Crime and deviance and the media


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  • However, think about ‘cops with cameras’, police camera action’ etc – these represent young, non-white ‘underclass offenders. Also the police are increasingly shown as corrupt and brutal. Victims have also become more central, with law enforcers portrayed as their avengers and audiences invited to identify with their suffering.
  • " Video nasty " was a colloquial term coined in the United Kingdom by 1982 [1] which originally applied to a number of films distributed on video cassette that were criticized for their violent content by the press, commentators such as Mary Whitehouse and various religious organizations.
  • Bandura ’s laboratory experiments, sought to establish a link between viewing violent images and violent behaviour.
  • Reporting of crime served ideological purpose of turning white WC against black W/C. Divide and rule strategy diverted attention from mismanagement of Capitalism
  • Thomas and Loader (2000) defined cyber crime as computer mediated activities that are either illegal or considered illicit, and are conducted through global electronic networks Jewkes (2003)- the internet creates opportunities to commit both conventional crimes e.g. Fraud and ‘new crimes using new tools’ e.g. Software piracy. Wall (2001): 4 Categories Cyber-trespass- hacking, spreading viruses Cyber-deception- identity theft, phishing (getting identity or bank details by deception), illegal downloading Cyber-pornography Cyber-violence - (doing psychological harm or inciting physical harm) text bullying, cyber stalking, hate crimes against minority groups Policing cyber crime is difficult because of the scale of the internet and because its globalised nature poses problems for Jurisdiction. Police culture also gives cyber crime low priority (lacks excitement of conventional policing) ICT provides the police and state with greater opportunities for surveillance and control of the population e.g. CCTV, electronic databases, digital fingerprinting, identity cards
  • Crime and deviance and the media

    1. 1. Crime and Deviance Media
    2. 2. Lesson Objectives• Introduce how the media portray crime• Look at ways in which the media might be a cause of crime and of the fear of crime• Look at the role the media play in creating moral panics
    3. 3. Starter• How does the media represent Crime and Deviance?• Can they be accused of sensationalisation?• Do they cause a moral panic?• What folk devils have been created from Media Coverage?
    4. 4. Facts• Richard Ericson et al’s (1991) study of Toronto found that 45-71% of the press and radio news was about deviance and its control• Williams & Dickinson (1993)- British newspapers devote up to 30% of their news space to crime• While the news media show an interest in crime, they give a distorted image of crime, criminals and policing (compared to OS)
    5. 5. Key Words• Age Fallacy- media representations give impression that all age groups are involved in crime• Dramatic Fallacy- the media focus on violent crimes therefore creating fear of crime esp among elderly and women by over focusing on crimes against these groups• Ingenuity Fallacy- Media give impression that criminals are clever, yet most crime is opportunistic• Class Fallacy- Media give impression that M/C are more likely to be victims of crime• Police Fallacy- Media give impression that the police are more efficient than they really are
    6. 6. News Values and Crime Coverage• The distorted picture of crime painted by the news media reflects the fact that news is a social construction.• Cohen & Young- news is not discovered but manufactured (some stories selected, while others are rejected)• News value- criteria by which journalists and editors decide whether a story is newsworthy
    7. 7. • Key News Values influencing the selection of crime stories include:1. Immediacy2.Dramatisation- action & excitement3.Personalisation- human interest stories about individuals e.g. Violent & sexual crimes4.Higher Status persons- e.g. celebrities5.Simplification- eliminating shades of grey6.Novelty or unexpectedness- new angle7.Risk- victim centred stories8.Violence- visible and spectacular acts
    8. 8. Activity• Using the same newspapers as earlier find some crime stories in the national and local press. Which news values do the stories reflect?
    9. 9. Fictional Representations of Crime• Fictional representations of crime form TV, cinema and novels are important sources of our knowledge of crime (a lot of their output is crime related)• Mandel (1984)- from 1945- 1984 over 10 billion crime thrillers were sold worldwide, 25% of prime time TV and 20% of films are crime shows or movies (what examples are there?)
    10. 10. • Fictional representations follow Surette’s ‘law of opposites’ (opp to OS, and similar to news coverage).• Property crime is under represented, while violence, drugs and sex crimes are over represented• Fictional sex crimes are committed by psychopaths, not acquaintances• Fictional cops usually catch the bad guy
    11. 11. • However three recent trends are worth noting:1. Reality shows tend to feature young, non white ‘underclass’ offenders2.There is an increasing tendency to show police as corrupt, brutal and less successful3.Victims have become more central, with police portrayed as avengers and audiences invited to identify with their suffering
    12. 12. The Media as a cause of Crime• Concern that media has –ve effect on attitudes, values and behaviour (esp. on young, lower class and uneducated)• Blame for decline in behaviour shifted from cinema-horror comics-video nasties-rap lyrics and now computer games
    13. 13. Ways in which the media may cause C&D• Imitation- providing deviant role models, resulting in copycat behaviour (Bandura)• Arousal- through viewing violent imagery• Desensitisation- repeatedly viewing violence• Transmitting knowledge of criminal techniques• Target of crime e.g. Theft of plasma TV’s• Stimulating desires for unaffordable goods- through advertising• Glamourising offending
    14. 14. AO2• Most studies have found that exposure to media violence has at most a small and limited –ve effect on audiences• Sociologists note that this link is simplistic because it fails to recognise that audiences differ in terms of age, social class, IQ and level of education and so do not react in the same way to media content
    15. 15. AO2• Fails to appreciate nature of violence caused by a range of factors e.g. Poor socialisation, bad parenting, peer group influences, mental illness, drugs and alcohol• Most research uses lab experiments (allows control of variables however artificiality undermines validity), also cannot measure LT effects
    16. 16. Fear of Crime• The media exaggerate the amount of violent crime and the risks of certain groups becoming victims e.g. Young women and elderly• Research to an extent supports the view that media cause fear of crime• Schlesinger & Tumbler (1992)- tabloid readers and heavy users of TV expressed greater fear of going out at night and of becoming victims
    17. 17. Media, Relative Deprivation and Crime• Left Realists argue that the mass media help to increase the sense of relative deprivation (feelings of deprivation relative to others) among poor and marginalised social groups• In today’s society even the poorest have media access, the media present people with images of a materialistic ‘good life’ as a goal to which they should strive• Stimulating the sense of relative deprivation and social exclusion felt by marginalised groups who cannot afford the goods
    18. 18. • As Merton suggests pressure to conform to the norm can cause deviant behaviour when the opportunity to achieve by legitimate means is blocked.• The media is instrumental in setting the norm and therefore promoting crime.
    19. 19. Stan Cohen• Moral Panic: An exaggerated over reaction by society to a perceived problem- driven/inspired by Media• Media plays a crucial role in the social construction of C&D• Distorting and exaggeration by the media create a public reaction. This leads to the public labelling certain groups (sfp).• Moral entrepreneurs: editors, police officers, politicians, legal profession.• The media interest and exaggerated reporting leads to a social reaction and amplification (a deviancy amplification spiral), as more interest in fact leads to the identification of more of the offending behaviour.• Selective reporting actually creates the crime problem.
    20. 20. • v=19xJIedrrfA
    21. 21. Mods and Rockers (pg 122)• Who were the Mods & Rockers?• What happened in Clacton during the Easter Weekend?• The media over-reaction to the events involved 3 elements, what were they?• How was the turn of events linked to the idea of deviance amplification spiral?• How did the Media’s definition of the situation create a Moral Panic?• How does Cohen link moral panics to a ‘boundary crisis’?• What criticism of moral panics are there?
    22. 22. Perspectives of Moral Panics• Functionalism- see moral panics as ways of responding to the sense of anomie (normlessness) created by change. By dramatising the threat to society in the form of a folk devil, the media raise the collective consciousness and reassert social controls when central values are threatened.• Neo-Marxism- Hall et al argue that the moral panic over ‘mugging’ served to distract attention from the crisis of capitalism (dividing W/C on racial grounds)
    23. 23. H/W• Thomas and Loader (2000)- cyber crime is computer mediated activities that are either illegal or considered illicit, and are conducted through global electronic networks1. Read through Global cyber crime and summarise2. Mind map Crime and Media topic
    24. 24. Essay Practice• Examine some of the ways in which deviance may be related to the mass media (21m)
    25. 25. The media and crime News as socially constructed Fictional crime The media over-represent ‘The news is not discovered but Our ideas of crime violence and sex crimes – manufactured’ says Cohen and don’t just come from this make us think its Young. What they mean is what the news. Fictional happening more and that gets coverage depends on what representation of most killers are strange has happened, who is involved, crime comes from psychopaths – in most when and where. Crime by its books, films and TV cases the perpetrator is very definition is abnormal and shows. They tend to know to the victim. ticks most of these news worthy match the incorrect boxes. stereotypes of the The media portray media. criminals and victims as Mass media and older and more middle- crime class. Can the media cause How could the media Media coverage cause crime? exaggerates police success crime or fear? in clearing up cases. Most studies show media  Imitation – copycats. The media exaggerates the violence has at most a small  Desensitisation. risk of victimisation, and limited negative effect on audiences. Studies do  Learning criminal especially women. techniques. show those that watch TV The media overplay for longer periods of time  Desire for extraordinary crimes but are more likely to be fearful unaffordable goods. underplay ordinary crimes. of becoming a victim.  Glamorising offending.
    26. 26. New media – new crime Cyber-crimeCinema, television, computer games and the  Cyber-trespass – includes hacking andinternet have all been blamed for spreading viruses.corrupting the young. The internet hasgrown so quickly its brought about cyber  Cyber –deception and theft – identifycrime. Defined as computer-meditated theft, illegal downloading.criminal activities conducted through global  Cyber-pornography – illegal porn involvingelectronic networks. children.  Cyber-violence – bullying by text, threatening e-mails, cyber stalking. Stanley Cohen Mass media and crime Cohen studied how the media has often demonised youth culture. This Deviancy amplification spiral happened to mods and Rockers in 1964 who were This idea says that sensationalist seen as modern day folk reporting by the newspapers distorts the devils who threatened act of crime or deviance and increases social order. His research public awareness. Public pressure is put found that actual acts of on the police and courts to act. This deviant acts were minimal. creates a moral panic where certain acts or groups are seen as a threat to social order.