The media and the social construction of crime and deviance (Deviance…
The media and the social construction of crime and deviance
Does the media cause crime?
They identified several ways that the media does this
Providing targets for crime
The reduction of social controls over crime
New means of committing crimes
Knowledge and learning of criminal techniques
Motives for crimes
Labelling, moral entrepreneurship and deviance amplification
Greer & Reiner (2012)
- there has been a very long history of what
called 'respectable fears' about the media causing crime & deviance.
Deviance amplification, folk devils and moral panics
How relevant is the concept of a moral panic?
Steve Hall (2012)
- there is no such thing as a moral panic.
Public concern is generated only to be soothed by the media in a way that increases the publics faith in the CJS - the opposite of panic.
Media also overaggerates the CJSs ability to solve these crimes
The headlines reflect a real sense of exasperation felt by many
- in a contemporary 'risk society' there are now so many risks and uncertainties that many of the things that used to generate moral panics have now become a norm.
McRobbie & Thornton (1995)
- moral panics are no longer useful for understanding crime because new media technology, and sophisticate audience etc. have changed the reporting and reaction to, events that might have caused a moral panic.
Postmodernists - people are more sceptical of media platforms, and are less likely to believe them.
- the boundaries separating moral and immoral behaviour have become blurred.
The way the media may actually create or make worse the very problems they condemn is known as
Those defined as deviant are easy scapegoats to blame for a range of social problems.
Moral panics tend to appear during periods of social uncertainty, such as periods of rapid social change or political and economic crisis.
Hall et al. (1978)
, in their study of mugging, and
, show how the media can whip up a moral panic
The media as moral entrepreneurs
Media stories can demonise as folk devils, and sensotise the public to such an extent that it is encouraged to take action against them.
Media establishes itself as the '
self appointed guardians of national morality
' by labelling and stereotyping certain groups and activities as deviant, social problems, and a threat to society.
These are people, groups, or organisations with the power to create or enforce rules which define deviance.
The backwards law: public perceptions and the distortion and exaggeration of crime
The hyperreality of crime
Flately et al. (2010)
- although crime in E & W had been falling , between 3/4 and 2/3 of the population wrongly thought it was rising
- media does not reflect reality but actively creates it.
- there is a 'backwards law' with the media constructing images of crime and justice which are an opposite version of reality.
Greer & Reiner (2012
) - this is done by the media in the following ways:
Emphasising individual incidents of crime, rather than providing any understanding or analysis of crime patterns or the causes of crime.
Exaggerating the risks of becoming victims faced by higher-status white people, older people, and women and children
Over exaggerating police effectiveness in solving crimes
Portraying property crime as far more serious and violent then most recorded offences
Over-exaggerating sex, drug, and serious violence related crimes
CSEW - people base their knowledge of crime and the CJS on the media
- media coverage of crime & deviance is filtered through the values and assumptions of crime-thriller writers of what they think is worth telling...these are NEWS VALUES
Media over exaggerate, sensationalise, and over-report some crimes out of proportion to generate audience interest.
Greer & Reiner (2012)
- stories of sexual and violent crimes excites and captures popular imagination
People perceptions of crime and deviance in society are influenced by what media personnel choose to include or leave out.
'Involves the power management which issues are to presented for public discussion and debate and which issues are kept in the background
Issues that people think about discuss are based on the agenda that media reports tell them about
Crime as consumer spectacle
Hayward & Young (2012)
- advertisers have turned images of crime & deviance into tools of selling products in the consumer market, e.g. video games combine images of criminality and gang culture
Infotainment - crime is packaged to entertain