How Does the Notion of Harm Reveal Entangled Relationships Between Social Welfare and Crime Control?

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How does the notion of harm reveal entangled relationships between social welfare and crime control?

The concept of harm is a complex one, The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines the term as “hurt, damage, cause harm to” (Allen,1990,P.539). In a physical sense harm can be defined and characterised by damage caused from a war or a natural phenomenon that inflicts considerable damage upon an individual, community or nation. The notion of harm has characterised humanity since the dawn of its existence, ranging from famine and disease to war and conflict. From a Sociological perspective Harm and more specifically Well-Being are concepts that have extremely far reaching definitions, that range between the relationships between ourselves and families; having enough money to fulfil the needs of ourselves and our dependents and protection from entities such as crime, abuse, discrimination and oppression (Widdowson, 2008, p64). We also cannot ignore the physical concepts of harm that occur from such natural phenomena as Earthquakes for example the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco and Hurricanes such as the more recent Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The concept of Entanglement like that of harm has a number of different meanings the dictionary defines it as “the act or condition of entangling or being entangled” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1990, P.390) in a Sociological context the concept of entanglement is a complex one, predominately it characterises “relationships between different policies, practices and processes” (Newman and Yeates, 2008, p168). Often these work with and against each other in both positive and negative ways resulting in both positive and negative outcomes and results. It is through Harm that this essay will investigate the entanglement between social welfare and crime control.

One concept of harm and the subsequent entanglement between social welfare and crime control is through our occupations and employment. Occupational related health and any subsequent injury or death relating to employment has far reaching consequences for a number of different entities. In the United Kingdom companies may be investigated by the Social Institute and Government regulated Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for injuries and deaths occurring on their premises, these investigations may lead to fines, prosecution of both the company and individuals and may even result in the closures of companies for breach of health and safety regulations. These are enshrined not just in UK Law but also in International Law as per a number of different treaties, conventions and protocols founded and promoted by global organizations such as the United Nations International Labour Organization. As Widdowson details in Chapter 3, the welfare of people in the workplace goes further than Health & Safety in a physical sense, the international organizations listed above promote the welfare of workers in a psychological and social sense. Arguing that a lack of paid employment for an individual can lead to a negative effect on a person’s life leading to social inequality and poverty such as drug and alcohol abuse, financial hardship, depression and even suicide. (Widdowson, 2008, p64). In the UK whilst each individual in employment has obligations to protect and promote their own Health & Safety, company management also have an obligation to promote Health and Safety through provision of Health and Safety related training and equipment specific to the job being untaken failure to make and promote theses provisions will result in a breach of the law and will have various wider social impacts not just the legal implications detailed above. It is these social implications that reveal the entanglement in an employment and occupational sense between social welfare, corporate crime control and wider social harmony the entanglement is a negative one and the consequences and outcomes upon both the individual and the group are equally...
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