Call for Chapters--Media Constructions of Class and Crime: Perpetuating Dangerous Myths
Call for Papers Date:
We are seeking contributions for an edited book that explores the influence of media on social constructions of crime in relationship to socioeconomic class.
It is well established that the criminal justice system regularly favors the interests of corporations over the rights of individuals. Indeed, the current Supreme Court, which in its landmark Citizens United case strongly reaffirmed that corporations are “people,” has recently delivered rulings that clearly benefit the agenda of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while dismissing the claims of wage-earning workers, unions, and everyday consumers. Accordingly, wealthy citizens tend to receive preferential treatment over the working- and low-income classes.
Yet the social construction of criminality and criminals is not merely reproduced through the courts. The ideology sustaining these definitions of crime and the people who commit them are reinforced through numerous cultural institutions, including schools, churches, governments and, of course, the media.
Again and again the media disproportionately depict criminals as powerless or poor and from the discarded fringes of society, while their affluent, white-collar, lawbreaking counterparts receive far less attention than their offenses merit.
Interestingly, though, the media could not avoid covering the growing Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011, which forced into public consciousness the fact that there is a gross disparity in the distribution of income and wealth in the United States and that the political-economic system biases the extreme well-to-do who are in a position to manipulate the financial markets to their own advantage even while taking down the world economy. Yet few of these elite schemers ever have to pay the price by serving significant time in prison.
Given the increased awareness of the unequal treatment of rich and poor in matters of justice, the time is ripe for a book that examines media constructions of criminality in relationship to class. How the media perpetuate outlooks that, regardless of the economic climate, continue to frame criminals in stereotypical ways, thus privileging the powerful over the marginalized, is of special concern.
Naturally, discussions of class inevitably intersect with other social categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, and citizenship status. Consequently, submissions that reflect these points of junction are highly welcomed.
Some of the media vehicles that could be investigated within the context of the topic include but are not limited to: print and online news coverage, broadcast news coverage, TV reality crime shows, daytime TV courtroom programs, truTV (formerly Court TV) channel, TV or film crime dramas, TV or film crime documentaries, gangsta rap, mediated surveillance, cybercrime, blog news coverage, viral crime stories, and crime watch social media networks.
We invite submissions that collectively implement diverse methodological approaches (archival research, content analysis, qualitative interviews, surveys, textual analysis, and so on); cut across various disciplines, including criminal justice studies, cultural studies, media studies, psychology, and sociology; and present findings from a variety of theoretical frameworks.
Topics that could be considered include:
•Corporate criminals in film
•Gansta rap as corporate commodity
•Intersection of race and class in media representations of criminals
•News coverage and immigration
•News coverage and Occupy Wall Street arrests
•Media and the case of Treyvon Martin
•Media constructions of computer hackers and their corporate victims
•Media constructions of the jihadist
•Media constructions of white-collar criminality
•Reality crime TV and social control
•Social media as tools of surveillance vs. tools for police accountability
•truTV and the selection of criminals who receive blanket coverage
•TV courtroom programs and the framing of petty crime
Submissions should be 5,000 to 7,500 words in length and follow the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 6th ed. Also include an abstract that is 150 words or less. Please send an e-copy to each of the two editors listed in the contact information.
Department of Mass Communication
Criminal Justice Department
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