Posts Tagged ‘harm’
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.
ShortCuts to Sociology 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 sociological methods and theory. 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 Dr Gary Potter outlines the difference between Primary and Secondary Green Crime.
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.
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’)