Outline the View That Society Is Both Fearful of and Fascinated by Crime

Topics: Sociology, Moral panic, Morality Pages: 3 (839 words) Published: July 18, 2010
Outline the view that Society is both Fearful of, and Fascinated by Crime.

To explore why Society is both fearful and fascinated by crime, we need to understand firstly what is meant by ‘crime’. A crime can be taken as a specific act of deviance which breaks the formal rules or laws as stated by that specific culture or society. A crime is something that is unacceptable to society as well as is forbidden by the law. Anything that is unacceptable to society but is allowed by law is not a crime. The normative definition of crime is considered to be abnormal behaviour that goes against the existing norms and cultural standards. The norms and cultural standards actually define how people should conduct themselves. Therefore a crime can depend on whether you look at it from a legal or normative definition. The law is different from country to country and society to society, with different definitions of crime. What may seem wrong in one society may be perfectly normal in another. This meaning of crime is more widely known as a Social Construction. What defines a crime has changed over the centuries, and years from today what is considered a crime now will no longer be one and there will be many new crimes as a result of social construction. This essay will attempt to explain why Society is both Fearful of and Fascinated by crime.

So what makes us fearful of crime? The news and press are filled with horror stories of abductions, murder and abuse to name a few, but was it always like this? In the subsequent years after the Second World War. Stories are told of ‘the good old days’ where there was ‘more respect for authority’, and people could leave their front doors unlocked. There were no such things as hard drugs and children could play without fear of abduction. The local bobby was known to all and there was a strong family and community feel. Compare this to the present day, where we are subjected to gangs of young people terrorising housing estates or built...
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