Public Eye on Sexual Offenders Essay example

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Public Eye on Sexual Offenders In preparing for this essay it has been identified that sexual offenders are not a homogenous group of individuals and that this is an umbrella term used to describe a range of behaviours ranging from acts of voyeurism and exhibitionism, to more serious acts of pedophilia and rape. For the purpose of this essay I have chosen to focus on the more serious forms of sex offending which in my opinion, are the cause of much of the current attention. In order to understand why sexual offenders attract so much attention I will begin by considering today’s society and the emergence of post-modernist values and the preoccupation with risk. I shall then go on to consider…show more content…
It was during the period of “modernity” which stems back to the 18th century, that notions of tradition, feudalism and superstition began to be replaced by reasoning, science and exploration. There was a move away from harsh penal conditions and a move towards reforming individuals. It was during this period of modernity that there existed societal consensus and a general air of optimism which generated high levels of trust and respect for people in authority. During the mid-1980s post-modernism emerged as an area of academic study, and it is this which currently describes today’s developed world. Attempts have been made to chart the shift from modernism to post-modernism, however this is largely attributed to the work of Ulrich Beck and what he describes as the emergence of a ’risk society’ (Beck 1986). Beck argued that the public are constantly being “confronted with socially created risks which endanger survival” (Beck 1986, p32). He saw one of these being globalisation, whereby communication is now effortless, thus increasing the risk of messages being distorted and information saturated which hence has the potential to perturb (Beck, 1986). Another was the creation of moral panics, first introduced by Stanley Cohen in his book “Folk Devils and Moral Panics” in 1972. He identified a
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