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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64463 Find in a Library
Title: ROLE OF CRIMINAL STEREOTYPE WITHIN THE PROCESSES OF SOCIAL CONTROL
Journal: QUESTIONE CRIMINALE  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(MAY-AUGUST 1978)  Pages:253-294
Author(s): G BARONTI
Corporate Author: Societa Editrice Il Mulino
Italy
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 42
Sponsoring Agency: Societa Editrice Il Mulino
40125, Bologna, Italy
Format: Article
Language: Italian
Country: Italy
Annotation: THE ROLE THAT CRIMINAL STEREOTYPING PLAYS IN REINFORCING THE SOCIAL CONTROL WIELDED OVER THE MASSES BY THE POWER ESTABLISHMENTS IS EXPLORED FOR ITS PHILOSOPHICAL AND POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS FROM A RADICAL PERSPECTIVE.
Abstract: THE ASSERTION THAT CRIMINAL STEREOTYPES ARE MERELY A PROPAGANDA TOOL, CREATED BY THE POWER ESTABLISHMENT TO BRAINWASH AND CONTROL THE SUBORDINATE CLASSES, WOULD BE AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION. CRIMINAL STEREOTYPES DO, HOWEVER, REFLECT STRONG IDEOLOGICAL BIASES AND SERVE TO PROTECT CONCRETE CAPITALIST INTERESTS. REACTIONARY GOVERNMENTS CAN USE THE CRIMINAL STEREOTYPES OF THE MOMENT AS SCAPEGOATS ON WHOM TO BLAME THEIR ALLEGED INABILITY (I.E., UNWILLINGNESS) TO IMPLEMENT SOCIAL REFORMS UNDER THE PRETEXT THAT GOVERNMENT RESOURCES ARE ENGAGED IN A WAR AGAINST CRIME. CRIMINAL STEREOTYPES CREATED BY A SUCCESSION OF RULING ELITES ARE TRACED SINCE THE MID-19TH CENTURY UNIFICATION OF ITALY. THE FIRST STEREOTYPE WAS THAT OF THE BANDIT (PREVALENT IN THE ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY BACKWARD ITALIAN SOUTH), A CONGENITALLY INFERIOR, BRUTISH HUMAN VERMIN TO BE HUNTED AND DESTROYED. ALTHOUGH THE LOCAL PEOPLE DEPICTED THE BANDIT IN THEIR BALLADS AS A FOLK HERO DRIVEN TO CRIME BY UNBEARABLE INJUSTICES, THEY UNCONSCIOUSLY ACCEPTED THE OFFICIAL LINE THAT THE FORCES OF LAW AND ORDER ALWAYS CATCH UP WITH REBELS, AND THEIR FOLK SONGS END WITH THE DEFEAT AND DEATH OF THE OUTLAW HERO. THE FASCIST REGIME'S CRIMINAL STEREOTYPE WAS AN ABERRANT MONSTER OR SEX-MANIAC, OPERATING OUTSIDE ANY SOCIAL, INDEED ANY HUMAN, CONTEXT. TO PREVENT THE POPULACE FROM IDENTIFYING WITH THOSE WHOM THE REGIME PERSECUTED, ANY SOCIAL MOTIVATIONS FOR REBELLIOUS ACTIONS HAD TO BE DISCREDITED. CURRENTLY, ONE OF THE PREDOMINANT ITALIAN CRIMINAL STEREOTYPES IS AN IMMIGRANT FROM THE BACKWARD RURAL SOUTH, UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO ADAPT TO HIS AFFLUENT NEW URBAN ENVIRONMENT. HE IS DEPICTED AS A STRIKE-BREAKER, ALTERNATING BETWEEN CRIME AND INTERMITTENT LOW-WAGE LABOR THAT UNDERMINES THE GAINS OF UNIONIZED WORKERS. THIS ERECTS AN ARTIFICIAL BARRIER BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE WORKING CLASSES AND KEEPS THE FORCES OF THE LEFT FROM UNITING AGAINST THEIR EXPLOITERS AND CLASS ENEMIES. IN TRYING TO FIT TERRORISTS (MOSTLY CHILDREN OF THE UPPER AND MIDDLE CLASSES) INTO SOME ANTHROPOLOGICALLY AND CRIMINOLOGICALLY VALID TYPOLOGY, ESTABLISHMENT MYTHMAKERS HAVE CREATED THE IDEOLOGICAL MANIAC STEROTYPE. THE MANIACS' VICTIMS, ESPECIALLY KIDNAP TARGETS FROM THE WEALTHIER CLASSES, ARE CLEVERLY SPOTLIGHTED IN THEIR VICTIMIZATION TO CREATE WORKING CLASS SYMPATHY, WHICH UNDERMINES THE REAL CONCERNS OF UNEQUAL WEALTH DISTRIBUTION IN THE SOCIETY. AS LONG AS INEQUITIES AND INJUSTICES EXIST, VIOLENCE AND DEVIANCE CANNOT BE ERADICATED, AND THE CLIMATE OF TURMOIL AND CIVIL STRIFE CONTINUES, JUSTIFYING THE POWER ESTABLISHMENT'S SOCIAL CONTROL OF THE MASSES.
Index Term(s): Criminology; Deviance; Italy; Political offenders; Radical criminology; Social classes; Social control theory; Violent offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64463

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