State Crime

Mind Map by charfitzjohn, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by charfitzjohn over 6 years ago


Links and points about state crime for Unit 4 of A2 Sociology (AQA)

Resource summary

State Crime
  1. State and human rights crimes
    1. There are state and international laws regarding human rights
      1. There is often reluctance to characterise activities of politicians + state officials as crimes
      2. State crime and criminology
        1. The state claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of force
          1. The use of force is viewed differently when it is perpetuated by individuals who are seen as terrorists.
            1. McLaughlin (2001): in both cases (state or terrorist) violence is being used, but in one case violence is seen as legitimate and in the other it is seen as illegitimate.
              1. Link to labelling theory
              2. The definition of what is legitimate and illegitimate violence is contested. E.g. those labelled as terrorists may see themselves as freedom fighters.
                1. Current example: The Israeli state may see those resisting their occupation as of Gaza as terrorists but many Arabs living in Gaza see Israel as a terrorist state
                2. Labels may shift over time, with people who were once labelled as terrorists becoming recognised as legitimate governments.
                  1. E.g. the transformation of the African National Congress in South Africa from a terrorist group to legitimate government and Nelson Mandela from a dangerous terrorist to a respected statesman
                  2. It is sometimes argued that the behaviour of terrorists is different from that of states because the use of terror for political ends often targets civilians.
                    1. E.g. 9/11 or the 7/7 bombings in London
                    2. Cohen (1996): War crimes have only recently become a criminological issue. They have become important because of: (1) the growth of the human rights movement and (2) the growth of victimology within criminology.
                    3. The extent of state and human rights crimes
                      1. There are no official statistics or victim surveys that enable us to estimate how extensive they are
                        1. Human rights/state crimes are often invisible and deliberately hidden from public scrutiny
                        2. Understanding state crimes
                          1. Croall (1998): particular roles are played by torturers, terrorists and war criminals to inflict pain or kill. These acts become accepted and routine.
                            1. Cohen (1996): Spiral of denial. People are often reluctant to admit that horrific acts are being committed. Initially the state denies the act, they are then confronted by evidence which they describe as 'self-defence' and justify it as a matter of protecting national security
                              1. Cohen (1996): Techniques of neutralisation: justification and acknowledgement of deviance/crime.
                                1. Denial of injury
                                  1. Denial of victim
                                    1. Denial of responsibility
                                      1. Condemnation of the condemners
                                        1. Appeal to higher loyalty e.g. religion, sacred mission, working for a higher cause
                                        2. Merton: Strain theory. State agencies often have conflicting goals
                                          1. E.g. Chambliss (1995): the activities of the central Intelligence Agency often broke international laws because they priorities ridding the world of communism
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