Course Assignment
Criminal Obsessions: Why harm matters more than crime, by Dany Dorling et al., explores the limits of criminology and criminal justice from a social harm perspective. The authors criticize criminology as a discipline for perpetuating the myth of crime – routinely ignoring the fact that crime has no ontological reality – and demonstrate the myriad ways in which the criminal justice system and the crime control approach have “manifestly failed”. In response the authors advocate for a social harm approach that scrutinizes a range of “detrimental activities” and dangers that people experience in contemporary society, including physical, financial/economic, emotional and psychological, sexual and cultural harms. According to Dorling et al., taking into account a broader range of harms than what is commonly addressed through the lens of crime challenges us to think critically about the conditions that give rise harmful acts in society, or the “social origins of harm”. In addition to outlining the social harm approach, the authors apply this perspective to two case studies (murder and workplace harms) and consider the limits and possibilities of the social harm perspective.
Your assignment is to read this book, select one of the two case studies that employ a social harm perspective (i.e. murder in chapter 2 or workplace harm in chapter 3), and write an essay of 1500 words that addresses the following questions:
1. What, according to Dorling et al., are the main problems with criminology and the criminal justice system? What is the social harm perspective and why do the authors advocate for this approach?
2. Do you agree with the author’s analysis of the social harm in question (i.e. Chapter 2 or 3)? Why or why not?
3. In your view, how viable is the social harm perspective as an alternative to mainstream criminology and crime control strategies, and what, if anything can be done to prevent the range of harms in society?
In responding to these questions, you may choose to organize your essay into three sections (according to the questions above), or to provide one integrative discussion that
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blends together your replies. You should use full sentences throughout the paper (no short form!), and your prose should conform to standard rules of grammar, syntax and style. You may incorporate external sources/material into your response, but to succeed in this assignment it is not necessary to conduct any research apart from reading the book itself. Any references that you do use should be properly cited, with appropriate credit being given to the original sources (any one of the major referencing methods (APA, ASA, legal, etc.) is acceptable, as long as it is applied consistently). Short-hand citations (e.g. Dorling et al., p.43) may be used when quoting from Dorling et al.’s Criminal Obsessions: Why harm matters more than crim.
Due Date and Submission Instructions
This assignment is worth 20% of your overall grade in the course. It is being distributed on Thursday, 21 September 2017 and is due in lecture on Monday, 13 November 2017. For late submissions, a one point penalty will be deducted per day.
important instructions for completing the assignment include:
Your assignment must not exceed 1,500 words.·
The text should be double-spaced and in Times New Roman, 12-point font.·
If possible, print on both sides of the page.·
Please include a title page with your name, student number and the title of the·
chapter that you have reviewed (i.e. “Prime suspect: Murder in Britain” or “Workplace harms and the illusions of law”). All other pages must be paginated and include your student number.
Staple your assignment in the top left corner (no paper clips or plastic covers).·
All assignments must be handed in at beginning of class on Monday, 13 November 2017 (no electronic submissions will be accepted, although you are·
responsible for keeping an electronic back-up of your assignment).
Good Luck!
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