Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Title: The Social Construction of Criminology

Speaker: John T. Krimmel, Sr., Department of Criminology, The College of New Jersey

Date: Monday, April 2, 2012 11:00am - 12:00pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 431, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


Crime is socially constructed as is the law that defines it. To wit, an act will not be considered a crime unless it is deemed to be illegal by some type of legislative process. The public can influence the legislative process mostly through the media's reaction to extraordinary events. Legislators often react to noteworthy crimes because of excessive media attention to it. Megan's law, for example, was passed in many, if not all states in the United States, largely due to media pressure on the legislatures to "do something about child abduction by pedophiles." The science of criminology finds itself in the milieu of crime explanations based upon this social construction of actions deemed to be criminal by legislators. In other words, criminologists find themselves explaining the criminal acts of people as defined by non-criminologists. Thus, criminology appears to be reactionary as it must constantly re-define itself depending upon legislative reactions to crimes portrayed in media sources. This research explores the relationships between the media, the legislature, the law, and the science of criminology.

DIMACS/CCICADA Interdisciplinary Series, Complete Spring Calendar 2012