A2 Sociology Crime and the media

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Relationships between crime and the media

sociologists are interested in four aspects of relationship between media and crime:

1. how media represent crime, both non-fiction and fiction

2. media as a cause of crime and fear of crime

3. moral panics and amplification of deviance by media

4. cybercrime

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Media representations of crime

crime and deviance make up a large portion of the news with 30% of british newspapers reporting on crime

news gives a distorted picture of crime when compared to offical stats:

  • media over represent voilent and sexual crime
  • media portray vicitims as older and m-class
  • media exaggerate police success
  • crime reported seriers of seperate events
  • media overplay extrodinary crimes
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Media representations of crime

News values and crime of coverage

social construct of news: news doesn't happen but is made

new values: social construction of news, new values are the criteria journalists use to see if a sotry is newsworthy

key news values influencing the selcetion of crime stories include:

  • immediacy
  • dramatisation
  • personalisation
  • higher status persons
  • simplification
  • novelty and unexpectedness
  • risk
  • voilece
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Fictional representations of crime

tv, cinema and novels are important as much of their output is crime related:

  • study showed 1945 - 1987 10 billion thrillers were sold worldwide
  • 25% of prime tv and 20% of films are crime

fictional representation follow law of opposites, they are opposite to the laws that stats state:

  • property crime underrepsented
  • voilence, sex and drugs are over
  • fictional crimes by psychopaths and not friends
  • cops usually get their man
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Fictional representations of crime

these have shown three recent trends:

1. 'reality' shows feature young and non-white offenders

2. police as shown to be corrupt, brutual and less successful

3. victims are more central, police portrayed as avengers and audiences are identified with their victims

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Media as a cause of crime

media have a negative effective on attitudes, values and behaviours especially those most influecned, influecnes have now become things such as rap lyrics, computer games etc.

several ways in which crime and deviaince may be caused by the media:

  • imitation, providing a deviant role model
  • arousal, viewing voilent imagery
  • densensitisation, repeated viewing of voilence
  • transmitting knowledge, of criminial techniques
  • stimulating desiers, for unaffordable goods
  • glamourisng crime
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Media as a cause of crime

Fear of crime

  • media exaggerate amount of voilent crime and exaggerate the risks of certain groups becoming victims
  • research evidence to support views that media can cause fear
  • Schlesinger and Tumbler (1992) tabolid readers and heavy tv watchers are more likely to be scared of going out at night and becoming a victim

Media, relative dep and crime

left realists Lea and Young (1996) media increases rel dep among maragnlised groups

  • poor have media access with images of a materlisitc life as to why they want to lead
  • sense of rel dep and social exclusion felt by marganlised groups who can't afford these goods
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Moral panics

moral panic is used when an exaggerated and irriational over reaction by society to a percieved problem,the reaction enlarges the problem out of all seriousness

in a moral panic...

  • media identifiy a group as a folk devil who is then a threat
  • negatively stereotype the group and exaggerate the problem
  • moral entrepeutrs condem behaviour of group
  • creates sfp amplifiying the problem
  • crackdown gets more deviants and calls for tougher action

this then results in the amplification spiral e.g mods and rockers

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Moral panics

the media over exaggeration to these events invovles 3 elements:

1. exaggeration and distortion

2. predicition

3. symbolisation

Persepctives on moral panics:

functionalism: way of responding to the sense of anomie dramatising effects and threats the media cause a collective consicouness and reassert social controls when central values are threatened

neo-marxism: moral panics are used to form a cover up for issues by the capatalists

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Global cybercrime

thomas and loader (2000) cybercime, computer-mediated activies that are either illegal or considerestnn illcit and conducted through global electronic networks

jewekes (2003) interent gives opportunites for old crimes and newer crimes

4 categories of cyber crime

1. cyber-trespass

2. cyber-deception

3. cyber-***********

4. cyber-violence

policing: hard its a big scale

survellience: gives police and state greater opportunites of control

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