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
To introduce students to the crime and media nexus.
To provide a framework for interpreting and evaluating the information-value, symbolic meaning and entertainment-value of various media products.
To explore media-narrated stories of crime and law.
To explore any relationships between the media and deviant/criminal behaviour.
To cultivate an awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary research and thinking.
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, 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.
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 the nature of transdisciplinary media analysis. Employs 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.
As before, but also able to identify 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. Explains the relevance of these portrayals for media, economy and politics drawing from good knowledge about these systems.
Students will be familiar with the concepts of popular legal culture, media panics, typical narratives and modes of telling in media on crime and law.
Students will understand the relation of media and crime and the repercussions on law and politics.
Students will be able to interpret and evaluate media products and to assess their function as sources of information and entertainment for the audience
Students will comprehend the economic, legal, political and other socio-cultural phenomena which are typically related to media and crime.
Students will know how the media influence deviant behaviour and political responses.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Lecture elements, group work in class, individual time reading and working with material, discussion in class, student presentations in class
Students reading texts and analysing media material. Students working on essay and presentation in class.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- 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.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- 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
- Capacity to identify and describe the causes and consequences of social order and change in specific contexts.
- Ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions.
- Appreciate a range of research designs and strategies and how they may be applied to sociological investigations.
- Competence to carry out a piece of sociological research using either primary or secondary data, or both.
- Be able to recognize how social data and sociological knowledge apply to questions of public policy.
- Undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations of social questions, issues and problems, using statistical and other data derived from research publications.
- The ability to identify criminological problems, formulate questions and investigate them
- Competence in using criminological theory and concepts to understand crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance; and representations of crime, victimisation, and responses to these, as presented in the traditional and new media and official reports
- The capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical information about crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of crime
- The ability to recognise a range of ethical problems associated with research and to take action in accordance with the guidelines of ethical practice developed by the British Society of Criminology and cognate professional bodies
- The ability to identify and deploy a range of research strategies including qualitative and quantitative methods and the use of published data sources and to select and apply appropriate strategies for specific research problems; and the ability to present the philosophical and methodological background to the research of others and to one's own research.