Insights Into Cultural Criminology?

Do you have an opinion? Did you watch the U.K riots? Interested in crime? Then read on!

I’m approaching the end of the Easter Holidays now and have spent the last week at home so I don’t have much to say about Uni life, but I have a lot of plans when I get back! Yesterday I watched ‘Our Crime’ on BBC iPlayer and thought I’d share some of my thoughts to demonstrate how you can develop your ‘Criminological imagination’ in your spare time.

This episode was different than the last because rather than using a narrator to provide an explanation, a string of witness accounts were used to provide a deeper understanding of the significance of those four days in August 2011. These accounts relate back to my modules this semester on Youth Crime and the Sociology of Deviance.

‘operation do-nothing was going well for the police’

This comment was made by somebody who saw the riots as entertainment and I decided to mention it first to highlight just how complicated this event was for the police. There has not been public disorder on this scale since the 1981 Brixton riots. This comment was made about two patrol officers, who are not riot Police, therefore it is not their job contain the disorder. The riot police were brave in their efforts but unfortunately the riots were impossible to contain in one place.

‘no post-code beef target the police’

‘dark side of the street culture’

This is really interesting for me because ‘Street culture’ and ‘post-code beef’ relate back to both presentations I did this semester. The first calls for a temporary truce between the gangs of London so that they may focus their efforts on the Police. A point about gangs by the way, even if the idea of them ‘waring’ and being ‘badmen’ seems ridiculous to rational people, the gangs still believe it, so the Police and other CJS agencies should address this ‘street culture’ like any other gang problem. ‘the dark-side of the street culture’ relates to a violent borough in East London and such a phrase could also imply that there are different levels of street culture which have yet to be revealed, perhaps where different crimes may take place.

‘a Gang is a team, it’s a circle of close knitted friends that have a common goal to do something’

The official definition for a gang is usually too broad and could include everybody so at least this definition is fair by not focusing on young people.

‘what did you do on your day off? Ah I dunno, I think I watched it on the tele’

This is from the same person who made the first quote, he is replying when asked what he did on his day off during the riots. This quote sums up the role of the media in today’s society and basically proves that in fact, the revolution has been televised. There are so many issues I could go into about this which relate back to my previous post about the fear of crime and also to my Youth Crime presentation titled ‘Violence: Portrayal and Performance’ but I’ll spare you the lecture.

There are other issues that need to be considered as a Criminology student; the civilian role during public disorder, should we intervene? And the long term impact of the post-riot sentencing, how will this affect our next generation? These are issues you can debate in your seminars when you become a Criminology student but in the mean time I suggest you keep up with the News and if you have an opinion then share it with the world, perhaps start your own blog.

Follow me on Twitter! @HarrisCrime

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Matt has now graduated from the University of Leicester and is no longer blogging for this site.

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