Study Guides (248,044)
Canada (121,254)
York University (10,190)
Criminology (158)
CRIM 1650 (40)


44 Pages
Unlock Document

CRIM 1650
James Williams

Part OneIntroduction Definition of CrimeChapter 1 The Social Construction of Crime Myths Explanation of social problemsIndividuals who have vested interests in an issue and bring these issues to the publics attention Claimsmakersmoral entrepreneurs perspectiveAdvocate formal social policy to address a new problem considered real unique and grave in its consequencesIndividuals who study the construction of social problemsSocial problems are constructions based on a collection of perceptions and presentations of informationsupplied by the mass media urban legends group hysteria ideology political power or other social forces that directs public attentionMythUsed to describe some of the collective definitions society applies to certain crime problems and their solutionsAre fictional and have underlying ideals supposed to explain events but more often instruct us on how to integrate an event into our belief systems and worldviewsCrime mythCreated through nonscientific forums through the telling of sensational storiestold and retold with transformationsand distortions conjoined with social and cultural values which leads to public awareness of mythical problems and eventually evolve into truth for many people becomes a social and political problem The Functions of Crime Myths Organize our views of crime criminals and the proper operation of the criminal justice systemProvide conceptual framework to identify certain social issues as crime relatedTo develop our personal opinions on issues of justiceTo apply readymade solutions to social problems Catalog Social ActorsTo catalog and allow for people to distinguish between lawabiding citizens criminals crime fighters and victimsReinforces the selfconception of othersto be comfortable as a lawabiding citizen90 of all Americans have committed some crime and could be incarceratedbut most dont view themselves as criminalsMyths condemn others and reinforce selfperception through contrasting good and bad Reinforce Existing Social ArrangementsMyths reinforce current designations of conduct as criminal support existing practices of crime control and provide the background assumptions for future designation of conduct as criminalMyth generated and accepted by the publicFoundation has been laid to generate other myths of crime and justiceSolidified framework prevents us from defining issues accurately exploring new solutions or finding alternatives to existing socially constructed labels and crime control practicesSociety becomes blinded by myths of crime and justiceTherefore we construct and understand crime by promoting powerful myths that guide us in interpreting reality in a very narrow fashionCrime mythsProvide information for the construction of a social reality of crimeBecomes a convenient mortar to fill gaps in knowledge and to provide answers to questions social sciences cannot answer or addressto reinforce existing social arrangements that serve to interest powerful people or institutionsProvide an outlet for emotionalism and direct emotions to designated targetsLabel one as a social deviant allowing others to advocate for punishmentCondone social action based on emotionalism while providing justification for established views of behaviour social practice and institutional responses to crimeEx Justifying the arrest of thieves Reconcile ContradictionsOur views of crime are based on myths that either hide or attempt to reconcile social contradictionsEx Prisons do not help rehab offenders offenders usually reoffend when releasedbut we see this as a weakness in the system and that we should enhance punishment and incarcerate more peopleCrime mythsConceptual schemes that assist us in interpreting reality and organizing our thoughts and beliefs about realityAllow us to adhere steadfastly to fixed belief systems even when reality contradicts them Create Collective Belief SystemCrime mythsMake our constructions of criminal justice and response to crime seem reasonable and unchallengeablecrime is unacceptable and threatens our families freedom and way of lifeTell us who we are by constructing criminalsTell us what we valueTell us what we should do about any challenges to existing social arrangementsCreate a collective belief system that hides contradictions and serves the interests of mythmakers Powerful Mythmakers The mass media largest and most powerful mythmakers government and the reform groups with the means to lobby for their interests select our crime problems for us and focus our attention on social issues Media as MythmakerTechnological advancements have made it easier to spread news to the world at rapid speedstherefore increasing the availability of fear inducing newsThe national theme is of local consequence and affects us allNational problems ex Drunk driving presented with localized examples ex Victim of drunk driving accident in Toronto which would suggest that this is a globalized problem7 largest media conglomerates control most of the worlds media outletsthey choose what is news and how it should be presented usually if it bleed it leadsto increase profits yellow journalism and create extreme examplesGetting to a story first does not allow for something to be analyzed critically statistics being used with validitygoing postal is fairly inaccurate as postal workers are not likely to hurt their coworkers sensationalized by the mediaThe selection of themes and reporting on the common theme creates the illusion of a crime epidemicNews is time restricted bombarded with graphic images or compelling footageMedia uses melodrama take the most violent examples of crime and imply that it is typical victim is always innocent and likablecentral park jogger example going wilding a group of youth going around raping people blamed problem on rap television violent pop culture etc Government as MythmakerAre interested in maintaining the existing social definition of crime and extending this definition to groups and behaviours that are perceived to be a threat to the existing social orderChanges to the system can occur but drastic changes usually do not take place because of the status quoEx Consistently building more prisons to incarcerate more people even though it is known that this does not workGovernment can limit and choose what they wish to expose to the public or researchEx Reports how many officers die but do not report cases of police brutalityThe crime clock acts to spread certain situations as epidemic because the speed at which they occurGovernments choose what they want to expose to the mediaGovernment vs ResearchersscholarsAdvance a crime control ideology vs discuss crime causationConstruct crime in terms of deterrence and the personal pathology of criminals vs discuss social factors that contribute to crime
More Less

Related notes for CRIM 1650

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.