The Cause Of Crime, Like Many Societal Phenomena, Is A

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The cause of crime, like many societal phenomena, is a source of global contention. Theorists throughout history have repeatedly attempted to deconstruct criminal minds to understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of crime. Not only can criminological theory explore the motivations of criminals living and dead; but it can also be a lens through which to examine fictional crime. Animal Kingdom (2010) introduces a criminal family in Sydney—largely responsible for armed robberies and drug crimes—from the perspective of 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody. He moves in with his grandmother, “Smurf”, when his mother dies from a drug overdose. As he spends more time with his mother’s family, he becomes an unwilling participant in the family’s criminal exploits…show more content…
The introduction of a strain can “elicit emotional reactions…which then trigger potential coping mechanisms” (Higgins, Piquero, N., & Piquero, R., 2010). Agnew describes this as a process through which crime is committed: a strain occurs, followed by an emotional reaction, a pressure to act upon this emotion and finally, a resulting crime (Wong, 2014). Additionally, the negative influence of social expectations is highlighted as a stressor that works in tandem with these sources to inspire criminal behaviour (Polizzi, 2010). When this pressure overwhelms the individual, they will commit a crime that relieves the stress or helps them achieve their goal. This process can be seen in much of J’s growing criminality.
Over the course of the film, J commits two active and consequential crimes: car theft and murder. When the leader of the gang, Barry “Baz” Brown, is shot dead by police officers, J is enlisted to assist in the revenge scheme. Pope asks J to steal a Commodore; unbeknownst to him, it will be used as bait for police officers who Pope and Craig intend to kill. When J shows hesitation and discomfort with the request, asking why they need the car, Pope responds, “Cause I told you to” (Animal Kingdom, 2010). While the ambiguity of the phrasing lends itself to interpretation, Pope’s delivery clearly insinuates a threat. This incites J’s
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