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Chris Greer and Yvonne Jewkes

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Extremes of Otherness: Media Images of Social Exclusion

This article explores mediated extremes of otherness, and the fluid relationships between different categories of deviant. It considers the role of popular media discourses as sites of “inclusion and exclusion,” and conceptualizes the demonization of “others” as existing along a spectrum of deviance. At one end of the spectrum are “stigmatized others,” those less serious offenders who are portrayed as being of society, but not in it. At the other end of the spectrum are “absolute others”; the most serious offenders portrayed as being in society, but not of it. The analysis is informed by a range of classic theories and concepts, but it seeks to refract existing research approaches through a lens that focuses on alternative aspects of the crime-media nexus. In particular, the authors aim to develop a more reflexive level of explanation by using psychoanalytic theory to problematize public fear of loathing, and propose that large sections of society may share more in common with certain categories of deviance than they care outwardly to acknowledge. The article suggests that the repulsion expressed through the popular media to particular forms of offending facilitates the continued public denial of the fact that that those who commit crimes are not “others.” They are “us,” and are of our making.

media, representation, otherness, inclusion and exclusion, stigmatization, psychosocial, vindictiveness, guilt

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 32, No. 1 (2005): 20-31.

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