Mass Media, Crime, and Justice

Raymond Surette

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online April 2011 | | DOI:
Mass Media, Crime, and Justice

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The impact of the mass media on crime and justice is recognized as substantial, and serious interest in the topic can be traced to a number of historical trials and crimes. Criticism of media actions and content was common but research was sparse and not rigorous until the Payne Fund studies of the 1930s. Relevant research soon broke into varied streams and disciplines and has competed with junk science, diatribes, and overstated conclusions about causality since. The current issues in the public mind revolve around the effect of publicity on the processing of criminal cases, the effect of violent media on social aggression and crime, and the effect of sexual media on sexual behavior. Additional ongoing lower-visibility issues involve the surveillance of public-space areas (such as parks and neighborhood streets), the generation of copycat crime, the relationship between news media and terrorism, pernicious effects from video games, and various efforts to use the media to reduce and solve crime. Mass media, crime, and justice encompass a broad set of disciplines such as law, sociology, criminology, communications and mass media, and theoretical perspectives such as diffusion, social learning, social constructionism, critical criminology, cognitive psychology and imitation. Under this broad umbrella, the study of social events from the discovery and investigation of crimes, arrest and crime prevention, criminal trials, to prison riots and escapes and social processes such as policy formation, news production, entertainment marketing, and criminalization and decriminalization of behaviors is included. As even this limited short list shows, the points of contact between a society’s mass media web and its extensive crime and justice system elements are numerous. Not surprisingly, the current literature and research are enormous, unwieldy, and widely dispersed. Here, sources are organized by media types, components of the criminal justice system, and areas of special interest. When a subarea is dominated by a particular theoretical perspective such as social learning, that is noted. Both seminal historical pieces and more recent research articles are provided when available.

Article.  11759 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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