The media portrays young people to be threatening ‘yobs’ who are always violent and abusive. In Jewkes, Y. & Letherby, G. (2002 pg 248) Susan Batchelor explains how “The British national newspapers looked towards crime, particularly violent crime to generate a strong supply of stories. ” An example of this would be recent news coverage on ‘girl gangs’ committing violent crime. Susan Batchelor explains how the ‘girl gang’ coverage is a myth. The myth was created because for long periods of time people have been interested in gender and crime. Many criminologists look at why ‘boys will be boys’ and why women commit less crime.
Therefore when a woman commits a violent crime the story is more interesting as it destroys the perceived image of good girls and bad boys. This is where the media moral panic stemmed about girl gangs and how the states concern was shaped. After extensive research Susan Batchelor concluded there was no evidence of ‘girl gangs’ to be found. The media plays a large role in this states life therefore can be very influential. In Jewkes, Y. and Letherby, G. (2002 pg 130) Cohen, S. depicts the extent of the media coverage at the time of the ‘mods and rockers’ and the influence it had on society.
The chapter is entitled ‘Folk Devils’ which reflects the attitudes the state had on the ‘mods and rockers. ‘ The media often work with the police and correspond on stories or recent crimes either are interested in. Haines, K and Drakeford, M. (1998 pg27) show this by explaining how when a criminal record of a young person is printed in the tabloids it produces the “looked-for response” in society. Examples such as ‘Ratboy’, ‘Spiderboy’, and ‘one-boy crime waves’ are some of the names used by the press to create an image for the young offender.
Looking at the media attention youth crime gets compared with the media attention white-collar crime gets the gap is considerable. If one compares the amount of resources used in detecting youth crimes with that expended on white collar crime we can see that youth crime is a top priority in the governments expenditure list. This is portrayed on the Home Office website within the Annual Reports (http://www. homeoffice. gov. uk/docs/s01. html . ) Although there are very serious white collar-crimes that are committed and portrayed in the media society social and state institutions still focus on youth crime as being the main problem of crime.
Also one can see that little resources are used to detect infringements of such laws as Health and Safety at Work, which programmes such as “The Life Of Grime” on Channel 4, show is a serious problematic area in the UK. The Official statistics cause concern in society in the transgressions of young people. Negative representations of young people shape state intervention and fundamentally challenge the premise of the liberal state to protect. Though crime figures may appear to increase and decrease each year it is not always clear what the true picture is.
Often an increase in crime rates could be a case of more discoveries in crime or could be a change in both reporting and recording of crimes. Not all crimes are reported and those that are not all are recorded. This is portrayed in the British Crime Survey 1999/00. Often police may not record all verbal cautions which cause the crime statistics to differ from the numbers of reported crimes. Often the statistics for crime amongst young people can cause concern for the state because if they have not shown change over a period of time then society will begin to blame the police, parents and education system for not doing their job properly.
For example in the Guardian on the 10th July the rise in crime statistics was a headline and put the blame on Tony Blair. Nicholas Watt and Alan Travis use terms like “ministers are losing the initiative on law and order” to shift the blame on the government for the increase in crime figure. The article does not mention the fact that the rise in figures may only be due to crime being detected more by the authorities. This shows how unofficial the official statistics are. As Benjamin Disraeli famously quotes “There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.
” Croall, H (1998) also discusses the factors of ‘the dark figure’ in criminal statistics. This is where the aspect of hegemony plays a part in the concerns of the transgressions in young people. Hegemony is a domination theory created by Gramsci. Gramsci’s work referred to ‘cultural hegemony’ where the cultural values of a nation or people were forced onto another such as is happening with the USA during the present time and in the last century certainly since the end of the 1939 – 1945 war. A good example of this would be Mc Donald’s coming to the UK from the USA.
To define Hegemony one would describe it as being leadership or dominance, especially by one state or social group over others. The media is central to the process of hegemony and the control and silencing of young people. Our government have control over media coverage and if they wish can feed through ideas and concepts to society through the media which will then be in our ‘hearts and our minds’ or the hot topic of the day to discuss with friends. This is how views of young people being the cause of all crime, becomes the origin of concern in society.
For example many feel that young people get off lightly when it comes to criminal process in the court for a young offender. In Haines, K and Drakeford, M (1998 pg26) Singer (1996) shows that in one tabloid paper a child was quoted as saying “I can kill because I’m fourteen. ‘ Police officers were readily available with corroborating material: ‘The whole thing’s a joke to these kids… ” This shows how the police have also enacted on the tabloids story and played on the words of the delinquent child to make him/her out to be a serious offender or even murderer.
Hegemony would play a part in this when society would complain and ask for the age of punishments for children in courts to decrease. This is a good example of how Hegemony causes concern for the transgressions of young people in society. The state and social interventions may blame young people for transgressions because of fear that social norms and values are being eroded. Society has changed and on a whole young people, especially young women do have more freedom in terms of alcohol and nightlife in the UK. One could say that this is where the idea of Anti social behaviour orders have stemmed.
The older generation may feel that the youth in modern society is out of control. New Labour introduced a range of new orders such as the Anti social behaviour order, to “represent the most controversial aspects of the ‘new youth justice'”. Newburn, T (2002 pg 563) explains the new so called turn around the government put on youth crime which portrays a response to the states concerns of the young people. This essay has given examples of why state and social institutions are concerned with the transgressions of young people. A critique of this premise would be that society shows concern in all crime in society and not just with young people.
The media catch and print whatever story seems most appealing. And the government shows concern in the crime that happens to be the most problematic at the time, although this is generally youth crime. This essay has shown that the main cause of concern in transgressions of young people is the media. As portrayed this is a central process of hegemony which affects the whole of state and social interventions. This concludes that the state and social institutions are concerned due to the way young people are portrayed on a whole.
Word Count: 2,054 Bibliography Haines, K. and Drakeford, M.Young people and Youth Justice (1998) Macmillan AUDIT COMMISSION Misspent Youth (1996) Jewkes, Y. and Letherby, G. Critical Criminology (2002) Croall, H. Crime and Society in Britain (1998) Newburn, Tim in, Maguire, Mike et al The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (2002) News of the World editorial, 24 June, 2001, http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/uk/1405142. stm http://www. homeoffice. gov. uk/docs/s01. html Home Office Annual Report 2001/02 provided by David Blunkett. http://observer. guardian. co. uk/international/story/0,6903,539166,00. html Tracy McVeigh, education editor, Sunday August 19, 2001.