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Crimes of the Powerful Thesis

Nadine Acevedo, Ashley Pederson,

Leah Anderson… +23 more

SOC305: Crime & Society (BLE1914A)


Hello Class!

This week we have an essay assignment. It is based on Myths and

The reality of Crime.

You will watch the video, Crimes of the Powerful (click on the link to

the external site.) and write your paper based on the video, our

course readings, and outside related scholarly sources.

Our justice system tends to focus on street crime, often ignoring

much more significant problems such as white-collar, corporate, and

state crime. The video also discusses euthanasia, although the point

of this reference is to illustrate how the law can be used as a tool for

social change. The video also discusses moral values with a focus

on media coverage of harm to children. Laws have changed in direct

response to these incidents and the resulting media coverage. In

effect, this coverage becomes an engine for social change. The

video ends with a discussion of crime theory, reminding us that often

people with wealth and high status fall into a different category of


Please elaborate on the following points in your essay:

1. Imagine asking 100 strangers to describe a criminal. Predict

whether those descriptions would be likely to focus on street

criminals, or the variety of topics covered in this video.

2. Describe how society defines crime. Do not provide a definition –

instead, explain how the definition is reached.

3. Discuss how society decides what to define as a crime.