Criminology: An Introduction 1010
What is crime?
• Crime is represented in so many of our social products (movies, comics, books)
• Crime is horrific and repulsive and yet draws the attention of the contemporary
• What is about crime that takes so much of our attention and seduces us?
The seductions of crime
• We are fascinated by crime because it tells us something about ourselves
• Katz argues that we all grapple with these desires to engage in criminal behaviour
Why does it appeal
• We have complex and contradictory responses towards crime
• Crime captures our imaginations: attracts, repels, amuses, frightens, angers,
• Every time we hear the term ‘crime’ we immediately jump to extreme events such as
murder, and assault
• Many of these crimes can be deemed as just “everyday crimes”
What is crime? How we do describe which behaviour is deemed criminal?
• We have divergent and competing understanding on what constitutes as crime
• No one straightforward definition or easy answer
• Describes a vast range of behaviour with different consequences and impacts
o E.g. non-payment of fines, insider trading, illegal waste dumping, murder etc
• Definitions ever evolving- constantly changes across time and across different
social and cultural contentions
o Up until 90’s in Aus states, husbands had legal authority to rape in marriage
▪ Only changed after the second wave movement
▪ Different changes in laws internationally
o Consenting homosexual acts
▪ Illegal for two men to engage in a sexual relationship (70s).
throughout the 90’s this concept changes to an allowance of such a
o Environmental crime
o Cyber bullying- because of the development in technology these laws
addressing cyber bullying could not happen until recently
• Lack of agreement over what constitutes as crime and in what context
o Society generally condones murder
o Ivan Milat – Backpacker Killings
o Death penalty- how is murder different from forced execution
o Assisted suicide
o Drug use- is drug use something that should be regulated in the law? Or
should it be left to the health system? Should we treat someone who smokes
regularly differently to someone who does this recreationally?
o Animals- should animals be protected in criminal law? Should they be
extended the same civil and political rights as humans?