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  • 1. We live today in a media-saturated society. The media all all-around us and are particularly obsessed with crime.Crime and deviance make up a large proportion of news coverage. For example, Ericson et al’s 1991 study ofToronto, Canada found 45-71% of press and radio news were about various forms of deviance and how to control it.Williams and Dickinson (1993) found British newspapers devote 30% of their news space to crime.Activity 1: Watch the YouTube clip and answer the questions:1. The most common crimes reported in the media is….2. The three ways media coverage is analysed are….3. The types of crime that appear most commonly in media fiction i.e. in films/tv dramas are…4. The group who commits the most crime according to official statistics are……5. In reality, the most common offenders actually are….6. The two authoritiesmedia representations of crime are shaped by are…..7. The type of newspaper that tends to report negative trends and high numbers of violent crimes is…Media representations of crimeThe media have a distorted image of crime, criminalsand policing. Often, the official crime statisticsproduced by the government do not reflect reality.Stan Cohen & Jock Young argue that crime is sociallyconstructed. ‘Crime is not discovered butmanufactured’.Record and briefly explain 3 ways the media distortcrime in comparison to what the statistics show:There is evidence of changes in the types of crimesthe media focus on over time. In the 1960s thefocus was _______________________ But by the1990s it had switched to ______________________What crimes would you say the media arecurrently preoccupied with?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________News values – stories are selected by the media on the basis of how ‘newsworthy’ they are. Key news values influencing theselection of crime stories include:Novelty/unexpectedness: Simplification:Dramatization: Risk:Higher-status: Violence:
  • 2. Fictional representations of crime:Knowledge of crime can also come from TV, cinema and novels depicting crime-related drama and stories.Mandel (1984) – from 1945-1984 over 10 billion crime thriller books were sold worldwide and 25% of prime timeTV & 20% of films are crime shows or crime films.IN FILMS, ON TV AND IN BOOKS THE FOLLOWING OFTEN OCCURS:• Property crime is underrepresented• Violence, drugs and sex crimes are overrepresented• Cops usually catch the criminals• Sex crimes are committed by random psychopaths when in reality it is usually a friend/acquaintance ofthe victim.• Villains are higher-status, middle aged white men.Despite this, three recent trends are worth noting:1.2.3.Activity 2:Find a recent news article and decide which type of media distortion it could be classified as:TYPE OF DISTORTION: NEWS ARTICLE& EXPLANATION OF HOW THE MEDIA DISTORTS THE CRIME:Over-representationof violent/sexualcrimeCriminals portrayed asolder and middle-classExaggerating policesuccessExaggerating the riskof victimisationCrime reported as aseries of separateeventsOverplaying ofextraordinary crimes
  • 3. There has been a concern for some time that the media can have a negative effect on attitudes, values andbehaviour especially of those groups thought to be most susceptible to influence such as the young, lower classesand the uneducated. There are many ways in which the media can be argued to cause crime. It can encouragecriminal behaviour, increase the fear of crime and lead to the labelling of groups and the creation of moral panics.ENCOURAGING CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR:Some ways in which the media have been accused of encouraging criminal behaviour are listed below. Watch the 6videos clips and record which type of criminal behaviour it is exemplifying.Way the mediaencouragescrime:How the video clip exemplifies this:ImitationArousalTransmittingknowledge ofcriminal techniquesStimulating desiresfor unaffordablegoodsPortraying the policeas incompetentGlamourisingoffendingThe media as a cause of crimeMETHODS IN CONTEXT LINK: CASE STUDY: Bandura et al (1977)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0iWpSNu3NUAims of study: __________________________________________________________________________--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Method used: _________________________________________________________________--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------What the experiment involved:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Key findings: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Evaluative points: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 4. Other theories about the extent to which media causes crime:Schramm et al(1961) –•Livingstone (1996) •Gerbner et al •Schlesinger andTumber (1992)•Richard Sparks(1992) –Interpretivist view•Lea & Young(1996) – LeftRealist approach•INCREASING THE FEAR OF CRIME:As we have seen, the media exaggerate the amount of violent and unusual crime and they exaggerate the risks ofcertain groups of people becoming its victims, namely the elderly and young women. Therefore, there is theargument that the media creates an unrealistic fear of crime.A crime committed every fivesecondsA crime is committed in England and Wales every five seconds, according to new research published by police today.Metropolitan Commissioner Sir John Stevens said the criminal justice system was "creaking" under its workload, and placed theblame firmly at the door of the criminal courts."If you go down to the courts you will see where it is creaking," said Sir John, who earlier this year criticised the system forfailing victims by allowing offenders out on bail repeatedly."I would suggest you go to the courts yourself to see where the problem is."The "snapshot" of the criminal justice system on May 1 this year showed some startling statistics - including that police officersspend nearly 22,000 hours a day processing arrests.More than 16,500 crimes were reported in England and Wales while the Probation Service has 200,000 cases active on any givenday, it said. However there was a large gap between the number of crimes reported and the number of arrests made by officers.The Metropolitan Police figures showed officers arrested four people a minute in the 43 forces in England and Wales. Sir Johnpresented the findings at New Scotland Yard as a snapshot of a "typical day", in advance of a major international conference oncrime next week.But the Home Office immediately refuted the claim, insisting the research was "nothing more than a snapshot of a single,untypical, day".
  • 5. Many over-50s too scared to go outMore than a third of people over 50 are too afraid to leave their homes at night because they are afraid of being mugged orverbally abused, according to a new survey.The survey of 4,000 people by the Age Concern charity also found 47% of over-75swere too afraid to go outdoors after dark.Asked to give their "wish list" for reducing fear of street crime in Britain 61% demandedmore police on the beat.They also called for better street lighting, safer public transport, more CCTV surveillance and animproved understanding between young and old.Of those who said that fear of crime means they no longer take part in social activities after dark people in the south west (39%)had the highest fear.People in the north east (31%) were least likely to stay in after dark because of fear of crime.Age Concern England director-general Gordon Lishman said: "Fear of street crime has trapped many older people inside theirown four walls, putting them at risk of loneliness and isolation."It is not only older people who stand to lose out by beingprisoners of fear but also the wider community."Victim Support policy manager Debora Singer said: "Older people are effectivelybecoming prisoners in their own homes but the reality is their fear is out of proportion to the risk."The British Crime Surveyshows that older people aged 60 and over are less likely to become a victim of crime than people in other age groups. Whilst amajority of older people (93%) in the Age Concern survey enjoy living in their neighbourhoods and know and trust theirneighbours (73%), many were also concerned about the level of safety and security of the area they live in.INCREASING THE SENSE OF RELATIVE DEPRIVATION:Left Realists argue the media help to increase the sense of relative deprivation, this is ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________“The mass media have disseminated a standardised image of lifestyle, particularly in the areas of popular culture andrecreation, which, for those unemployed and surviving through the dole queue or only able to obtain employment atvery low wages, has accentuated the sense of relative deprivation” – Lea & Young, (1996)The media present everyone with images of ‘the good life’, materialism i.e. that money can buy happiness andconsumer goods which are portrayed as the ‘norm’. Merton and Lea and Young argue this stimulates a sense ofrelative deprivation amongst marginalised groups who want what others appear to have. Pressure to conform to thisnorm can cause deviant behaviour when the opportunity to achieve through legal means is blocked.Examples of themedia creating asense of relativedeprivation:TV programs such as ‘Cribs’ and‘Made in Chelsea’ whichportray a lavish lifestyle as thenorm
  • 6. Another way in which the media can cause crime is through labelling individuals and groups as ‘criminal’ or ‘deviant’.The media can often campaign for a crackdown on the perceived problematic group resulting in negative labelling ofthe behaviour and even a change in the law.METHODS IN CONTEXT LINK - KEY STUDY: STAN COHEN ‘FOLK DEVILS AND MORAL PANICS’ (1972)Folk devilMoral entrepreneurSelf-fulfilling prophecyDeviant careerMaster statusDeviancy amplificationspiralMoral panicsHi, I’m Stanley Cohen, an Interactionist. In 1972 I publishedthe most influential study of moral panics and the role of themedia in ‘Folk Devils & Moral Panics’. A moral panic is.......KEY TERMSWho? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………Where? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………Why? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………How? – Cohen used a range of documents including press articles, recordingsof radio and TV broadcasts, parish newsletters, minutes of council meetingsand records of parliamentary debates (secondary sources). He alsoconducted interviews and on the spot observations (primary sources).
  • 7. The wider context of moral panics: - Questions – use the information on page 123 to answer.1. In what context does Cohen place the moral panic about mods and rockers?2. In general, when do moral panics occur according to Cohen?3. According to Functionalists how should moral panics be seen?4. How do Neo-Marxists such as Stuart Hall explain moral panics?STAN COHEN ‘FOLK DEVILS AND MORAL PANICS’ (1972) continued………Use the information on page 122 and the video clip to explain fully what Cohen studied and his key findings. Makesure you include the following key terms: exaggeration & distortion, prediction, symbolisation, devianceamplification spiral, self-fulfilling prophecy & folk devils.
  • 8. Can you match up some more moral panics since the 1950s?1) Rise of Communism (especially in 1950s-60s)2) Fear if immigration to the UK (2000s)3) Acid raves (1980s-90s)4) Terrorism (post-2001)5) Ecstacy (1990s)6) Youth knife crime (1990s-2000s)7) The Black mugger (1970s)CRITICISMS OF MORAL PANICS:It assumes society’s reaction to a crime is always an over-reaction – who is to decide what is anoverreaction and what is in fact a real problem? Left Realists argue the fear of crime is rational.It can’t explain why some issues are amplified but others are not.McRopbbie & Thornton argue moral panics have less impact in today’s modern world as we are allused to ‘shock, horror’ stories and so don’t react.It is harder for the media to create moral panics but there is little agreement about what is andisn’t deviant and this constantly changes. For example, single motherhood was seen as deviant inthe 1950s but now is seen as an accepted family type.a) b)e)c)d)g)f)
  • 9. Another type of media is the world wide web. The internet has also been accused ofcorrupting the young and undermining public morality as well as giving rise to a new typeof criminal activity – cyberTYPE OF CYBER CRIME EXAMPLESCyber trespassCyber deception & theftCyber pornographyCyber violenceGlobal cyber crimeCyber crime, according to Thomas & Loader (2000) is………On the one hand…. On the otherhand….Policing cyber-crime –the pros and cons