здесь

Blog

Archive for March, 2016

Media Representations: UK TV Tropes

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

The concept of a “media trope” refers to the recurrent use of particular ideas, themes and the like within (and sometimes across) different media and while tropes are often simple stylistic devices used to convey necessary information to an audience in a short space of time (Hollywood films, for example, use various recurring devices to denote “good” and “bad” characters) they can also be a lazy way of stereotyping whole groups of people.

This is something TV drama does a lot – and these are some of my “favourite” UK TV Tropes.

(more…)

Understanding Crime and Deviance in Postmodernity: Part 2 – Deviance as Harm

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

blog_crime2The 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.

 

Understanding Crime and Deviance in Postmodernity: Part 1

Monday, March 21st, 2016

blog_crime1Although 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.

Really Simple Series: Five-Minute Feedback Form

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

5mfbformGetting feedback from students can help you:

  1. Check student understanding at an individual level.
  2. Reflect on your teaching in terms of how lesson content is conveyed and understood.

But it can also have practical and theoretical drawbacks:

• In terms of the former, for example, it can be time-consuming to create and interpret.

• In terms of the latter there are potential expectancy problems – students effectively tell you what they think you want to hear.

One way to avoid these problems is to develop a quick and simple way of gathering feedback – and this is where the five-minute feedback form comes into play. The form is given to students to complete at the end of a lesson and allows you to gather evaluation data in a way that focuses on identifying:

(more…)

Methods in Context: Crime and Official Statistics

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

blog_policeWhile the validity of Official Crime Statistics has long been questioned, their reliability has tended to be assumed.

Recent pronouncements by the ONS, however, suggest students should look at the reliability of crime statistics more critically…

Methods in Context: Crime

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

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.

blog_care

“It’s just banter”: Applying Matza’s “techniques of neutralisation” to ‪#‎everydaysexism‬

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Although Matza’s ideas about “Delinquency and Drift” are 50 years old, this doesn’t mean they can’t be applied to contemporary examples in the A-level classroom – as this video with its examples of “Misogyny in British universities” probably attests.

This kind of material also illustrates two further ideas that are worth exploring:

a. The rarity of overt examples of middle-class deviance in the media.

Does this flow from the fact such deviance is actually quite rare?

Or does it stem from a media preoccupation with “crimes of the powerless”?

b. The particular technique of neutralisation employed by the perpetrators (“condemning the condemnators”) is itself interesting for what it tells us about the power of middle3 and upper class deviants to “fight back”. By “accusing the accusers” in this way (by suggesting they’re failing to understand “it’s not misogyny, merely humerous banter”) there is an attempt to shift the balance away from the perpetrator and onto the victim. The perpetrator, in other words, as victim.

The Functions of Crime

Friday, March 11th, 2016
Functions of Crime

Functions of Crime

This PowerPoint file combines text, graphics, audio and video to outline four types of Functionalist theory on crime and deviance:

  1. Durkheimian,
  2. Strain (Merton),
  3. General Strain
  4. Subcultural.

A self-selected, unrepresentative of anyone-but-themselves, sample of reviewers have described this resource as:

“Brilliant”; “Utterly amazing” and “Too complicated to follow”.

Is this, as Meatloaf so perceptively once asserted, a case of “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”?

Judge for yourself…

 

Introducing Sociology: Video as a visual dimension to teaching about norms

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

If you want to add a visual dimension to your students’ understanding of norms the Can of Worms YouTube Channel has a selection of short films you can use as illustrative material. There are quite a few films from which to choose, so it probably pays to be selective.

The focus, as ever, is on using norm-breaking behaviour (“breeching experiments”) to illustrate the existence, importance and effects of norms on our everyday lives.

Taking things a little further, some of the clips can be used to illustrate concepts like the definition of a situation (how people become confused when they define a situation as one thing but other people define as something else) and Merton’s use of anomie (how people respond to situations in which norms clearly apply but which they can’t, for whatever reason, understand or follow).

If you’re looking for a more-general introduction to sociology and sociological thinking, have a look at our Introducing Sociology films – What is Sociology? is available on-demand or as part of our new Introduction to Sociology DVD

Beyond Milgram: Obedience and Identity

Monday, March 7th, 2016

In the early 1960s two apparently-unrelated events, separated by thousands of miles, took place that, in their own way, shocked the world.

The first, in early 1961, was the Jerusalem trial of Adolph Eichmann. He was accused – and subsequently convicted – of being one of the organisers of the Nazi Concentration Camps in which millions of innocent victims were sent to their deaths.

The second, a few months later, was a series of experiments carried out in and around Yale University, by Stanley Milgram.

What connects these two events is obedience and, more specifically, the idea of “blindly obeying” orders given by those in authority.

  • In Eichmann’s case “blind obedience” was manifested in his defence – both during and after the trial – that he was merely the agent of a higher, more-powerful, will. He was, he claimed, guilty of nothing more than being a loyal soldier; one who simply “obeyed the orders” he was given.
  • In the case of Milgram’s “Teachers”, “blind obedience” was apparently manifested in the willingness of two-thirds (66%) of his volunteers to deliver what they believed were lethal electric shocks to “Learners”. Were Milgram’s Teachers simply “obeying the orders” given to them by Milgram’s experimenters?

(more…)