Media Representation Of Crime Essay

936 words - 4 pages

One of the most researched issues in the social sciences is whether media representations of violence have damaging effects upon audiences. Three main sociological approaches to media and crime have emerged but no one approach has been conclusive (Carribaine et al, 2009, pg. 408).

The first approach is called the ‘ill – effect’ or sometimes referred to as the hypodermic syringe model. This approach main focuses on young and working class people and the negative media effects of crime, deviance or violence. Reiner et al (1997) states that despite numerous studies on the harmful effects on media, there is no evidence to support or disprove casual claims of negative effects. He argues that most of the studies are methodologically defective and unscientific. Reiner states that these types of studies are based on simple and obsolete understandings of science. This is because film or internet in an approximation of laboratory conditions is an example where subjects typically undergo various forms of exposure to media stimulus (Reiner, 2002, pg. 396)

It is often criticized by criminologist that ill-effect is mostly concentrated on young, working class people, because it shows that they are particularly at risk of committing crime or deviant acts. Some sociological and psychological studies suggest that when young people watch violent programs, play violent games or see harmful images it can led them to imitative behavior. Schubart (1995, pg. 222) cited that in trying to explain James Bulger murder by two young boys, police speculated that these offenders had copied scenes from Child’s Play 3 (1991), a film rented by the father of one of the boys a month before the murder. The judge said that this may have been a part of an explanation for their behavior (Kidd-Hewitt and Osborne, 1995).
On the contrary Pearson (cited in Carrabine et al, 2009, pg. 409) said that popular anxieties about the ‘ill – effects’ of media influences on crime and deviance often rely on idealized images of the past with romantic nations about societies free of crime before the introduction of the mass media.

Even so Bauman (see Carrabine et al, 2009, pg.409) brought a further criticism that the global reach of media technology has brought a new barbarism into the fabric of our everyday lives. Bauman argued that the sheer volume of images like terrorism, killing, starvation has induced a desensitisation effect rather than ‘ill – effect’.

The second approach is termed a moral panic. According to Stan Cohen, moral panic developes when a group of persons or a condition emerge to become a threat to a society. Stan Cohen argued that media stereotyping reinforces the boundaries of normality and social (Carrabine et al, 2009, pg. 104). The media misleads reality through an increase spiral, creating moral panics centered on the media creation of folk devils, for example the Mods and Rockers, youth subcultures in the late 1960s in order to...

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