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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

To date, criminologists have approached the media from a communications perspective that, directly or indirectly, treats them as a powerful social force. However, systematic research (conducted mainly outside but also within criminology) has failed to substantiate this image: the media may be an ubiquitous ingredient in daily life, but their influence is crucially mediated by social and psychological variables. Further progress in critically assessing the power of the media will depend on developments in media and communications theory rather than criminology. Meanwhile, criminologists could open up alternative lines of inquiry relating to the media’s quality of publicness and its location at the interface between revelation and concealment—an interface of considerable significance for crime and criminal justice. To do so would be to explore the media as a discourse, and materialization, of conventionality.

Keywords: media, crime, criminal justice, communication, effects, publicness

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