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NCJ Number: 54133 Find in a Library
Title: SIMPLE WITHIN THE COMPLEX - SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF PENAL JUSTICE
Journal: DEVIANCE ET SOCIETE  Volume:2  Issue:4  Dated:(DECEMBER 1978)  Pages:411-432
Author(s): C FAUGERON
Corporate Author: Editions Medicine et Hygiene
Switzerland
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Editions Medicine et Hygiene
1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Switzerland
Annotation: THIS REVIEW OF WIDELY-DIVERGENT RESEARCH PERSPECTIVES ON THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PUBLIC OPINION AND DEVELOPMENTS IN PENAL JUSTICE REVEALS THE EXTREME DIVERSITY IN PUBLIC OPINION REGARDING DEVIANCY.
Abstract: THE PUBLIC'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW HAS BEEN STUDIED TO BETTER APPLY THE LAW TO DEVELOPING SOCIAL NORMS; AT THE SAME TIME, THE GAPS IN PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE HAVE BEEN STUDIED TO BETTER EDUCATE THE PUBLIC AS TO WHAT THE LAW CAN DO FOR CITIZENS. STUDIES ON THE DETERRENT EFFECTS OF SANCTIONS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO SHOW SIGNIFICANT CORRELATIONS BETWEEN REDUCED DEVIANCY AND THE ASSURANCE OF PUNISHMENT, WITH QUESTIONABLE RESULTS. OTHER RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT DEVIANCY IS BEST MEASURED BY THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL CONTROL MECHANISMS TO COUNTERACT IT, AND THAT DEVIANCY MUST BE STUDIED FROM THE PERSPECTIVES OF THE PERPETRATOR, THE VICTIM, AND SOCIETY. IN THE ATTEMPT TO DISCOVER A WAY TO STUDY SOCIAL CONDEMNATION OR APPROVAL OF VARIOUS FORMS OF BEHAVIOR, ONE RESEARCHER DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN THE CONSENSUS (ONE UNOPPOSED POSITION), DISSENSUS (SEVERAL OPPOSING POSITIONS OF WHICH ONE DOMINATES), CONFLICT (SEVERAL OPPOSING POSITIONS WITH NONE DOMINATING), AND ASENSUS (COMPLETE FRAGMENTATION OF POSITIONS). SOME RESEARCHERS INDICATE THAT THE ALIGNMENT OF PERSONS REGARDING VIEWPOINTS ON DEVIANCY SEEMS TO CORRESPOND TO THE PRIORITIES OF DIFFERENT SOCIAL CLASSES. THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE APPLICATION OF THE PENAL CODE REFLECTS THE PRIORITIES OF DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SOCIETY FOR PUNISHMENT OF DEVIANT BEHAVIOR HAS BEEN STUDIED FROM TWO PERSPECTIVES: (1) PROFESSIONAL IDEOLOGIES--HOW THE AGENTS OF SOCIAL CONTROL (POLICE, PROSECUTORS, JUDGES, ETC.) VIEW THE PENAL CODE AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS AND HOW THEIR DISCRETIONARY POWERS AFFECT THE CODE'S EFFECTIVENESS; AND (2) THE PUBLIC'S VIEWPOINT REGARDING CRIME, DEVIANCY, AND THE PENAL SYSTEM. OTHER APPROACHES STUDY THE ACTUAL FORMATION OF DEVIANT STEREOTYPES BY THE PUBLIC AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, OR EXAMINE THE PUBLIC'S ATTITUDES TOWARD AND REACTIONS TO THE STEREOTYPES. ADDITIONAL RESEARCH ELUCIDATES THE ROLE OF 'MORAL ENTEREPRENEURS,' (E.G., THE MEDIA) WHO ASSIST IN THE STIGMATIZATION OF CERTAIN BEHAVIOR AS DEVIANT AND WHOSE LABELING ACTIVITY MAY CREATE A BACKGROUND FOR DEVIANT BEHAVIOR. THUS, WHILE POLLING PUBLIC OPINION MAY HELP TO BETTER SERVE THE PUBLIC IN THE LEGISLATION AND APPLICATION OF PENAL JUSTICE, AND STUDY OF PUBLIC OPINION ALSO POINTS TO THE PLURALITY AND DIVERSITY OF OPINION, SOCIETY'S DIVISIONS, AND DIVERGENT IDEOLOGICAL RESEARCH GOALS. EXTENSIVE NOTES ARE PROVIDED. --IN FRENCH. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Criminology; Labeling theory; Law reform; Literature reviews; Media coverage; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public education; Research methods
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=54133

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