SOC327 2017 Tut9 – Thu 1030

Why do people do ‘bad’ things? Is it because they feel bad – or because those bad things feel good? It’s not hard to find instances of terrible, scary things in popular media – youth gone wild, health epidemics, crime waves, etc. Sometimes these are beat-ups and moral panics; and sometimes they are more common than we think, or even unbelievably real. Nasty incidents of online trolling and attacks are commonplace, and mass gatherings channeling anger and even hatred occurred as recently as just over ten years ago Australia in the form of the Cronulla Riots.

But why do these things happen? What are the emotions that drive these acts? There can be a simple thrill or joy in doing the wrong thing – what Jack Katz calls the ‘seductions of crime’ – that tricks and compels some people into committing anti-social acts, but are these secretive, individualized compulsions not shaped by how we relate – or fail to relate authentically – to the people around us? Do we not deviate because we feel (and often hide) a sense of deviance, and maybe even shame? Is it shame and fear of the challenge to identities – to conventional masculine dominance, or the threat of job loss from globalization – that compels some young men to anger and violence, as Ghassan Hage has argued occurred on Cronulla Beach eleven years ago? How do all these feeling mix and feed off each other – fear, shame, repression, thrills, and anger – in the dynamics of deviance?

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16 Comments

  1. I think it is true that fear, shame, repression, thrills, and anger all feed off each other in acts of deviance. In relation of bouts of violence there are definitely more underlying issues that are also social or economical.

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  2. The Cronulla Riots may have been an effect of the insecure attachment developed towards the Australian Identity #S327UOW17 #Tut9 #Thurs1030

    The Australian Identity has struggled to gain validation and legitimacy throughout the decades. The Cronulla Riots reflect the insecure attachment towards the Australia Identity developed by the Australian public. Australia as united and independent nation is a fairly recent, if not entirely non-existent, concept. Perhaps the violent displays of racism that occurred during the Cronulla Riots reflect both shame and fear towards the inadequacy of the strong Australian Identity in preserving identification and experience. The question of Australianism is not so easily defined, and thus may only be characterised as that which it is not, i.e. not ‘British’ and not ‘Other’. In this regard, could the response of the ‘violent’ Australians in Cronulla towards the ‘arrogant’ Lebanese boys be viewed as a sign of envy towards the ease at which they expressed their sense of identity?

  3. Perhaps sometimes we do bad things based on the fact that we know that it will affect someone/something that we don’t like and it makes us feel a sense of justice that it is now even. For example ‘they hurt me – now I can hurt them’. To extend on this, some acts of deviance are hidden under false reasons such as patriotism. In the Cronulla riots this was evident as a lot of the individuals that participated . Did they deviate more or to a more serious extent because they were given the ‘patriot security blanket’ where there were less repercussions? Do we accept deviance more based on the emotions attached to it?

  4. Perhaps people do bad things because of their interpretations of what is good and bad. What a person deems as good may be bad to someone else. I think this all stems from what a person thinks is right and just – influenced by ones culture, environment, religion, mentality, upbringing etc. Deviant acts, such as those that took place during the Cronulla Riots, could be fueled by a mix of different emotions – fear seems to be at the forefront followed by anger and shame. When a person fears like there sense of security is being threatened these emotions come about.
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  5. Perhaps the thrill of doing bad things simply goes down to emotion enhancement. It is the same of considering why people drink and take drugs? to feel an emotion that drives them to feel different, even if just for a moment. To feel as if they have complete control over their feelings, even if just for an instance. The thrill of ‘rebelling’ could be the same; to enjoy a rush of feeling something that you may not feel everyday.
    For instance, people may feel the rush and heart pounding excitement of stealing a car; adrenaline.
    The crave for this adrenaline is different for everyone, and unfortunately it occurs for many in relation to something being deemed as ‘bad’ therefore creates a even larger thirst to experience this rush.

  6. These emotions; fear, shame, guilt, repression, anger etc. are all drivers that can lead to deviance or offences that impact other’s negatively.
    As all of these emotions can have bold behaviours tied to them, the emotions are strong and do not give way for thinking of other perspectives of their actions.

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  7. It was interesting to read Phillips & Smith (2004) in the context of the Cronulla riots, which were blamed on ‘outsiders’ disrespecting women. The four emotional responses to incivility were anger/outrage, fear/unease, disgust, and blase. It seems that reactions that sparked the riots were a mix of the first three, probably in that order.

    I think the combination of emotions caused a physiological response, as Sidonie mentioned above, but it’s interesting that the rioters seem to have conformed to all of the crowd myths that Schweingruber & Wohlstein (2005) mentioned.

  8. Collective acts such as riots or protests function to empower individuals by uniting and reinforcing a shared identity. Our increasingly insular society breeds fear of others – because we do not know or understand them. I believe that deviance derives from feelings of powerlessness, repression and anger. Deviance is about exercising power and control; it is an outlet for the angry and disillusioned.

  9. The feelings of fear, anger, sadness, repression and guilt are all feelings expressed in deviance. Naturally one triggers another and vice versa. The Cronulla riots demonstrated these emotions at work and how they cause issues within the power structures and social interactions which take on a regular basis within mainstream society.

  10. Often, people do bad things to obtain a ‘rush’ or ‘thrill’, making themselves feel good as is pointed out in ‘The Seductions of Crime’ by Jack Katz. On the other hand, some individuals commit acts of deviance because they themselves feel angry etc. and are seeking an outlet.

    In my opinion, the Cronulla riots escalated into a racist mob of white nationalists, along with those who got ‘caught in the moment’ seeking a fight with anyone who was not like them; white. To me, this incident reflects an Australian population that was and possibly still is dissatisfied with its immigration policies. I agree with Hage that “beneath the complaint that the boys were not well-assimilated and well-integrated was really the fear that the boys acted as if they were completely assimilated and integrated despite their cultural difference.” It is also clear from the Cronulla Riots that all these feelings of fear, shame, repression, thrills and anger feed off one another and can lead to something very ugly within not only men, but women too.

  11. Within the dynamics of deviance, emotions can feed off of each other in order to further amplify another. In the particular instance of the Cronulla riots, it was the mob mentality that allowed the riots to function in the way that they did. When deviating as a group, individuals feel a lot more powerful and feel more free in expressing their emotions. In this case it was an instance of emotion built from primarily (and perhaps by some, even unknowingly) racist ideals.

  12. People do bad things either in response to an act of aggression or violation against them, or as an independent act to push and challenge boundaries constructed by society and by the individual. Fear and aggression are direct responses to violent acts whereas shame and repression are self inflicted. Emotions either drive acts or respond to acts of deviance. Katz discusses the play of emotions felt when getting away with a deviate act. Euphoria is experienced when successful, but humiliation and shame are felt when being caught and when society passes judgement.

  13. There are a number of factors why crimes and other forms of anti-social acts take place. An overwhelming majority of people involved in unlawful acts are young people. One factor influencing young people to harm others around them is the fact that the enjoy doing. For instance, during high school, I’ve noticed several times groups of school aged boys bullying the vulnerable around them and leaving embarrassing comments on their looks.
    Another factor is identity challenge or being different to the people surrounding you. Being racially, culturally and linguistically different to your circle of friends makes you feel alienated and isolated. This psychologically impacts people and some people often go to the point of extreme by rubbing their skin to change their skin colour in order to look similar to their friends, or people could choose to harm their surroundings.
    Also, another factor resulting in anti-social acts is the lack social skills and capabilities that people have. For example, some people due to their poor socioeconomic status take violent actions and commit dangerous crimes. This happens when a person doesn’t have access to the same measure of opportunity as others because of lacking the competency and skills requirements. So this people decide to get what they want even if it takes to commit murder and create a threat among community.
    According to SBS Cronulla Riots documentary, I think people do bad things because they believe their rights are violated and so they fight to have their rights back. Racism is one of the reason that makes them think their rights are violated. Racism and discrimination put people under a huge pressure and shame that makes them react. Additionally, people would fight for other’s rights. In one of the videos of this documentary the criminal says, “They didn’t respect my friends so I had to act”. I think a combination of feelings such as fear, shame, repression, thrills, and anger for a moment, make people to act without thinking and do irreparable things.

  14. People doing “bad” things is oftentimes a response to their surroundings and environment. Social surroundings can definitely have an impact on someone enough to shape them into a person who does “bad” things, such as in the case of a person’s upbringing. As morals and behaviours are generally learned and not innate, it is clear to see how personal experience can have an affect on the type of person an individual becomes. Deviance often arises out of a rejection of authority – while instances such as riots occur when a collective belief is held by a (often minority) group and change is desired or a statement is being made.

  15. I think that the centrality of emotion that was evident in the Cronulla riots cannot be ignored. The Cronulla riots obviously involved anxiety, fear, hostility and hate towards the ‘other’, which were externalised by violence and anger. But I think an issue and emotion that was less commented upon by the media in the days after the riots was the apparent level of excitement and euphoria experienced by the white men during the violence. I recall images of young men where it looked like they were getting enjoyment out of their actions. This relates to the idea proposed by Jack Katz that individual’s may get a joy out of doing the wrong thing, known as the ‘seductions of crime’. This idea also relates to the idea discussed in the lecture that the attacker’s involved in the Cronulla riots perhaps weren’t interested in the Lebanese men assimilating, but rather, they were interested in maintaining the thrill of forcing others assimilate. This illustrates how a number of different emotions were mixed into the dynamics of the Cronulla riots.

  16. Often people use crime as a way to get justice where they think justice isn’t being served. In the case of the Cronulla Riots, the beliefs and ideas on what is right and what is wrong held by the rioters were the catalyst of the attack. They expressed fear, anger, sadness, repression and guilt through their deviant act of hate and violence.

    #S327UOW17 #tut9 #thu1030

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