Globalisation, The Media and Crime

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Globalisation, The Media and Crime - Introduction

  • Globalisation
  • Globalisation is the growing interdependence of societies across the world, with the spread of the same culture, consumer goods and economic interests across the globe.
  • Held: growing globalisation and global communications offer new opportunities for crime and new means of carrying out crime.
  • Castells: the global crime economy is worth over £1 trillion/year and takes many forms for example cyber crime, human trafficking and sex tourism
  • The Media:
  • It is argued that the mass media paints a false picture of crime (it is socially constructed)
  • Newburn: News reports exaggerate the risk of being a victim of crime, tend to present crime as a series of I individual incidents and have little coverage of patterns, trends or underlying causes, exaggerate the proportion of crimes that are cleared up by the police.
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Globalisation and Crime - Newburn

  • Identified the following consequences of globalisation for crime and criminology:
    • 1. Globalisation can affect and often reduce the power of the nation state, as there may be disputes over crimes that are committed in one country but have effects in another.
      • e.g. internet fraud, which leads to losses in a country other than the one in which the fraudsters are located.
    • 2. It provides opportunities for committing crime in new ways and give criminals opportunities to escape national jurisdiction, by moving between countries to avoid arrest.
    • 3. Globalisation creates a new awareness of risk from foreign countries, which can amplify fear of outsiders and result in greater efforts to impose social control and exclude immigrants.
  • Strength: Helps explain how globalisation has led to increases in crime as well as new types of crime, and new ways of organising and committing crime
  • However: Gloabalisation has also had some benefits of tackling crime, through greater international cooperation between police forces and the more widespread use of extradition afreements it has become easier to track and prosecute offenders.
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Globalisation and Crime - Castells

  • As well as the harm done to victims global criminal networks also harm the economy, politics and culture of the world:
  • In a number of countries, organised crime is closely linked to corruption with the government. Global crime can also have cultural effects e.g making criminal careers more attrative than legitimate careers to young people.
  • The global criminal economy could not function without a supply side (the developing world) that provides drugs, sex workers etc for the rich western world.
  • Globalisation now means that local and national crime is increasingly interlinked with crime happening in other countries through global criminal networks, which have developed because of the growth of an information age in which knowledge as well as goods and people can move quickly, easily and cheaply across national boundaries.
  • These changes have resulted in the development of a global criminal economy, in which there are complex interconnections between a range of criminal networks.
  • These criminal networks operate transnationally (they reach beyond national boundaries.
  • Strength: Explains how global crime is a challenge for nation states to police
  • However: Through greater international cooperation it has become easier to track and prosecute offenders.
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Globalisation and Crime - Hobbs and Dunningham

  • Argue increasingly the large-scale, hierarchical mafia-style criminal organisations are being replaced by a loose network of individuals seeking criminal and non-criminal opportunities. Crime now works as a 'glocal' system: locally based, but with global connections.
  • Individuals with criminal contacts form a 'hub', or loose-knit network with other individuals seeking opportunities which is not hierarchical in the way of subcultures and traditional 'mafia' style gangs
    • Each locality will affect the nature of the criminal organisation, thus global crime is filtered through a local lens.
  • Strength: Helps to explain the changes in the patterns of crime in the patterns of crime brought about by globalisation: Marxism
  • However: It is not clear that such patterns are new or that older structures e.g. the rigid hierarchy of the Mafia have disappeared.
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Globalisation and Crime - Glenny

  • Identifies another example of the relationship between crime and globalisation in the rise of what he calls the 'McMafia' (criminal organisations emerging after the fall of communism in 1989 and the deregulation of global markets)
  • Strength: Helps to explain the changes in patterns of crime brought about by globalisation; Marxism.
  • However: It is not clear that such patterns are new or that older structures have disappeared.
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Globalisation and Crime - Taylor

  • Globalisation has led to changes in the pattern and extent of crime: Deregulation has allowed transnational corporations to switch manufacturing to low wage countries, which has meant job insecurities, unemployment and poverty increase in those (developed) countries where factories have closed, with all the related strain, status frustration and criminality.
    • It also allows manufacturers in the third world break labour laws in the factories providing products for western consumers.
    • Globalisation also creates criminal opportunities for elite groups. The deregulation of the financial markets has created opportunities for insider dealing and the movement of funds around the globe to avoid taxation.
  • Strengths: Links global trends in capitalism to changes in the pattern of crime and highlights how powerful groups are able to define laws ( to serve selves), able to hide crimes, able to escape punishment.
  • Evaluation: It does not adequately explain how the changes make people behave in criminal ways: the majority of the poor (or rich) do not turn to crime: It is not possible to establish a link which proves that crime levels are directly caused by the economic policies of governments.
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Media and Crime - Construction of Reality

  • Cohen and Young:
  • Reporting generally and crime news in particular 'manufactures' or socially constructs a picture of reality.
  • Reiner: Three main trends are evident in crime coverage, which reflect an increasing emphasis upon individualism in a consumer oriented capitalist society:
    • 1) It focuses on the negative
    • 2. Audiences are encouraged to identify with the victims (victim culture) and there is an emphasis on punishing offenders
    • 3) Tough law and order solutions are portrayed as the only was to tackle a crime wave that requires an ever greater emphasis on security. This type of coverage supports a conservative ideology.
  • However: Cohen and Young, and Reiner are aware that not all coverage fits the model they put forward and they underestimate the extend of coverage of crime that reflects badly on those in power e.g. coverage of corporate crime etc.
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Media and Crime - Selecting Media Content

  • The content of the media reflects what the public wants to read or watch. Because the majority of the mass media rely upon audiences to generate income (via sales or advertising), if they run stories or put on entertainment that is not popular, then the audience will go elsewhere and the media organisation will be forced to change, or risk going out of business.
  • In addition, the internet and social media have increased the power of the public and led to more diversity in the media.
    • Jewkes: this creates the potential for individuals or groups to challenging mainstream views of crime.
  • However: Most crime coverage/entertainment continues to perpetuate the stereotyping labelling and criminalisation of certain groups (often along lines of class, race and gender)
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Media and Crime - News Values

  • The selection of news content is shaped by the idea of news values: journalists sense of what makes a 'good story'.
  • Jewkes: News values applied to crime stories include:
    • The involvement of sex
    • Celebrities or children as offenders of victims
    • Proximity
    • The involvement of violence
    • The availability of graphic imagery
    • Stories that fit a conservative ideology
    • Are dramatic or are perceived to be important
    • Involve the idea that modern life is filled with risk
    • Can be explainable in terms of the behaviour of individuals
    • Unexpected
    • Predicable (if they fit a theme that is often covered)
  • Interesting news stories will contain some of these news values, but they are unlikely to contain them all.
  • Buckley: Events are most likely to be deemed newsworthy are those with the greatest number of news values.
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Media and Crime - Negative Effect of the Media

  • Greer and Reiner: Identify the possible criminogenic effects of the media:
    • Opportunity: By encouraging consumption, the media makes more targets for crime
    • Absence of controls: The mass media undermines social control, both internal to the individual (e.g. a sense of guilt and external (the threat of punishment), by portraying the criminal justice system as corrupt etc. thus reducing its effectiveness.
    • Means: Through the media, people may learn techniques and commit crimes that they would not otherwise have had the expertise/ imagination to carry out
    • Motive: The media may stimulate desire for materials goods, leading those who can't afford them to turn to crime.
  • The media can help to create new types of offence, by highlighting and causing public concern about particular behaviour, which may then change the way the police deal with particular crimes or by helping to increase the willingness of victims to report this type of offence.
  • Schlesinger and Tumber: Readers of most tabloid newspapers were most likely to fear becoming a victim of crime - particularly violent crime
  • However: May be confusing cause and effect
  • Perhaps those most afraid of crime are those most prone to reading about it
  • Left realists argue that the fear of crime is often rational and grounded in real risks.
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Media and Crime - Positive Effects of the Media

  • Media coverage can help to solve crimes of locate suspects or encourage awareness of risk from crimes such as terrorism or identity theft.
  • Media campaigns can also put pressure on the government or police to take action (e.g. domestic violence or tax evasion by corporations).
  • The media can help to define moral boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
  • The media can deter crime by highlighting the punishment of criminals.
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Media and Crime - Media as a Cause of Crime

  • The hypodermic syringe model, suggests that the media, 'injects' messages and content into the 'veins' of an unthinking, passive media audience.
  • Thus there is a correlation between crime, and violence portrayed in the media and real life crime. Behaviour can be directly influenced by
    • 1) Copycatting
    • 2) Disinhibition
    • 3) Desensitization
  • However: There are a range of responses to media violence and it may have the opposite effect e.g. sensitization or catharsis.

Moral Panics

  • Cohen: The media, by creating moral panics, may be criminogenic due to deviancy amplification.
  • Miller and Reilley: Moral panics are form of 'ideological social control'
  • However: McRobbie and Thornton: It is outdated as there is not single, unambiguous response to a panic today, as there are many different viewpoints and values in society
  • some groups may actively use the media to generate moral panics (see: ISIS)
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