Posts Tagged ‘deviance’
A relatively easy way for students to get a handle on Left Realism is through three simple visualisations that can then be used to build-up a picture of this general approach to both explaining crime and deviance and suggesting solutions to the problem of crime. These visualisations involve:
A PowerPoint version of the above is also available for download.
We can explore these ideas in more detail in a number of ways.
Day Workshop with renowned sociologist and film-maker, Dr Steve Taylor
Strain, Labelling, Realism etc. are still important because they underpin a lot of research in the contemporary study of Crime and Deviance. But supposing your students could demonstrate this with new concepts & 21st. Century research examples?
This Workshop consolidates the key theories and concepts and then illustrates their application with clear, easy to understand up to date research. For example, students read about moral panics, but how much more impressive could an answer be if they were able to bring in the recent concept of ‘amoral panics’?
- Crime, Deviance, Order and Control: clarifying sociological approaches.
- Globalisation & Crime: filling the gaps by linking to familiar sociological approaches
- Researching Crime: methods clarified, evaluated & illustrated with new ideas & interactive Q & A practice.
- Theory & Method: this challenging topic laid bare, simplified and illustrated.
Free Crime and Deviance films provided!
Additional Sessions on Family, Youth Culture & Research Methods, if required.
What Teachers say
“Delivered with a real affection for the subject with pace and professionalism Partly as a consequence of working with Steve we had an excellent set of results”: Stephen Base Verulam College
“Excellent day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills”: Ann-Marie Taylor Coleg Cambria
“Brilliant exam focused training”: Mandy Gordon, Highfield School
“Our students loved it, Steve got them to think outside the box”: Pauline Kendal, Bedford Sixth Form
What Students Say
‘He was even better than in the videos. Loved it.’
‘Makes the theories come alive by linking them to the studies’.
‘Liked learning about the new studies, especially the gang ones.’
‘I feel so much more confident after Steve’s class.’
‘I could never understand theory and methods and now I do.’
Cost: inclusive & regardless of number of schools attending
Half day: £300
For more information, contact:
A few years ago we did some interviews for a film on organised crime that, for one reason or another (money, probably), didn’t get made – if memory serves we were going to include a version on ShortCuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 1 but it didn’t make the final selection.
Anyway, I was searching through an old hard disk recently and came across an interview we shot with Dr James Treadwell – who’s something of an expert on organised crime – and decided it might be worthwhile to edit the interview and put it out as part of our occasional, free, Shortcuts to Sociology series. So that’s what I did.
The film covers some basic introductory stuff (such as defining organised crime) and illustrates a number of different models of organised crime (from clan models to network structure models).
It’s the kind of material that can be used to introduce a broad range of ideas (and misconceptions) about organised crime – both inside and outside the classroom for flipped teaching: students are introduced to a topic overview that can be considered in greater depth and detail inside the classroom.
Wilkins’ (1964) concept of a deviancy amplification spiral (or ‘Positive Feedback Loop’ as he called it) has been a staple of the crime and deviance Specification for many years and there’s a range of ways to present the feedback process, both statically and a bit more dynamically.
Examples of a “successful” feedback loop are, however, a bit thinner on the ground: while “mods and rockers” in the early 1960s and “dangerous dogs” in the early 1990’s are good historical examples, a more-contemporaneous example is the banning of “legal highs” in 2016 – the consequences of which are just starting to work their way through the criminal justice system, thereby providing an interesting application of the amplification spiral…
Having spent the past couple of years working on Psychology films we’ve decided to turn our efforts towards a new volume of crime videos – a follow-up to “Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Volume 1” imaginatively called “Volume 2”. We burnt the candle at both ends to come up with that corker.
Anyway, one of the scripts I’m currently working on (Social Constructionism) includes the work of John Braithwaite and it struck me that one aspect of crime prevention that tends to get crowded-out of textbook discussions amidst all the talk about zero-tolerance policing, target-hardening and a general “war on crime” is his notion of restorative justice.
This is something of a shame, not only because it offers a way out of the seemingly endless “retribution cycle” of offending – punishment – reoffending but also because it’s a useful (and somewhat rare) example of a broadly social constructionist approach to crime prevention that can be used by students as a counterweight to the variety of prevention strategies that focus, to varying degrees, on an acceptance of crime and a strategy of “making crime more difficult”.
The ShortCuts series of films Is designed to give teachers and students very brief introductions to / overviews of a range of contemporary sociological ideas through the medium of leading academics.
In this film, Professor Sandra Walklate offers a quick (2-minute) illustrated introduction to the concept of “the criminality of the State”.
The third – and probably final – free chapter from Holt and Lewis’ “A2 Psychology: The Student’s Textbook”, this one covers addictive behaviour in terms of main areas:
Biological, cognitive and learning models of addiction, including explanations for initiation, maintenance and relapse
Explanations for specific addictions, including smoking and gambling
2. Factors affecting addictive behaviour
Vulnerability to addiction including self-esteem, attributions for addiction and social context of addiction
The role of media in addictive behavior
3. Reducing addictive behaviour
Models of prevention, including theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behaviour
Types of intervention, including biological, psychological, public health interventions and legislation, and their effectiveness.
Opportunities for students to link crime, deviance and research methods in a practical way are often limited by the constraints of time and space – but one simple approach that can be used effectively in the classroom is a self-report crime questionnaire. Although there are a few of these kicking around (from Ann Campbell’s onward…) this is a relatively recent one I’ve put together based on questions contained in the UK Crime and Justice Survey.
It can be downloaded as a Word document so that you can amend it easily (you may not want to include all the 40+ questions and you may want to substitute some of your own…).
The document suggests some possible classroom uses for the questionnaire – from data and methodological analysis if you’re leaning toward research methods to using the data to think critically about official crime statistics based on categories like age and gender.
The package includes a little bit of background on breaching experiments and a couple of different anomie variations – mild and strong – depending on the type of short, sharp, dose of anomie you want to impart to your students.
I’ve long been interested in the idea of using simulations (and games – see Disclaimer below) as teaching tools – see, for example, a couple of online efforts I created many moons ago when the Internet was still young and frames seemed such a good idea:
- Education and Differential Achievement: The Sociological Detective http://www.sociology.org.uk/revtece1.htm
Although the game is incomplete it should convey the overall idea that “studying sociology” at A-level can be a bit like being a detective – you identify “suspects”, develop theories to explain social phenomena and collect / evaluate different types of evidence.
- Crime, Deviance and Methods: The Great Chocolate Bar Theft http://www.sociology.org.uk/game1.htm (be aware the email answers part of the sim will not work for technical reasons that are just too boring to bother explaining)
One of the problems, aside from having the time and ability to think them up, has always been the difficulty of finding materials that not only delight, surprise and occasionally befuddle students but which also have teaching content that repays all the time and effort required to set-up and use them effectively in the classroom.
The Internet has, to some extent, made this easier in terms of finding stuff and it has to be noted that just about everything that’s presented here has been invented by someone other than myself. Where I know who created the materials they’re given appropriate credit but in some instances I don’t have the first idea about the identity of their creator, so if you are that person I’d just like to say “Sorry”, “Thank You” and “I’ve hidden all my money in off-shore trusts, so don’t bother suing”.
Labelling is a staple theory in the sociology of crime – both in its own right (Becker’s concept of the Outsider, for example) and in terms of its incorporation into other theoretical explanations (Radical Criminology, for example) – and in this ShortCut Professor Sandra Walklate outlines some of the theory’s key ideas:
- Social interaction and shared understandings
- Labelling process
- Social contexts
- Social reaction
- Primary and secondary deviation
- Tolerance levels
- Deviant labels
- Self-worth and self-identity
In this ShortCut Dr Matt Follet briefly explains how consumption patterns in contemporary societies link into ideas about environmental / green crime and the concept of harm. It’s available in two flavours and while it’s usual to say that “you pays your money and you takes your choice” this would be a bit superfluous because both versions are free.
In this ShortCut Dr Matt Follet, Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, briefly explains why crime is a social construct using a simple example.
As with its sociological sister, ShortCuts to Psychology is a new series of free films designed to clearly and concisely illustrate key ideas and concepts across a range of topics – from family, through deviance to psychological theory and methods. The films are:
- short: between 30 seconds and a couple of minutes
- focused on definitions, explanations and analysis
- framed around expert sociologists in their field.
In this film Professor David Wilson offers up a definition of offender profiling.
Keeping abreast of the various statistical sources and data on crime can be both time-consuming and somewhat confusing for teachers and students – both in terms of the volume of data and the reliability and validity of different data sources.
For these reasons the Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin is a brilliant resource for a-level sociologists in terms of both crime statistics and the research methodologies underpinning their production (so it’s good for information covering both Crime and Deviance and Crime and Methods in Context).
It’s been running since 2010 and we’ve recently decided to give it a complete redesign, partly because the old design was getting a bit long-in-the-tooth and partly because hardware and browser development has moved-on over the past few years.
A subscription to the Channel costs just £17.50 per year and this gives students and teachers access to:
• around 150 minutes of video resources.
• around 70 minutes of podcasts.
• 23 different Text resources, including book chapters and update materials.
• 28 PowerPoint slides and presentations.
If you want to check-out the type of resources on offer the Channel Home Page has links to sample Text, PowerPoint, Audio and Video files.
Aside from the issues it raises about globalisation, social class and social inequality, this article is also useful as a contemporary example of labelling theory. How, for example, the label attached to something, such as “taxation” and “welfare benefits”, changes both our perception of – and behaviour towards – it.
In my various travels around the web I pick-up bits-and-pieces that I think might be useful and this PowerPoint presentation on White-Collar Crime is one such piece.
I don’t know who produced it (the meta data gave “IT Support” as the author, which wasn’t much use) and it seems to be one of a pair (Corporate Crime is the other, but I obviously never found it).
It’s a useful set of slides with information taken from a range of sources – nothing too detailed but it has plenty of examples and has a neat, jaunty, presentation style.
Howard Becker’s idea that “deviance is in the eye of the beholder” is something to which students are introduced early in their course and you probably have a range of ways to illustrate it.
But, as Ian Luckhurst of Bridgwater College suggested to me, this short film not only gets the basic point across in an amusing and memorable way, it also tends to prompt lots of discussion around the topic…
One of the interesting things about the sociology of crime and deviance at a-level is that it invariably throws-up a range of what we might term “moral dilemmas” – acts that, while they might strictly and legally be called crimes, may be motivated more by an altruistic aesthetic – such as the desire to “right a moral wrong” or provide a wider community benefit – rather than, for example, simple personal gain.
These moral dilemmas – such as the one provided by this article (This student put 50 million stolen research articles online. And they’re free) – offer a good opportunity for students to debate the concept of deviance on a number of levels, such as:
• how and why is it socially constructed?
• deviance and power considered in terms of how, why and in whose interests laws are created, policed and enforced
• deviance and harm (such as financial, personal and wider-social)
The Part 1 Workbook looked at some general criticisms of conventional (positivist) approaches to understanding crime and criminals and the Part 2 Workbook builds on this critique by outlining an alternative approach based on the concept of social harm.
This contemporary approach argues we need to widen the way we see “crime” to include various forms of “detrimental activity” visited by “governments and corporations upon the welfare of individuals”. In this respect the Workbook covers four major areas:
• What are social harms?
• Elite culpabilities
• Crimes of the powerful
• A Critique of Risk
As with Part 1, key ideas and concepts are identified and outlined and the Workbook includes space for students to test their knowledge and understanding through a small number of simple critical tasks.
If you want to consolidate ideas about Crimes of the Powerful try our video short, featuring David Whyte’s research, available on-demand to rent or buy.
Although the concept of a “postmodern criminology” is, for various reasons, highly problematic this doesn’t mean that newer approaches to understanding and explaining crime don’t have something to offer the a-level sociologist. In this two-part extravaganza, therefore, we can look at two (yes, really) dimensions to this criminological shift through the medium of a couple of lovingly-prepared workbooks.
The first workbook – a critique of conventional criminology – helps students understand some of the points-of-conflict between conventional (positivist) and postmodern criminologies, with the focus on areas like:
• The ontological reality of crime
• The myth of crime
• Criminalisation, punishment and pain
• Crime control
The workbook identifies and explains these ideas and also includes space for students to test their knowledge and understanding through relatively simple critical tasks.
Recent pronouncements by the ONS, however, suggest students should look at the reliability of crime statistics more critically…
When looking at statistical relationships, a useful student exercise to demonstrate how social factors underpin the production of crime data is to examine their underlying causes.
This piece of research, from The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (Tact) and University of East Anglia, can be used to effectively illustrate this idea. It also has further interesting applications when looking at areas like the relationship between age and crime.
While the concept of a “postmodern criminology” may be somewhat nebulous, to say the least, the ideas underpinning constitutive criminology may be the closest we have.
The basic idea here is to adopt what Henry and Milovanovic (1999) call a holistic approach, involving a ‘duality of blame’ that moves the debate away from thinking about the ‘causes of crime’ and the ‘obsession with a crime and punishment cycle’, towards a ‘different criminology’ theorised around what Muncie (2000) terms social harm. To understand crime we have to ‘move beyond’ notions centred around ‘legalistic definitions’. We have to include a range of ideas (poverty, pollution, corporate corruption and the like) in any definition of harm and, more importantly, crime (which, as Henry and Milovanovic put it, involves ‘the exercise of the power to deny others their own humanity’)