Discuss whether you feel that some types of media (films, books, electronic video games, for example) are more criminogenic than others or whether some content is more dangerous than other content.
Discuss the differences between cultures that appear to have large amounts of criminogenic media but small levels of copycat crime, such as Japan. Identify several countries that have higher levels of both, such as the United States. What might change in a culture to increase the copying of media portrayed crimes?
Why do you feel that the media often portrays law enforcement in a poor light rather than for their positive attributes?
How do crime shows portray police work? Is this helpful or harmful to the criminal justice system? Give examples.
Discuss how a trial by jury is a small-scale example of social constructionism.
The question of whether certain types of media are more criminogenic than others or whether some content is more dangerous than other content is a topic of debate. While media can influence individuals’ attitudes and behaviors to some extent, it is challenging to establish a direct causal link between consuming certain types of media and engaging in criminal activities. Various factors, such as personal predispositions, social environment, and mental health, also play significant roles.
Cultures like Japan may exhibit a paradoxical situation with a large amount of criminogenic media but relatively low levels of copycat crime. This discrepancy can be attributed to cultural, social, and historical factors. In Japan, there is a strong emphasis on discipline, social harmony, and respect for authority. The prevalence of strong community bonds and a well-functioning support system may contribute to mitigating the impact of criminogenic media on individuals’ behavior.
On the other hand, countries like the United States may have higher levels of both criminogenic media and copycat crime. Factors such as societal inequality, accessibility to firearms, and a fragmented support system can contribute to a higher susceptibility to media influences and the replication of criminal behaviors.
To increase the copying of media-portrayed crimes in a culture, several factors may come into play. These include a lack of strong social support systems, socio-economic disparities, glamorization of criminal behavior, and a sense of hopelessness or alienation. Societal changes that address these underlying issues could potentially increase the replication of media-portrayed crimes.
Media often portrays law enforcement in a poor light rather than highlighting their positive attributes due to several reasons. Firstly, focusing on negative aspects of law enforcement can create more dramatic and conflict-driven storylines, which can engage and captivate audiences. Moreover, it can serve as a critique of existing power structures and shed light on potential abuses of authority. Additionally, media representation can reflect public sentiment and skepticism towards law enforcement in certain contexts.
Crime shows often present a stylized and dramatized version of police work. While they may be entertaining and captivating, they can also contribute to misconceptions about the criminal justice system. For example, shows like “CSI” or “Law & Order” often depict forensic science as infallible, creating unrealistic expectations among viewers. This can be harmful as it may lead to misconceptions about the criminal justice process, jury expectations, and the role of evidence.
Trial by jury can be seen as a small-scale example of social constructionism. Social constructionism refers to the idea that individuals’ understanding of reality is shaped by their social and cultural context. In a trial by jury, the jurors collectively construct the truth and determine guilt or innocence based on their interpretation of evidence, witness testimonies, and legal arguments. Their decision is influenced by their background, experiences, biases, and the prevailing societal norms and values. The outcome of the trial is not an objective truth but a subjective interpretation constructed through social interactions within the jury system.