California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: July 27, 2003
Latest Update: September 18, 2008
You will be held accountable for the readings and discussion questions listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.
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Week 4: Week of September 21, 2008
Email me your midterm visual project topic(s) for pre-approval.
Topic: Constructing Crime Problems
- Potter and Kappeler. Constructing Crime. Preface, Introduction, Chapter 6-13 .
- Rafter . Shots in the Mirror. Chapter --.
- Surette . Media, Crime and Criminal Justice . Chapter --.
- Documentary : "New's Media Coverage of Crime and Victimization" (to be shown in class)
- Metaphor and Theory. Read the Blind Men and the Elephant fable. Think about how this fable relates to the course.
- "theory, policy, practice"
- W.I. Thomas "Definition of the Situation
Lecture related links:
Concepts to be covered:
- urban legends
- perception v. reality
- fear v. fact
- sound bites
- moral panic
Note: Incorporate this week's documentarry into your answers these discussion questions.
Note: Incorporate this week's documentary into your answers.
- According to Best and Hutchinson, where do urban legends come from? Why do they persist?
- Chermak concluded that "news sources involve themselves in the news production process to further their own social control "(P&K, p. 139). Do you agree or disagree with Chermak? Why.
- Throughout Part 2 of Potter and Kappeler's Constructing Crime, why is there such a disparity between perception and reality, (i.e, personal threat and actual social harm)?
- Can you think of another example of the media's construction of a social problem? What is the latest problem getting noticeable media attention? why.
- In Part 2, which author best explains the social construction of a crime problem? Why.
Suggested Creative Measures:
Note: Start thinking about ideas for your creative measures. Must relate to "media, crime, and the criminal justice system." Must be approved before starting your creative measure. Cannot be something that you are doing or have done for another course. Research cannot be 100% online (i.e., google, askjeeves). Must conduct library research using scholarly works, (not the popular press -- Time Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated). No term papers! Allow time to dialogue and present your creative measure in class. Email me your idea.
- Make an "explosion box/card" that focuses on this week's topic, "Constructing Crime Problems."
- Research an "urban legend." Where did it come from?
- Research the "fear factor" (the fear of crime). How does the media increase and/or decrease the fear of crime?
- Watch the local or national news for a week or two. Observe examples of how the media instills "fear of crime" in its audience.
- What is the latest crime related "epidemic"? Research its origin and development of this "epidemic." Why is it considered an "epidemic"?
- Valerie Callahan. Feeding the Fear of Crime:Crime-related media and Support for Three Strikes.
- Lawrence Lessig. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University, has made his book free online.
- Robert McChesney. Rich Media, Poor Democracy.
- Bernard Goldberg. Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.
- Bernard Goldberg. Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite.
- Herbert Schiller. Information Inequality.
- Internet Movie Database
Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times
Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Guardian
Wall Street Journal -The Weekly Standard - The Nation
Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - The Washington Post
Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor
Indymedia - BBC News - New Profile - Progressive Sociologists Network
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