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RS 4 Deviance.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Deviance: RS Part IV • For deviance, perception of an unacceptable behavior must turn into action • Chapter 14: Emotions Contests and reflexivity in the news: Examining discourse on youth crime in Canada o Media play a particular part in causing moral panics about youth crime  That it is increasing and becoming more serious and out of control o News Reflexivity and emotions discourse  Majority of research shows that media needlessly exaggerate crime in newspapers are indicative of distortion and ideology • Little evidence of discussion of crime causation  Focus on youth as a channeling of broader anxieties  Wider range of media sources create, and play to social differentiation, audience segmentation o Today’s moral panics self reflective, commenting on their own practices, a story of the story o Recent studies show media involved in a “politics child hating”, disconnecting youth crime stories with their context; a conspiracy against the marginalized  To direct and control public perception o Constructionists – more ambiguous formulations – play out as “victim contests”  Young offenders as either “cold blooded, calculating predators, incapable of remorse” or “innocent victims of the social conditions that had robbed them of youthful innocence o Media either try’s to emotionalize youth crime or rationalize it, depending on competitors perspective  Condemnation or sympathy – render different deviant types o Emotional Vs Rational assessments of youth crime  Emotions Discourses as rational • Alberta Report: Brutal violence committed by youth justifies outrage o Usage of emotion discourse to criticize policy and assess severity of youth crime – deception o Article describes crime, then tells how emotional reactions and direct experience are invalidated by intellectualization by sociologists • Article says politicians and sociologist do not favor emotional reactions to youth crime • Takes normative position that emotional reactions are legitimate • Criticizes other news reactions to youth crime as being intimate with youth crime, but remain qualified by not becoming emotional o There is no problem, if you read the statistics right • Article actively responds to critics, and states that an emotional response to such events IS rational, authentic, and legitimate • Calgary Herald – contextualizes youth crime and points towards causes of it – rejecting emotional responses o This paper criticism facilitates a reflexive awareness of representational practices in the media, especially in relation to competitors o Article shows sympathy by pointing to social factors that push youth into deviancy o Some mothers are cast as the victimizers at fault o Instead of youth being punks and predators  Mistreated children when cast as victims o Aware of social forces that temper the individual pathologization  Even deconstructing its own narritive  Offers reflexive rejoinder from an insider perspective o Another Calgary Herald article – more debunking of media sensationalizing of youth crime  Points to other papers and their use of young offenders as a “distraction” egged on by sensations news stories, and pandering politicians • Anxious for an easy solution • Emotions discourse were only presented as legitimate responses to youth crime within the Alberta report o Such responses were deemed illegitimate to those who viewed youth as victims more than victimizers • Canadian new organization, instead of being uniform in distortion, they are polymorphous and reflexive o The ability of mass media to adopt the rhetoric of moral panics, but also to adapt to it in novel ways • Chapter 15: Dirty Harry and the Station Queens: A Mertonian Analysis of police deviance o Applying Anomie to policing – cultural definitions of success – opportunity structure o Police deviance as a form of anomic social structure  noble, masculine, crime fighters • which is relitivly unavailable under current institutionally accepted means • Their reactions follow Merton’s four classifications: o Innovation, retreatism, rebellion, and ritualism o Machismo, Heroism, and the thin blue line  Media display the lines between good and evil as relatively clear • Cops always get their man  Recruits cite excitement and opportunity to “fight” crime • Officers on the job, to some degree, internalize cultural construction of “crime fighter”  North American social system promote crime fighting as a value system • But the system does not provide this opportunity – overarching forces o The Structural Impediments to crime fighting  A) How good the police are at responding to criminal activity  B) Degree of legitimate means of support from other justice institutions  C) How involved the Community is in assisting o Economics of fighting crime  Despite increased spending, departments artnt f
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