Why Do Men Commit Crime?

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  • Why Do Men Commit Crime?
    • Masculinity and Crime
      • Messerschmidt argues that masculinity is a social construct and men have to constantly work at constructing and presenting it to others.
      • Messerschmidt argues that different masculinities co-exist within society, but that one of these, hegemonic masculinity, is the dominant form that most men want to achieve.
        • Hegemonic masculinity is defined through 'work in the paid-labour market, the subordination of women, heterosexism and the driven and uncontrollable sexuality of men'
      • Messerschmiddt sees crime and deviance as resources that different men may use for accomplishing masculinity
      • Class and ethnic differences among youths lead to different forms of rule breaking to demonstrate masculinity.
        • White Middle-Class Youths have to subordinate themselves to teachers in order to achieve middle-class status, leading to an accommodating masculinity in school.
        • White Working-Class Youths: have less chance of educational success, so their masculinity is oppositional both in and out of school, it is constructed around sexist attitudes, being tough and opposing teachers authority.
        • Black Lower Working-Class Youths: may have few expectations of a reasonable job and may use gang membership and violence to express their masculinity.
    • Criticisms of Messerschmidt
      • Messerschmidt is in danger of a circular argument, that masculinity explains male crimes because, they are crimes committed by males.
      • Messerschmidt doesn't explain why not all men use crime to accomplish masculinity
      • He over-works the concept of masculinity to explain virtually all male crimes, from joy riding to embezzlement.
    • Winlow: Post modernity, Masculinity and Crime
      • Globalisation has led to a shift from a modern industrial society to a late modern or postmodern de-industrialised society
        • This has led to the loss of many of the traditional manual jobs through which working-class men were able to express their masculinity by hard physical labour and by providing for their families.
      • At the same time as job opportunities in industry have declined, there has been an expansion of the service sector, including the night-time leisure economy of clubs, pubs and bars.
      • Winlow's  study  of bouncers in Sunderland, an area if de-industrialisation and unemployment.
        • Working as bouncers in the oubs provided young men with both paid work and the opportunity for illegal business ventures in drugs.
    • Body Capital
      • To maintain their reputation and employability, the men must use their bodily capital
        • For example, many of the bouncers seek to develop their physical assets by bodybuilding
      • In other words, masculinity becomes an important commodity in their own right.
        • This reflects the idea that in postmodern society, signs take on a reality of their own independent of the thing they supposedly represent
      • Winlow's study shows how the expression of masculinity changes with the move from a modern industrial society to postmodern, de-industrialised one.


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