lec042110 - Sociology 101 Professor Deborah Carr Topic:...

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Sociology 101 Professor Deborah Carr Topic: Deviance and Crime (cont’d) and Demography/Population April 21, 2010 V. Why Are There So Many Violent Crimes in the United States? A. Data 1. The murder rate in the United States is four to five time higher than most other developed nations, including UK, Japan, Canada, and nations in Western Europe. A murder rate is the number of murders in a given year, per 100,000 population. The U.S. has a murder rate of roughly 5.5, compared to rates of 1 to 2 for each of the other countries named above. B. Explanations? (It is very difficult to empirically evaluate each of these hypotheses). 1. Socialization and media influence. a. Support/evidence. Some observers argue that violent images and murders are common in the United States. The frequency of such messages “normalizes” them, or sends the message that murder and violence are normal every-day occurrences. Scholars believe that media images showing murder/death with no consequences to the assailant are particularly harmful to children. i. Weapons effect theory (Berkowitz). In a study by Berkowitz and LePage (1967), participants were angered by an accomplice and then given the chance to aggress against him by administering electric shocks. In some situations, the interaction took place in a laboratory in which as 12-gauge shotgun and a .38 caliber revolver were in plain sight. In the other condition of the experiment, the guns were absent, and a neutral stimulus (badminton racket) was present. Angered participants were substantially more aggressive (gave higher shock intensities) when the guns were prominently displayed. The authors argue that guns serve as learned cues that help to elicit aggression. The mere presence of violent images normalizes the use of aggression as an accepted behavior. b. Counterevidence: The same violent movies, cartoons, videogames, and music videos aired in the United States are also aired abroad. C. Poverty/population heterogeneity
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This note was uploaded on 11/20/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 920:101 taught by Professor Carr during the Spring '10 term at Rutgers.

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lec042110 - Sociology 101 Professor Deborah Carr Topic:...

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