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Topics in Criminology

Crime and Criminal Behaviour

You must also include a minimum of one academic source in your paper. Information on locating and referencing academic sources is provided below and on the course website.
Topic 1: Crime and Criminal Behaviour
Criminology involves the study of criminal behaviour. What factors might explain how behaviour comes to be defined as criminal? Consider one or two examples from the media of behaviour that is not considered criminal, but which arguably results in harm to society. Should this behaviour be criminalized? Why or why not? Alternatively, consider one or two examples from the media of activity currently defined as criminal that you believe should not be illegal. Explain why you think this is so. (You can also consider an example of each type of behaviour.) Do you think the behaviour under consideration is deviant? Why or why not? How does this classification relate to whether it should or should not be criminal?

Topic 2: Moral Panics
In class we’ve discussed the notion of moral panics. Define this term and identify the distinguishing features of moral panics; how do they develop? Select one or two news articles that you think exemplify a moral panic and explain why you think the selected phenomenon meets the features of a moral panic? Are there
measures of social control proposed in the news article aimed at controlling the behaviour of individuals noted in the article? Discuss how you think the moral panic developed using one of the theories discussed in lecture (grassroots, elite-engineered, or interest group).

Topic 3: Victimology
Define victimology and discuss its historical roots as well as the emergence of victims' rights. Identify some of the services currently available for victims of crime. Do you think the needs of victims are currently being met in the Canadian CJS? Locate one or two news articles that discuss the role of victims in the Canadian CJS. Relate this article to your discussion of victimology and victims’ rights. What changes could be made to victim services to better meet victim needs? Your discussion should consider that the CJS must balance both crime control and due process models in responding to crime.

Topic 4: Psychological Criminology
Locate one or more media articles on a high-profile criminal offender and apply a psychological perspectiveon crime to describe and explain their behaviour. How useful do you think psychological theories are in general in explaining the phenomena of crime?

Topic 5: Social Disorder and Social Structure
Certain areas of the Lower Mainland (e.g., the Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside or Surrey’s Whalley Strip) are associated with high levels of poverty and social disorder. Chose one or two newspaper articles that addresses or relates to social issues in one or more of these areas and then apply a sociological theory to explain these phenomena. Formulate an overall opinion on the utility of sociological explanations inaiding in the understanding of crime in specific locales.

Topic 6: Elite Crime
Consider the disparity in the treatment of corporate or white-collar crime and street crime by the criminal justice system. Chose an example of each, as represented in the media, to compare. How would a critical  or radical criminology explain this difference?

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