Media and Crime

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Undergraduate Assignment Cover Sheet
School of Human and Health Sciences

|Student Name: |Rita Kybaite | |Student ID: |U1068438010 | |Module Code: |HFB1010 | |Date Submitted: |18/01/11 |

By submitting this work you are confirming that it is your own work and that all sources used have been accurately cited in text and referenced in the reference list. You are also confirming that the essay is within 10% of the advised word allowance.

Please state word count of your assignment (excluding Reference list):

|Word Count* |1818 words |

*Excluding reference list and questions

Nowadays most people follow criminal cases covered by the news media closely, and feel confident enough to make judgements about guilt and innocence (Hough, 2005, p. 7). Television schedules are crammed with programmes about the police, criminals, prisoners and the courts and are syndicated around the world. Why are people – the audience – so fascinated by crime and deviance? And if the media can so successfully engage the public’s fascination, can they equally tap into – and increase – people’s fears about crime? Is the media’s interest is in obsession with – crime harmful? Although people have some autonomy (self – control, and self – determination) in how they behave, they still may imitate some things they learn from media – what clothes to wear, styles of language and social interaction – they know what it means to be violent to someone and they are careful about such actions. People know the difference between the media representations, stories and images of violence – that is, that they are stories/fictions – and the real thing. They also can make judgments about what people consume from the media; they do not respond automatically to what they see (O’Shaughnessy, 1999). Firstly, we need to have knowledge on media theories, to be able to distinguish how media works and what impact it has on society. Sociological perspectives on social control range from the positive (whereby social control is seen as maintaining order, stability and social harmony), to the negative (whereby social control is seen as an instrument of oppression used by the powerful few to keep the powerless majority in their place). The positive or functionalist view can be described as voluntary, we obey the ‘social rules’ because we believe it is right to do so. The negative or conflict perspective sees social control as coercive, i.e. it keeps us in our place through various forms of oppression ranging from punishment to ideological domination (Savvas, 1997, p. 484). News paper stories, for example, are selected and ordered in accordance with certain news values. Those stories deemed the most newsworthy are given front – page coverage and large headlines, less newsworthy stories are placed further back in the newspaper and given less print space (Agenda – setting theory, Laughey, 2007). When the media is profiling the criminal it usually tries to find decline of moral values in society, resulting from factors such as the breakdown of the family, lack of discipline in schools and the decline in religion. According to Young (1998): ‘theories of society do not come into being out of blue’. They arise out of suspicions and intuitions of people trying to make sense of the world around them: they arise out of real problems facing people in the social world which confronts them’ (Savvas, 1997). To take the example, the nursery rhyme focuses on the different ways girls and boys are socialized: What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and...
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