An examination of the process by which news is created is revealing for understanding the content of crime news.  Two models dominate explanations for the process of news creation: o Market model – objectively reporting news. o Manipulative model – distorting news issues to shape public opinion.  Organisational model – idea of rendering an objective, unbiased mirror image of reality is impossible. o Incorporates the other two. o What the public receive as news is capsulised, stylised and commodified info. Key themes in existing research on media organisations  Crime news is „manufactured‟ along ideological lines: o Media focus on the most serious stories of crime. o Crimes that happen everyday are least likely to be included on the news.  The demands and constraints of news production intertwine with the perceived interests of the target audience to produce a set of organisational „news values‟. o Highly selective and largely unrepresentative of the crimes that happen everyday. o Judgements journos make everyday when deciding what to include in the news. o Violence in the media is constructed as random, wanton and intentional act of evil others. o The victims in the papers are not the victims experiencing crime in the everyday.  There are 12 key news values that are prominent in the construction of crime news.  The construction or manufacture of crime news is significant because it can set the agenda for policy and public opinion. o Implication coming from previous. o Influences public opinion, shape who we think are most likely to be victim and criminal, shape our responses and what we should do about them.  New technologies are changing the ways in which news is produced and consumed. o Journos and academics are more likely to use media forums. o Offer opportunities for creative acts of journalism for those who aren‟t journos. Why critically analysing media representations of crime is important  Has implications for representations of which crime victims can be „ideal‟. o If victim is more/less than ideal, it‟s more likely to be reported.  There exists a hierarchy of victimisation. o Not an equal playing field – children, elderly and women more likely to be reported than men.  Elderly women and young children more likely to be deemed „ideal victims‟ than are young men, the homeless, and others existing on the margins of society.  Cases where a greater deviation from cultural norms is present increase newsworthiness (e.g. gang involvement; a crime occurring at a business; the slaying of a pregnant victim; sex crimes by “paedophiles”).  Middle class notions of respectability (e.g. class) and gender can also be defining factors, as can „race‟. Newsworthiness and news values  Newsworthiness – events are not naturally newsworthy in themselves, they have to satisfy a criteria.  Concept of news values was brought to academic attention in 1965 through a study of Norwegian newspapers – they identified a system by which news items were selected and prioritised for publication.  News values are culturally specific e.g. Australian ones different to UK ones.  Particular historical events can help shape and influence the selection of events.  Newsworthiness can be intensified considerably when focused through the lenses of celebrity, childhood, sex and race, among others.  Signal crimes - term coined by Martin Innes which refers to those particularly serious or high profile crimes which impact not only on the immediate participants (victims, offenders, witnesses), but also on wider society; resulting in some reconfiguration of behaviours or beliefs. o E.g. Ozlo bombing is a signal of crime because its going to be etched in our memory and when another event happens it'll be revisited – society changed, innocence lost, etc.  Mass media is inclined to deal with binary opposites. o This is pruning down and reduction of events to black and white, good and bad – a binary opposition – has implications for the reader/viewer. o All these processes of simplification add up to a mediated vision of crime in which shades of grey are absent and a complex reality is substituted for a simple, incontestable and preferably bite-sized message for the audience (us). o Way of simplification. o Have effects. o You can‟t see that person in both ways e.g. parent or pedophile. o Shades of grey and complexities disappear. o Make it really easy to say they‟re bad or they‟re a victim. 12 news structures and news values that shape crime news  Threshold (importance). o Has to be massive e.g. bombing, mass killings, etc. o Media usually first use shock horror headlines - occasion for all sorts of narratives to explain what happened. o The more bizarre the more likely it will be reported. o Humorous, nostalgic, grotesque more likely to be reported.  Predictability (expectedness). o An event that is rare, extraordinary or unexpected it will be considered newsworthy o Equally, a story that is predictable may be deemed newsworthy because can plan their coverage & resources o Having already set the news agenda, media agencies will rarely do an about turn and reframe an issue according to a different set of principles.  Simplification (eliminating shades of grey). o Must be reducible to a min number of parts and themes. Headlines have to be short sentences, simple grammatical structure and often titillating (headline doesn‟t‟t give you details).  Individualism and personalisation (individual focus or causality). o Both are aspects of the process of news simplification; o Personalisation – that stories about people are favoured over those concerning abstract concepts or institutions. o Result is that events are frequently simplistically viewed as the actions and reactions of individuals. o Individualism - definitions of crime which highlight individual responses to crime are preferred over complex processes, cultural and political explanations. o Most criminals are described as being „impulsive, a longer, maladjusted, irrational, animal-like, aggressive and violent‟. o Emphasises their lack of normative social ties.  Risk (lasting danger). o Predisposition in newspaper to report crimes if the victim and offender are strangers. o Vast majority of serious offences, including murder, rape and sexual assault, are committed by people known to the victim; o Yet, media persist in presenting a picture of crime as random, meaningless, unpredictable and ready to strike anyone at any one time. o Children and young people are vulnerable to risk from „paedophiles‟ and the Internet. o Consequence – presents picture of crime that is meaningless, random and unpredictable which contributes to a heightened fear of crime because we think it‟s the kind we‟re more likely to experience.  Sex. o Connected to risk; o Media over-report crimes involving sex & violence; o Moreover, such stories are highly sexualised, even pornographic, in their representations of women as victims; o Such stories tend to draw on narratives about masculine violence as a „normal‟ or a „natural force‟ and where all women are vulnerable, potential victims in need of protection.  Celebrity or high status persons.  Proximity (spatial/cultural relevance). o Spatial – geographical nearness of event. o Cultural - Relevance of story to audience.  Violence.  Spectacle or graphic imagery.  Children and young people.  Conservative ideology and political diversion (deterrence/distraction from wider problems). o Focus is on violence of protesters rather than why they are protesting. o Deterrence. o Distraction from wider problems. o Perpetuates sense of divided hostile population under threat. o Usually around certain events. o Using recognisable frames of events e.g. crime rates on the rise, Melbourne among top 4 countries. o Usually no supportive stats. o When media tend to report on protesters – focus tends to be on violence of protesters not really what its actually about. Only interested in violence. o Discussion about what police are doing (focus), perpetuates a part. view. o All about the image of the police, distracts from wider issues, shows proactiveness of police. Police media units and the making of news  A „symbiotic‟ relationship exists between some police and media representatives, a relationship that is not conducive to high quality, critical, investigative journalism on issues of criminal justice or policing. Rather, there is an unnecessary and improper reliance upon „unnamed police sources‟ and an unwillingness to seek out „independent‟, „alternative‟ viewpoints. What has been the impact of the global media landscape on news values and media reporting?  The emergence of mobile digital forms of communication and the proliferation of user generated Internet sites permit various forms of citizen journalism.  For example, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all present particular and in some cases new challenges for the courts.  Digital communication technologies have added a new dimension to the manufacture of news. Moral Panics W3 Consensus. The achievement of social unity through shared agreement. Demonisation. The act of labelling individuals/groups whose norms, attitudes/behaviours are seen to constitute „evilness‟. Traditionally characterised as folk devils and subjects of moral panics. Deviance. Social and usually moral (as opposed to legal), concept to describe rule-breaking behaviour. Deviancy amplification The moral discourse established by journos and various spiral. other authorities, opinion leaders and moral entrepreneurs who collectively demonise a perceived wrong-doer/group as a source of moral decline and social disintegration, setting off a chain of public, political and police reaction. Folk devils. Individual/group defined as a threat to society, it‟s values and interests. Labelling. Sociological approach to crime and deviancy that refers to the social processes by which certain groups classify and categorise others. Moral panic. Hostile and disproportional social reaction to a condition, episode, person or group defined as a threat. Risk. Concept that emerged to dominate discussions of late modernity. Risk society. Denotes the social shift for the pre-industrial tendency to view negative events as random acts of god/nature, to the post-industrial preoccupation with manmade changes and harm. Signal crime. Incidents/offences that, when seen/experienced, may trigger a change in public beliefs/behaviour. Social reaction. Social process characterising responses to crime and deviance encompassing public, political, CJ and media relations, often used to signify the processes of labelling, stereotyping and stigmatising. Stigmatising. Process by which an individual/group is discredited because of some aspect of their appearance/behaviour. Subculture. Groups of young people whose appearance, norms and behaviour differ from those of the mainstream or parent culture. Youth. Imprecise period between infant and adulthood. In media reporting they‟re more frequently linked to offending than victimisation. Moral panics “A moral panic may be defined as an episode, often triggered by alarming media stories and reinforced by reactive laws and public policy, of exaggerated or misdirected public concern, anxiety, fear, or anger over a perceived threat to social order.”  Varied in intensity, duration and social impact.  Media‟s role in the creation of moral panics.  The reactions of „society‟s guardians‟ (e.g. media) to an immediate problem. o Reaction was largely disproportionate to the alleged threat posed. o Exaggerated and gave rise to anxiety in the public.  Crimes that are being reported are largely disproportionate – kind of reporting that amplifies a problem and demands an immediate response. The moral panic model  Defining features of moral panics: o Moral panics occur when the mass media take a reasonably ordinary event and present it as an extraordinary occurrence. o The media set in motion a deviancy amplification spiral in which a moral discourse is established. o Moral panics clarify the moral boundaries of the society in which they occur, creating consensus and concern. o Moral panics occur during periods of rapid social change, and can be said to locate and crystallise wider social anxieties about risk. o It is usually young people that are targeted, as they are a metaphor for the future and their behaviour is regarded as a barometer with which to test the health/sickness of a society. How the mass media turn the ordinary into the extraordinary  Like any other newsworthy event, the media construct moral panics according to their criteria of „news values‟. o Exaggeration and distortion are key elements in the meeting of the required threshold to turn a potential news events into an actual story.  Moral panics also frequently involve predictability – media prognoses that what has happened will inevitably happen again.  Simplification occurs through a process of symbolisation whereby names can be made to simplify complex ideas and emotions. o A word becomes symbolic of a status (deviant) and objects come to signify that status and the negative emotions attached to it. Deviancy amplification spiral  A group of people engage in a deviant act, which may be defined as „criminal‟ by crime control agencies.  Media picks up the story and reports it selectively according to journalistic news values.  As the story catches readers‟ interest, media compete to produce the most attention-grabbing story. o Exaggeration, distortion and stereotyping may be introduced as thresholds to keep the story alive.  Responses are forthcoming from a range of sources. o Public – call for protection and crackdown on the deviants.  Levels of fear and intolerance are raised as a result of selective and overblown reporting. o Politicians – may seek to gain political mileage by jumping on the bandwagon and voicing concerns that echo public fears. o Police – respond to public and political demands in their enforcement of law and order e.g. through zero tolerance.  A process of deviancy amplification is now in place. Cohen  Developed the concept of moral panic based on his study of the Mods and Rockers in the 60s.  Noted how the media used „symbolic shorthands‟ such as hairstyles, items of clothing, modes of transport, etc. as icons of troublemakers.  One wet weekend at Easter in England, a minor affray became front page news.  Media stereotyped these groups into folk devils and constructed a moral panic about young people generally.  Looked at media coverage and interested about how the media was concerned between the difference between the two – saw it as threatening social norms and violence.  They‟re behaviour was seen as threatening and in turn leads to a hostile response.  Exaggerated focus/attention – groups were stereotyped – evidence in the media e.g. it was a battlefield (when things are represented this way we perceive it to be the case.  Level of threats are disproportionate compared to the media says on behalf of authorities.  Groups who have been labeled take it on and respond in ways that amplify the allegedly deviant behaviour. This then gets used in the media as evidence.  Authorities respond - ban scooters, policing, run certain groups out of time and the media film it all and present it as the battle between police and Mods and Rockers which is really just a law and order process.  Interested in media‟s amplification of deviancy and the subsequent response to it by the public and how the sheer ordinariness and mundaneness of an event can led to a moral panic.  Argued – public‟s response to these kinds of things seen to be threatening/different to normal morals.  People become „moral guardians‟ and decide whether things are moral and what we should do. Hall  Study of the public reaction to the phenomenon of mugging in the 70s.  Crime statistics are manipulated for political purposes.  A moral panic was ignited to create public support for the need to „police the crisis‟.  Theorised that the media reporting of a series of street robberies in London performed an ideological function.  Rising crime rates are defined as a problem. o Solution – stop and search; drugs raids; harassment; arrests etc. Examples of offences that have been reported as a moral panic  Vandalism.  Male under-achievement in education.  Millennium bugs.  Reporting on youth and ecstasy and the death of Anna Wood (1995) – one of the most intense moral panics in contemporary Australian history. Criticisms of the concept  The term „panic‟ – connotes irrationality/no control. o Rapid rise of concern and metaphor for response.  Disproportionality – assumption that there‟s a proportion between level of threat posed and level of panic. o Implies that the reaction to the behaviour is unfounded/irrational and that we shouldn‟t worry about it. o Can‟t really measure public response or the level of threat (it‟s implied).  Not all folk devils are vulnerable or unfairly maligned. o There are some groups/behaviours in society that are threatening and of concern.  The term „morality‟ – accepted in literature and no distinction between the kinds of behaviours that are being talked about.  Outmoded concept – number of decades since its original introduction. o Not easy to analyse the relationship between media and crime. o Dissemination of news is much more complex now.  New media has empowered folk devils – you can generate and comment on media content, making it more dynamic. o More voices at play. o More complex. o Presumes a passive public. o Audience is much more dynamic than that. The Media & Fear of Crime W4 Critical criminology. Emphasises the relationship between routine, everyday life, and the surrounding social structures. Fear of crime. State of anxiety/alarm brought about by the feeling that one is at risk of criminal victimisation. Left realism. Radical criminological perspective that views crime as a natural and inevitable outcome of class inequalities and patriarchy and which proposes to take both crime and fear of crime seriously. Legitimacy. Process by which a group/institution achieves and maintains public support for its actions. Policing. Diverse array of tasks, skills and procedures involving monitoring, regulation, protection and enforcement. Victimisation. Experience of being a victim of crime. Penal populism. Notion that, with declining faith in the formal structures and procedures of the CJ establishment and growing alarm that crime is out of control, the public support more punitive and retributive crime control and sentencing policies. Crime on the rise?  Large majority of the public have inaccurate views about the occurrence of crime and the severity of sentencing. o Media presents crime stories in ways which selectively mutilate and distort public perceptions – creates a false picture of crime.  Majority of Australians believe crime is on the rise when it isn‟t. o Less than 10% of all crimes are violent but 19/20 say it is higher than this. o Begs the question, why is there such a gap between public perception and official statistics.  People who rely on the entertainment media have less accurate perceptions of crime than people who use others. o Suggests the media are guilty of manipulating the picture of crime (not just statistics, public fears of crime).  Interpersonal crime are consistently overreported – because particularly violent and sexual events are consistently over represented in relation to official statistics.  Police reinforce what journos write and journos write what police show them.  Not only news media that distorts, popular culture exercises a significant influence on our view of crime. o Contains a large amount of info and images pertaining to fear, and some audience and readers who digest them perceive social life as being dangerous.  They over represent the most serious crimes.  The nature of this relationship between media and fear of crime is unresolved. The mass media and the production of fear  Mass media and popular culture exercise significant influence on social life.  Whether or not we can resolve the question whether TV and newspaper reports about crime and fear are a “cause” or “effect” of public concerns about crime and fear, two things are clear: o Pop culture includes a relatively large amount of info and images pertaining to fear, including crime and violence. o Audience members perceive social life as very dangerous. o But the relationship between the two is unresolved and is the subject of much discussion and debate in crime and the media scholarship. Different perspectives on fear of crime  Within criminology, discussions of public fears of crime tend to be polarised along theoretical lines:  Critical criminological – Marxist (Cohen, Hall): o Emphasise media‟s role in agenda setting. o While the mass media is not a singular force for promoting dominant conservative ideologies; rather, these are the product of intense conflict between various agents involved. o The result – particularly in tabloid media and broadcast radio, is the simplification of the problem and an emphasis on law enforcement solutions. o The media‟s manipulation of fear of crime results in “penal populism” or “popular punitivism”. o Conclude that fear of crime is irrational and unreasonable. o Holds that what the public perceive are influenced by the people in power. o Concerned about how the powerless are over policed – overconcentration of crimes that focus on the young, non-Anglo, working class, unemployed, etc. – lack of focus of crime involving, white, educated and upper class. o See it as a product of intense conflict – argue that the result of this there‟s an oversimplification and overemphasis on law and order policies. Tell public they‟re scared and then say they‟re going to take a law and order approach to make it better. o By highlighting the crime problems, they effectively establish a springforce use of media savvy titles e.g. tough on crime, are a call for an increase in sentencing, making sure penalties are longer, zero tolerance, more CCTV, etc. o Manipulation of these crime problems leads people to feel fearful and generates support from public for punitive solutions. Politicians use this is win votes. o Powerful groups manipulating fear to gain interest.  Left realist: o Hotly dispute this proposition (e.g. that fear of crime is irrational and unreasonable). o Argue that there is a rational core to images of crime and the concerns they generate. o Not just the media who are to blame – perceptions of crime are largely constructed out of the material experiences of people. o Are reinforced by what people already know and actual risk of victimisation, previous experience of victimisations, environmental conditions, ethnicity and confidence in the CJS. o There is a rational core to images of crime and concerns they generate – more balanced.  Feminist: o Fear is hard to analyse – has to be understood as a complex psychological process. o Has an impact in direct and indirect ways. o Difficult to generalise fear of crime effects. o Feminist approaches tend to come out of a critique of left realist approaches because it used to make a distinction between fear of crime in public and in private and focused mostly on public because we‟re allegedly more concerned about it. o Excluded a consideration of crimes that happened in the everyday. o Rregard fear of crime and its approaches are utterly meaningless because promote understand of fear that is derived from fear in public space. o Women in particular fear being attacked by a stranger in the publics but more in fear being attacked by someone they know in private. o Betsy Stanko: an early critic of the masculine lens of national crime surveys.  Pointed to the gendered paradox of fear – women report high rates of fear despite low risk of victimisation.  Reject idea that „fear‟ is associated with either public or private domain.  Challenged the idea that women‟s fears are „irrational‟.  Women‟s fear of rape has had the greatest impact on shaping women‟s behaviour.  Real vs. illegitimate victim; good vs. bad girls. Public opinion  Gained from public opinion polls/in-depth research.  Findings from surveys about sentencing reform tend to reveal: o Most people underestimate severity of sentencing and believe judges are too lenient. o Generally believe that crime rates are rising. o Overestimate number of crimes involving violence.  Most surveys are actually skewed towards a particular response. o Elicit a narrow range of responses (what they want) – most people overestimate.  A constructed thing and something to be weary about – presumed consensus. Indermaur  Alongside problem of amplification, is rise of populism in politics.  Key feature of populist strategy – to promote as unproblematic the concept of public opinion.  We have entered an era of voodoo politics.  In this environment, crime policy is not pursued with the aim of making society fairer or safer but primarily for the cheers of the in-house audience. An analysis of media coverage of the introduction of PSO’s  Driven by public opinion, namely fear of crime, populism and law and order politics.  Media played a key role in eliciting public opinion.  Became a key issue even though violent crimes on train stations had dropped and they were safer.  Politicians then put PSOs in order to combat the perceived crime problem.  Pperceptions of safety was important – reporters tended to conclude that cause people didn‟t‟t feel safe, it was dangerous.  Lack of discussion. Fear of crime images and narratives  Fear of crime must be seen as „emerging from and constantly reactive to direct personal experiences, knowledge about others‟ experiences and mediated sources of information, and also fitting into broader narratives concerning anxieties about the way society is today‟. The police and the media  Dramatic portrayals of police work perform an important symbolic function.  Helps perpetuate a mythology of policing.  Helps produce a sense of public legitimacy for the institution of policing. Key points  The media are not solely to blame for fear of crime – actual risk of victimization, previous experience of victimization, environmental conditions, ethnicity and previous contact with police and criminal justice system are among the many factors.  BUT: media play an important role in distorting/cultivating fear & exaggerate risk of victimisation.  As a consequence women (and the elderly) are socialized into fear and become over-sensitized to the need to “avoid” or risk becoming a victim.  Both factual and fictional representations of crime focus on the most atypical crimes and stock plots/narratives that construct victims & offenders in particular ways. Cultural Criminology W5 Recap: the theoretical contexts guiding research on crime and the media  Media „effects‟ – posits a causal relationship between media and crime.  Critical criminology – pessimistic view of relationship between crime and media. o Posits idea that media is an institution that represents the interests of the dominant groups in society. o Conservative ideological framework is imposed on lower class. o Derived through Marxism.  Left realists – criticise the Marxist inspired approaches. o Saw them as romanticising the views/ways in which the working class is seen as kicking against power/institutions.  Reception analysis – idea that audiences are passive recipients. o Contest that and say that they‟re more dynamic than that.  Cultural criminology – about what people do with the media. o Develops in response to post modernity.  Defining features of behaviourism and positivism: o Behaviourism – human is a direct product of their environment. o Positivism – idea that it‟s possible to measure objective reality and then understand it through the method of science (criminals can be spotted physically).  Defining features of Marxism: o Not about measuring crimes on people‟s body, but looking at the relationship between the power and powerless.  Defining features of postmodernism: o Crime has become a form of entertainment, society has become obsessed. o Consumers need immediate gratification and everything has to be in the moment. o Society becomes less concerned with the relationship between groups and says there‟s a collapse of meaning.  More about constructing meaning – no fixed identity – ongoing, dynamic process.  Most interested in things that are more ambiguous and social change. Cultural criminology  An approach that embraces postmodernism‟s concerns with the collapse of meaning, immediacy of gratification, consumption, pleasure and so on, and emphasises the cultural construction of crime and crime control, and the role of image, style, representation and performance among deviant subcultures. o Supports the early Marxist-influenced, critical criminological view that criminal acts are acts of resistance to authority. o Emphasises the externalisation of excitement and ecstasy involved in resistance. o Crime is not about acquisition, materialism or economic need, but presence, status and sneaky thrill. o Crime is a participatory performance. o Celebrates postmodern notions of difference, discontinuity and diversity, and breaks down restrictive and negative stereotypes. o Recognise that postmodern media (e.g. BB, American Idol) merge fun and hate, cruelty and playfulness, celebrity and nobody, inclusive and exploitative and accessible and extremist. Postmodern accounts of crime and the media  We are living in a „society of the spectacle‟. o Media and other cultural institutions have blurred.  A „hyperreality‟ in which media has blurred any distinction between image and reality. o Can‟t work out what is actually true because everything is mediated. o Encounters with crime is what we see and read. o Becomes less important to figure out what is fact/fiction and instead see that in order to understand crime we need to look at responses to it.  Example of a postmodern media output or „performance‟ – 9/11. Why study the relationship between crime and culture  For decades, cultural representations have been studied in other disciplines (e.g. social theory, feminist studies).  Media representations of crime constitute the mainstay of cultural consumption.  Yet it is a relatively new field within criminology. Cultural images of crime are enduringly popular because  They offer “a set of stories which address certain social anxieties in its audience” and are able “to render the messy and troubling complexities of law enforcement pleasurable by assigning them to the ancient simplicities of crime and punishment”. o We are a society that experience crime terror. o Have numerous legislatural responses, policing, etc. to handle situations like 9/11. o We generate images ourselves. o Narratives that get generated address these anxieties. o Way of justifying a particular CJ response and convincing others it is appropriate. Cultural criminology – a focus on cultural dynamics, meaning and power  Draws on subcultural theory & symbolic interactionist tradition in Criminology – 1960s. o Interested in how subcultures engage with the media. o Cultural = CJ agents + subculture groups.  Focus is on meaning & transgression.  Is about power - reveals the complex, contested dynamic between cultures of control (control agencies‟ downwards symbolic constructions) and cultures of deviance (rule breakers‟ upwards counter-constructions);  Emphasises those points where norms are imposed & threatened; laws enacted and broken, rules negotiated & renegotiated;  Culture here is conceived of less as an entity or environment than as uncertain dynamic by which groups law and small construct, question, and contest the collective space/experience of everyday life. o They see dynamic operating between representation of crime and individuals. Cultural criminology and images of crime  Is to consider how the „story‟ of crime is told as much through the image as through the word. o Visual images that accompany the test about crime e.g. image in a newspaper.  To theorise or interrogate the visual is „to unearth the hidden social and ideological concerns that frequently underpin images of crime, violence, and transgression‟.  It is to keep in mind that „framing‟ is something that we all do; once framed, it hints of a „frame-up‟. o Images of crime are something bound up with how we frame things, when we represent crimes we‟re drawing on frames. Doing a cultural analysis  A focus on narrative content – so we can consider the film‟s surfeit of possible explanations for crime. o Way you structure events from beginning, middle to end. o Order them in a chronological sequence so it appears as if one event causes another.  A focus on narrative form – how a film constructs it‟s images; that is, the story told by the film. o Uses different plots to tell a story e.g. romance, science – familiar ways of recognising the beginning, middle and end of a narrative. o Elements of a narrative – characters, plot, etc.  Doing cultural analysis is to „engage with the processes by which crime is imagined: “the linguistic turns and tricks, the framing and editing devices in and through which crime becomes a topic, obtains and retains a place in discourse”. Loving, Doting Dads versus Monstrous Mothers W6 Agency. The notion that individuals act independently out of a sense of moral choice and free will, as opposed to being „acted upon‟ by social forces and structures. Deviance. A social, and usually moral concept to describe rule-breaking behaviour. Difference. Concept often used in a negative sense to encapsulate cultural diversity, whereby patterns of behaviour of certain groups are identified as „differing‟ from some presumed norm. Essentialism. Belief that behaviour is determined/propelled by some underlying force or inherent essence. Informs many common sense views on crime and criminality. Familicide/family annihilation. Phenomenon whereby a man is driven by fear of failure to kill himself and his family. Feminism. Introduces theories from psychoanalysis and cultural studies into criminology. Filicide. Killing of a child by a parent/step-parent. Heteropatriarchy. A society in which the heterosexual male/masculine is assumed to be the norm, and anyone that differs is defined as „other‟ and is subject to censure or discrimination. Infanticide. Homicide of an infant under 12 months by its mother while she affected by pregnancy or lactation. Otherness. Denotes a symbolic entity located outside the self. Involves perception of the self as distinct from the not-self (subdivided according to learned differences). Psychosocial explanations. Perspectives that draw on psychoanalysis and sociological understandings, particularly in the pursuit of knowledge about gendered identities. Scopophilia. The pleasure of looking; desire to see. Spousal homicide. Unlawful killing of an individual by their spouse or partner. Unconscious. What is repressed from consciousness. Media misogyny - Psychoanalytic perspectives  When it comes to constructions of female offending, difference is readily constructed as deviance by causal association with crime. o Despite the fact that women rarely stalk, kill or murder – those who do are highly newsworthy because of their novelty.  Difference in a psychoanalytic interpretation: o Involves the denial of large parts of ourselves or the projection of those parts of ourselves, which make us feel vulnerable, onto others. E.g. Oedipal complex. o Child succumbs to a destructive unconscious solution in which he expels the part of himself that he finds intolerable (e.g. vulnerability and humiliation) and projects them onto his newly discovered „other‟. o Able to disown the harmful feelings that interfere with newly discovered sense of power and project them onto „woman‟, who is now defined as different and therefore bad. o Subsequently, women, femininity, or passivity may be deemed contemptible and feared because it represents a despised, castrated part of the self.  The interplay between unconscious fears and culturally reinforced prejudices defines who, at any given time, is designated the scapegoat other against whom we bolster our own individual sense of identity and the victimisation of feminised others goes beyond gendered relationships. o Understanding otherness helps to explain why identities are often characterised by polarisation and by the discursive marking of inclusion and exclusion within oppositional classificatory systems.  Insiders and outsiders.  Us and them.  Men and woman.  Deviant and normal. Feminist perspectives  1970s: to challenge the androcentrism of traditional criminology.  Applied to constructions of gender in studies of victimisation and seek to understand the conscious/unconscious that explain why some women fail to conform to cultural stereotypes of femininity and why legal and media discourses construct and reflect negative public emotions towards female offenders.  Issues: o Whether women are treated more harshly or leniently when they‟re in court. o Whether women who commit violent crimes in partnership with a man or in self-defence are passive victims of male op
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