SOC327 2017 Tut9 – Wed 1730

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 must agree with Hage’s arguments when he is discussing the different reasons why the Cronulla Riots occurred. Hage argued that the Australian government played a major role in creating this sense of fear towards political and economic globalisation. (Patulny 2017). This is true because many Australian’s have this fear that they are going to be victimised by multiculturalism, that individuals are going to lose their jobs, which created this perception that Australia was under threat. (Patulny 2017). Those individuals who were apart of the Cronulla riots, they developed this emotion of Anger because they were fearful that multiculturalism was threatening western ideologies. (Hage 2009, p. 258)

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  2. ‘Bad’ things arise from a systemic underlying anger or dissatisfaction with one or more elements of everyday life that the aggressor has been exposed to. Whilst in violent crimes the trigger of the ‘bad’ act might be because something or someone has wronged them and thus the aggressor feels the need to lash out to attain justice, this is not always the case. In non-violent crimes like shoplifting or vandalism, the would-be criminal acts out through deviance. Katz (1998) aligns these ‘sneaky thrills’ with sex and the adolescents who impulsively engage with them, flirt with danger to experience power and euphoria – which may even become addictive when the person escapes unpunished –repressing any underlying shame or degradation associated with being caught.
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  3. It can be seen that ‘bad’ things happen as a result of an abundance of emotions. The most prominent I feel, being fear. In regards to the Cronulla riots, Hage asserts that the equation of ‘cultural superiority’ of western values and the sense of being threatened equated to the idea that the community was under threat (Hage, 2009: 256). I agree that individuals were fearful of multiculturalism and this was a major factor in the Cronulla Riots. It is evident that the government had a large role to play in this and this created a sense of anger and resentment. It can be noted however, that the emotions felt in the Cronulla Riots is different to those that commit a crime like vandalism or shop lifting. These acts would elicit feelings of excitement or thrill and have no major motivation behind them apart from creating a momentary emotion.

  4. People express bad things due to there own suffering and they wish to portray it on someone else or just to understand someone and what makes them “tick” as such. For example, we discussed in the lecture Trolling, which at first I was like I wouldn’t do that, then realised me and my brother do it to my mother constantly cause she has the best facial change ever. So we do it in order to get the reaction from her cause that makes us laugh uncontrollably. This is considered most of the time harmless but sometimes is like waking a grizzly bear out of hibernation early. Due to the fact we are using a persons emotions at the expense of their exclusion in order to create a stronger bond between us(Francis, 1994), doesn’t make it okay.
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  5. It is hard to estimate the amount of crimes driven by a deviant thrill as described by Katz. I believe there is a decent amount that results out of this, but I do not think that there is an inherent instinct inhibited by the socialization process. The described thrill is more an aberration of the normal, ending when arrested, because “another commitment would clearly signal a deviant identity” (Katz 1988, p. 66).

    I believe there are certain motivations to commit a crime, dependent on situation and context. My thesis is that in many occasions, also in the Cronulla Riots, an reason towards a matter was built up, e.g. ideology of white reassertion mentiones by Hage (Hage 2009, p. 256), and at some point the emotions submerge and empower people to commit a crime. Some people take longer to react emotionally, some never and few have a very low ‘tolerance’.

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  6. I think that it varies depending on the individual in terms of what might provoke and drive them to act in deviant ways. However, I do think that emotions can mix together and feed off one another to motivate deviance. Take the Cronulla Riots for example, mixed emotions definitely interplayed in the violence. Fear for the the ‘unknown’ initiated the scene. This fear lead to anger which incited the rage and the violent behaviour. However, who’s to say that thrill and joy didn’t have their role too? The sensation of assertion and power- now that is what encouraged the rage even more.

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  7. There are definitely different levels and reasons behind deviant and criminal behaviors. A crime done to aim to get a ‘thrill’ or an act of teenage deviance is completely different to large scale crime such as the Cronulla riots. I agree with Hage that a moral panic and over-reporting concocted an irrational fear which majorly fueled the Cronulla riots. This along with those involved having an egotistic attitude and a complete lack of empathy and understanding.
    On the other hand Katz investigates ‘sneaky thrill’ crimes which could relate to an attempt to find identity or adolescent deviance.
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  8. Society is a force that surrounds us and actively manipulates our bodies and emotions through the implementation of social norms. These norms are constructed and learned at a very young age through the nuclear family unit and educational institutions — two places where these social constructions are heavily engrained. In this way, we are told from a young age that it is wrong to do ‘bad things’. We are told that in doing so, we lose the ability to navigate society in a productive and inclusive manner. When we commit bad acts, we are a threat…an outcast…a deviant. However, society also tells us that we must fight and strive towards obtaining the ultimate dream of wealth and a steady family. Because of this desire, Hage tells us that this may be a driving force in the violence and anger certain groups try to inflict on other groups they see as threatening to that dream.

    I find that ‘bad acts’ are pursued after a person has been triggered by a certain event. This event first inflicts anger then leads to the thrill that allows them to commit the ‘bad act’. However, I find that after each act has been committed, a person always feels some type of shame or guilt (either externally or internally). As we discussed in lecture, globalization leads to emotions such as anxiety, stress, and shame. These emotions are all felt as a result of an individual either suppressing or withholding their emotions. Ultimately, I find that society fuels the fire for ‘bad acts’ to be committed, but it also tells us we should feel ashamed and guilty if we chose to reveal those emotions…

  9. The theme topic I have noticed to reoccur throughout the course is that our actions, emotions and feelings are constantly effected by our experiences with society and the world that surrounds us. Crimes can be viewed in various ways depending on the extremity of the act. Hage touches on the idea that men are more likely to hide shame and fear in efforts to change these feelings into anger. I agree with this statement especially when relating it to the Cronulla Beach riots. I assume many of the men that found themselves involved in the riots were originally just fearful of the situation, leading them to act out in forms of anger.
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  10. I think fear plays a very important role in people doing ‘bad’ things, with the power of fear being practically institutionalised in society today. In Ghassan Hage’s discussion on the Cronulla riots, he spoke of a dominant feeling of being victimised by minorities, stemming from a fear of censorship (p. 256). The ‘ideology of White reassertion’ functions on successfully fusing the ideal of superiority with the sense of threat. Likewise, in Jack Katz’s article there is a sense of fear in the dialogue regarding the “awareness of the necessity to produce ‘normal appearances’” (p. 58). I believe people’s tendencies to act in deviant ways, and the thrill of success, stems from momentary relief from the omnipresent fear they experience in everyday life, for example, the riots were a moment of euphoria amid their fear of multiculturalism.

  11. Doing bad things feels better when you get away with it. It also feels better when you do bad things with other people as the threat of sole responsibility falling on you is lessened. Like all things, I believe that what was most likely the central emotion which spurred the Cronulla Riots was fear. There are multiple perspectives which account for the emotional motivations for the build up of tensions leading to the riots including that Australian men were angered by the threat of increased migration of middle Eastern individuals to their job opportunities, or that Australian men were being protective of Australian women as traditional dress such as the hijab were seen as a threat to the Australian way, post September 11. However, when you look beyond these ideas, what you can see is a threat to the idea of identity. Fear of the unknown, and fear of the threat to one’s own image of self is what underlines emotions of pride and anger and is the external offset of feelings of shame and guilt.

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  12. People do bad things in order to portray their inner anger or frustration with something or someone. It is the expectations of society for an individual to suppress these feelings of anger in a way that would inflict pain or be considered ‘bad’. Katz argues that there is a present seduction in crime (1988).This can be affiliated with the Cronulla Riots. Where it can be argued the excuse of conflict for racial issues seemed seductive due to the fear of Xenophobia.
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  13. I think conforming to societal expectations of ‘normal actions’ is fueled by the fear of potential consequences that would occur following a deviant act. As we discussed from the readings of how emotions shaped societal exchanges in the mind, body and spirit readings, fear and anxiety of being deviant keeps people in their place. On the other hand, especially in the case of the Cronulla Riots, anger, and the influence of conforming to a larger groups’ emotions around you.
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  14. As the workings of both Cas Wouters and Norbert Elias alluded to in the week 4 topic surrounding manners – the rules, laws and everyday rhetoric experienced in society are formed from notions of fear, shame and repression of being labelled outside of the ‘norm’. Those who deviate from these often find themselves punished one way or another and are thus less likely to commit an act of deviance to avoid a negative stigma.
    Those who manage by chance or luck to avoid the punishment, or do not hold the negative stigma at a severe personal cost, often feel the thrill of ‘out-playing’ the system. This is where i believe Katz and the seduction in crime (1988) sheds a light on the emotional power play involved with what we see in society as ‘anti-social acts’ and the positive emotions associated when one gets away with something they shouldn’t.
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  15. Bad things are not necessarily done by bad people. Emotions, circumstances and influence all cause cause seemingly ‘good’ people to do bad things. People need to recognise that their behaviour causes consequences for others, yet society deems whether things are good or bad. Perspective is important in identifying whether what is the correct thing to do or not.

  16. I think bad acts can definitely be categorised, like Katz said with ‘seduction of crime’ generally relates to stealing and vandalism. Stealing something for example, can fall under the “seduction” category as Katz explains – people get the thill of stealing, it’s the not getting caught, not necessarily about the material gain when stealing. Acts of violence such as the Cronulla riots can be categorised differently. I don’t think people get the same rush explained by Katz when hitting someone, it’s about supremacy.

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