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Title:The Crime Victim Movement and United States Public Culture
Author(s):Rentschler, Carrie Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Angharad Valdivia
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:This dissertation examines the U.S. crime victim movement's media practices within the larger context of public discourse about victimization by crime, violence and disaster from 1964 to the present. This work considers the predilection toward victims' rights approaches to crime and violence within the movement, and their roots in the law-and-order rhetoric of the late 1960s. The victims' rights perspective pits the rights of crime victims against the rights of criminal defendants. The dissertation examines the crime victim movement from its beginnings, as partly a grassroots movement, and partly a federally funded publicity mechanism for government-supported victims' rights initiatives. Using a range of activist artifacts, training manuals, videotapes, interviews, trade journals and government documents, this dissertation describes the publicity role the crime victim movement and other anti-violence organizations play in shaping the ways victims appear in the mass media. Through analysis of documents and interviews, it provides a behind-the-scenes view into the ways movement organizations think about the mass media and how they participate in it. The dissertation argues that the closer an organization is to the center of the movement, the more its media work reflects a victims' rights approach to victimization. The further an organization is from the center of the movement, the more its media work reflects hybrid, synthetic and prevention-oriented practices. These distinctions demonstrate the political and ideological fissures that exist within the movement. The dissertation also examines the intersection of victim advocacy and journalism education. Victim advocates have helped journalism schools develop journalism and trauma curricula, which aim to train journalists to be more empathetic with victims of crime and violence, but at the same time encourage journalists to think of themselves as victims. This curricular development illustrates the extent to which a victims' rights perspective on crime and violence coverage has been institutionalized within journalism.
Issue Date:2002
Description:457 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070418
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2002

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