CONSTRUCTING CRIME IN THE MEDIA: THE SOCIALOGICAL CONTRUCTIONIST PERSPECTIVE ON THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA ON THE PERCEPTION OF CRIME
"Anti-Social Behaviour On the Rise. Can Anything Be Done?", "We're Still the Break in Capital of Canada", "Hail of Bullets Wounds Passenger", and "Gang Attacks Prompt Warnings" are just a few of the headlines we see plastered on newspapers and repeated relentlessly throughout the nightly news. The amount of crime depicted throughout the media is astonishing and it is only natural that the public's outcry for harsher penalties, stringent laws and heavier enforcement is on the rise. Crime is an obvious social problem, due to it's attention and focus in the media, but it can be explained in an assortment of ways. For example, it can be seen as being derived from a social context, such as poverty and homelessness, or at the opposite end of the spectrum, constructed by the financially elite in defense of themselves (Fleras 138) and to further their own gains. Furthermore, sociologists have many different
perspectives of crime and what defines it. The functionalist revolves much of it's approach around the "[breakdown] in culture, society, or socializationâ¦" (Fleras 146) and the conflict theorist perspective focuses on "competition and conflict between social groupsâ¦" (Fleras 146). In addition, the symbolic interactionist perceives crime as "the by-products of interaction and interpretation within contexts that are shifting and situational" (Fleras 147). More recently, social constructionism has been an important sociological perspective in relation to crime as a social problem. This has been a reality in today's society, where "â¦popular perceptions do not jibe with the objective reality of the problem" (Heiner 106). However, with all of these different explanations and perspectives in mind, the media rarely exposes these "underlying causes and the context which surrounds [crime]" (McCormick 6), which...