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includes such aspects as the making of laws, the breaking of laws, and reacKng to the breaking of laws.
why we should understand criminology?
To better understand crime, criminal behaviour, & society's response to it
Helps us understand our society
• To reduce crime, we must first understand it
How Crime affects us (directly or indirectly)
—as taxpayers (we all pay for the costs of the CJS)
—as employees (many are employed in the CJS or security-related businesses
Crime and the Media
Most people learn about crime through the media—news and the entertainment industry.
The media misrepresent crime to attract viewers.
For the news media, the rule is "if it bleeds, it leads".
Fictional accounts of crime are very distorted.
Misrepresentation of crime in the Media
It influences public perceptions
—The amount of crime is overesKmated
—Fear of crime is higher than the risk of vicKmizaKon —There are public calls for government to Kghten laws
• Television violence may contribute to crime —May influence people predisposed to violence
• TV coverage does not examine the social and structural reasons behind crime
Disciplines of Criminology
The definition of crime and criminals
The origins and role of the law
The social distribution of crime
The causation of crime
Patterns of criminal behaviour
Societal reactions to crime
The Definitions of Crime and Criminals
-What acts are defined as crime?
—Who should be considered a "criminal"?
The Origins and Role of the Law
—The social origins of laws help us understand why certain
acts are considered criminal
The Social Distribution of Crime
—Traits of people who commit crime
—Temporal and regional trends
The Causation of Crime
—What are the causes of crime and criminality?
—Central focus of criminology (and this textbook)
Patterns of Criminal Behaviour
—Who are the offenders? Who are the victims? Under what
circumstances does crime occur?
Societal Reactions to Crime
—Historically, socieKes have responded to crime in many
—In Canada (and most other countries), crime is mainly addressed through a state-run criminal jusKce system
Rules and Laws; The Regulation of Behaviour
• All groups have rules; society cannot funcKon without them
• Most of the Kme, most of us conform to the norms our group prescribes
• We learn most rules so well that we follow them without thinking about them
• Informal rules (or folkways) govern much of our conduct
• Some informal rules become more formal regulaKons or laws
What is a crime?
an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law.
Legal Definition of Crime
An intentional violation of the criminal law or Criminal code, committed without defense or excuse and penalized by the state.
includes such aspects as the making of laws, the breaking of laws, and reacting to the breaking of laws.
A Continuum of Crime and Deviance
crime and deviance should be considered as a conKnuum from most serious to least serious acts, based on 3 dimensions:
1. The degree of consensus that an act is wrong 2. The severity of society's response to the act 3. The amount of harm caused by the act
Four major categories of crime and deviance.
The Relativity of Crime
Since crime is socially defined, the rules can change
• So what constitutes crime changes
• Examples: alcohol, gay marriage, marijuana
The distinction between criminal and noncriminal is thus ambiguous
Societal Reactions to Crime
—Historically, societies have responded to crime in many
—In Canada (and most other countries), crime is mainly addressed through a state-run criminal justice system
Rejects the idea that laws reflect a consensus in society
Class conflict theorists
-Sees law as a tool used by the ruling class to maintain their privileged position by keeping " common people" under control
- Laws are the result of a political process, which involves conflict between different interest groups.
The study of crimes, harms, and abuses committed by humans against the environment, against nature, and against nonhuman animals
- Became prominent after 9/11
- Examines the recruitment and training of terrorists, their organizations, and their links to crime, as well as how to prevent terrorism
-Defining terrorism exemplifies how crimes are socially constructed; terrorists to see are freedom fighters to others.
The Social Definition of Terrorism
• "The deliberate use or the threat to use violence against civilians in order to attain political, ideological, and religious goals" (Ganor, 2002, 288)
• However, "terrorism" is a socially constructed term:
"And these interpretations are not unbiased attempts to depict truth but rather conscious efforts to manipulate perceptions to promote certain interests at the expense of others" (Turk, 2004, 272)
Terrorism and the Rule of Law
• Powers of the state has expanded to include : - tough new laws
- widespread surveillance
- ethnic and religious profiling
- suspects are detained and incarcerated without usual due process (i.e., they have limited rights)
A branch of sociology that examines the appropriate boundaries and techniques of surveillance in society. defined as "any systematic focus on personal information in order to influence, manage, entitle, or control those whose information is collected
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