Crime and the Media
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Stefan Machura
Overall aims and purpose
Overall aims and purpose 1. To introduce students to the crime and media nexus. 2. To provide a framework for interpreting and evaluating the information-value, symbolic meaning and entertainment-value of various media products. 3. To explore media-narrated stories of crime and law. 4. To explore any relationships between the media and deviant/criminal behaviour. 5. To cultivate an awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary research and thinking. 6. To cultivate an appreciation of the significance of media narratives for different audiences.
Media portrayals of crime and law are numerous. They form an object of inexhaustible interest to audiences. Many people learn about crime and law from the media, especially from newspapers, documentaries, books and films. Media portrayals often contributed decisively to changes in public opinion and politics. Also, deviant behaviour can be influenced by media. Media construct deviance (e.g. by identifying ‘folk devils‘), but media also offer cultural templates for people involved in deviant activities. Media stand accused of causing or informing crime.
- The module deals with the cultural and political significance of media and crime.
- The difference between the “real” and the “fiction” will be only one topic.
- Also, students learn about historic, political, legal and other backgrounds of media stories.
- Major crime narratives employed by media will be identified.
- The standard patterns of telling and other technical means of media are analysed.
- The audience’s reaction to media and its use of media also form a topic of the class.
Understand the basic relation of media and crime. Knowledge of typical narratives in the media on crime and law. Ability to analyse media portrayals of crime and to assess their message for the audience. Knowledge about the media portrayal's relation to law, economy and politics. Basic understanding of transdisciplinary media analyses. Ability to employ different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Basic knowledge on the significance of media narratives for different audiences. Demonstrate an attempt to avoid major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy. Demonstrate some level of critical assessment.
C- to C+
In addition to the above: Demonstrate knowledge of key areas of Crime and the Media. Have some, if only limited, evidence of background study into the relation of Crime and the Media. Be focussed on the question/task with only some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. Attempt to present relevant and logical arguments while not producing a large number of factual errors. Describe some major links between the topics discussed. Attempt to analyse and/or explain and critique problems. Be free of major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy.
A sound knowledge of media and crime and of its relation to law, economy and politics. Critical analysis of media and their message. Knowledge of a variety of media narratives on crime and law. A good understanding of and ability to discuss the nature of transdisciplinary media analysis. Employs and critically discusses several disciplinary and theoretical approaches to the analysis of media and crime. Detailed knowledge of the uses and effects of media stories by different actors and audiences. Good presentation and structure and only very few factual errors.
As before, but also able to identify and critique alternative narratives which do not appear regularly in media stories on law and crime. Ability to relate the chosen methods of telling to different methods for newspaper articles, novels, songs and films of crime and law. Discusses critically the relevance of these portrayals for law, crime, the media, economy and politics drawing from good knowledge about these systems. Free of factual errors.
- Be able to discuss and critically evaluate media products and to competently assess their function as sources of information and entertainment for the audience.
- Be able to discuss and critically evaluate how the media influence deviant behaviour and political responses.
- Be able to discuss and critically evaluate concepts of popular legal culture, media panics, typical narratives and modes of telling in media on crime and law.
- Be able to discuss and critically evaluate the economic, legal, political and other socio-cultural phenomena which are typically related to media and crime.
- Be able to discuss and critically evaluate the relation of media and crime and the repercussions on law and politics.
Be able to discuss and critically evaluate the influence of media on the prestige of different professions related to the field of law and crime.
|Poster presentation followed by questions and answers||50.00|
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Seminars containing of short introduction lectures, group work, screening and discussion of films and TV series episodes, or working with newspaper articles or news websites. Students also contribute with power point presentations in class on specific topics.
Students doing background reading and prepare for assignments.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
- awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
- the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
Resource implications for students
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/sxy-3004.html
Asimow, Michael, and Jessica Silbey (2020). Law and Popular Culture. Lake Mary, FL: Vandeplas. Carrabine, Eamonn (2008). Crime, Culture and the Media. Cambridge: Polity. Cohen, Stanley (1972). Folk Devils and Moral Panics. Oxford: Blackwell. Gies, Lieve (2008). Law and the Media: the Future of an Uneasy Relationship. Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish. Greenfield, Steve, Guy Osborn and Peter Robson (2010). Film and the Law. 2nd edition. Oxford, Hart Publishing. First edition: London: Cavendish 2001. Lenz, Timothy O. (2003). Changing Images of Law in Film and Television Crime Stories. New York: P. Lang. Luhmann, Niklas (2000), The Reality of the Mass Media. Cambridge, Polity. Machura, Stefan (2011). Media Influence on the Perception of the Legal System. In: Knut Papendorf, Stefan Machura, and Kristian Andenæs (eds.), Understanding Law in Society, Zürich/Berlin: Lit, pp. 239-283. Machura, Stefan (2007). An Analysis Scheme for Law Films. Baltimore Law Review, 36:329-345 Machura, Stefan (2017). Representations of Law, Rights and Criminal Justice. In Oxford Research Encyclop¬edia of Criminology. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.013.201. Machura, Stefan, and Llewelyn Davies (2013). “Law is an Odd Thing” – Liberalism and Law in the TV-series “The Good Wife”. Kriminologisches Journal, 44:279-294. Machura, Stefan and Peter Robson (2001, eds.), Law and Film. Oxford: Blackwell 2001. Asimow Michael (2009, eds.), Lawyers in Your Living Room! Law on Television. Chicago: ABA Press. Marsh, Ian, and Gaynor Melville (2019). Crime, Justice and the Media. London: Routledge. Martin, Greg (2019). Crime, Media and Culture. New York: Routledge. McElroy, Ruth (ed., 2017). Contemporary British Television Crime Drama: Cops on the Box. London: Routledge. Moore, Sarah E. H. (2014). Crime and the Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Picart, Caroline Joan S., Michael Hviid Jacob¬sen, and Cecil Greek (2016, eds.). Framing Law and Crime: An Interdisciplinary Anthology. Lanham, Maryland: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Rowman and Littlefield. Podlas, Kimberlianne (2001). Please Adjust Your Signal: How Television’s Syndicated Courtrooms Bias Our Juror Citizenry. American Business Law Journal 39:1-24. Rafter, Nicole (2006), Shots in the Mirror. Crime Films and Society. 2nd ed., New York: Oxford University Press. Rafter, Nicole, and Michelle Brown (2011). Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture. New York: New York University Press. Rafter, Nicole et al. (2016, eds.). Oxford Encyclopedia on Crime, Media, and Popular Culture. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.013.198. Rapping, Elaine (2003). Law and Justice as Seen on TV. New York: New York University Press. Robson, Peter, and Jennifer Schulz (2016, eds.), A Transnational Study of Law and Justice on TV. Oxford: Hart.. Sharp, Cassandra, and Marett Leiboff (eds., 2016). Cultural Legal Studies: Law's Popular Cultures and the Metamorphosis of Law. Abingdon: Routledge. Surette, Ray (2015). Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice: Images, Realities, and Policies. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning. Strickland, Rennard et al. (2006, eds.), Screening Justice – The Cinema of Law. Buffalo, N.Y.: Hein.
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- M93B: BA Criminology & Criminal Just (4yr with Incorp Foundation) year 3 (BA/CCJ1)
- M931: BA Criminology & Criminal Justice with International Exp year 4 (BA/CJIE)
- M930: BA Criminology & Criminal Justice year 3 (BA/CRIM)
- M93P: BA Criminology and Criminal Justice with Placement Year year 4 (BA/CRIMP)