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Chapter 7

Sociology 2259 Chapter 7: Week 7 Articles


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2259
Professor
Lauren Barr
Chapter
7

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Week 7 Articles —
Presentations of Murder on Popular Television Justice Programs:
crime is a prominent feature in prime-time television
exposure to crime/violence/criminal justice system is largely through the media rather than
personal experience or education, thus becoming the primary force shaping understanding of
crime
violence in overrepresented in the media creating distorted views about crime
study compared the portrayals of and explanations for murder in the media vs. official
statistics to analyze the implications of television presentations of crime
television tends to depict crime that’s the least common in north america (e.g. murder) and
ignores more prevalent crimes (e.g. property crimes) because purpose of television is to
entertain
distorted media perceptions of crime lead to distorted perceptions of crime for the viewers
media gives overwhelmingly individualistic explanations for crime where criminality is viewed
as the failure of an individual who is morally weak or mentally deficient
results:
overrepresentation of violent crime (especially murder) which is inconsistent with official
statistics
overrepresent the crimes that occur the least and underrepresent crimes that occur the most
in north america
guns and personal weapons (i.e. hands, feet, etc.) were most prominent weapons in
television which is in line with official statistics however stats also list knives as a prominent
weapon
offenders usually knew their victims in the media which supports official statistics however
previous studies on crime in the media found that television depicted more cases of
offenders murdering strangers
drugs and alcohol play a big part in official statistics but weren’t mentioned as much in the
media
official statistics confirmed media’s representation of murder most prominently taking place
in the home (where more females are killed) followed by the street (where more males are
killed)
media shows that most murders are single offender and single victim which follows official
stats
only 1 of the 3 shows matched the official stats that murder is typically spontaneous rather
than planned because they tend to occur in the context of an argument or dispute
media representation follow gender-by-gender pattern in official statistics as to who murders
who (i.e. males kill males and females are murdered by males)
in the media people are more likely to be killed by people of their own racial group with is the
same as reality (intraracial)
media conveys distorted image of spouse murders but not mass murders
expressive motives (derive mainly from emotional response or psychological reactions) were
portrayed the most in TV which matches official stats, mostly portraying mental illness or
defect
media highlights individualistic motives which takes away from the theoretical explanations
of criminal behaviour that include more encompassing sociological explanations such as
social structures or institutions (probably due to entertainment factor) however some shows
brush the surface of these explanations
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