Literature Review (1) The study The Social Construction of the Child sex offender Explored by Narrative by Helen Gavin, suggests that peoples attitude towards sexual offenders can be thought of within the context of artificially created social narrative. During the course of a study, 10 men and 10 women were being asked to describe their vision of what constitutes sexual offence and what do they subconsciously associate it with. The key variables of the qualitative report were: gender affiliation, age, educational level and the degree of social involvement, on the part of the participants. The measurement system, used in the study, has numerical properties. In other words, studys conclusions rely upon providing readers with the link between participants socio-political affiliation and their tendency to think about the issues concerning sexual offence, within the context of Dominant narrative. Dominant narrative is being described as socially defined system of popular beliefs and author opposes it to the concept of Alternative narrative, which she describes as having factual essence. The hypothesis formulated in the study is following: peoples view of the issue of childrens sexual abuse does not correspond to the objective reality, due to the variety of factors.
... why a condition is being considered a social problem. Contextualists also study the apparent discrepancies between objective harm and ... attention. The typifying example is what the claimsmakers are describing as the most typical case, which is usually the ... the logical structure operates. Most claimsmaking activity surrounding child sexual abuse will begin with ground statements. Ground statements ...
Author talks about societys unwillingness to accept the fact that the bulk of sexual abuses occur within the family, as such that has a purpose of maintaining its inner integrity. In its turn, this provides us with environmental perspective on the issue. The culturally defined concept of sexual offender describes him as middle age white male, who belong to lower social strata and who is not emotionally involved with the subject of abuse. Gavin suggests that this concept cannot be thought of as metaphysically valid, because it is not that peoples rationale defines their attitude towards the issue of sexual abuse, but their subconscious desire to distance from it with the mean of entitling such offence with recognizable properties. The fact that people do not understand the psychological mechanics of sexual abuse, cause them to talk about it in terms of mental deviation, which in its turn is thought to have a biological nature. Author suggests that such method of addressing the issue is conceptually wrong. She believes that, since Dominant narrative is socially biased, we cannot talk about child abusers as being innately evil: There is the need to deconstruct the child sex offender by introducing Alternative narratives that include the notion that offenders are socially created rather than innately evil (Gavin, p.
It reveals author as having her own socio-political agenda, which she tries to impose upon readers and, at the same time, it greatly reduces studys conceptual validity. Despite the fact that Gavin uses a sophisticated terminology, the point she is making in The Social Construction of the Child Sex Offender Explored by Narrative is quite simple sexual abusers are the products of social environment, therefore, it is wrong to think of them as some kind of monsters. Instead, we need to adopt more tolerant attitude towards such individuals, in order to give them chance of rehabilitation. This allows us to refer to Gavin as left-wing Liberal, who tends to blame all the evils of the world upon the society and who denies the validity to the metaphysical foundations, upon which societys integrity is based. (2) The main conceptual fallacy of the study is the fact it is overly abstract, even though that it deals with the issue that is associated by majority of people with very practical consequences.
The Essay on To what extent does the law balance out the rights of the victims, offenders and society in the criminal investigation process?
... the rights of the victims and offenders in society. All individuals’ wether victim, offender or member of society have basic rights to which the ... the purpose of maintaining a balance in society. Though upholding the rights of the people is essential in order to ensure ... the criminal justice system and the balancing act between offenders and society. This justice is also used by judges when sentencing ...
Gavin comes to general assumptions, based on field study, which has a very limited range. It is simply impossible to refer to sociological survey, which deals with opinions of only twenty people, as such that has representative properties. While discussing what defines societys psychological health, author does not mention biological variables, which points out to the fact that study lacks scientific credibility. Gavin refers to the mental prerogatives of todays people as such that have their roots in Victorian era. However, she does not explain why there is a strong psychological uniformity, which marks peoples attitude towards sexual offenders. This is because author failed to understand that it is quite inappropriate to compare Victorian society to modern society, because it is the degree of societys racial homogeneity that defines popular attitudes within it and not merely Medias, as it is being suggested by Gavin.
The studys initial premise is based upon the assumption that most of childs sexual abuses take place within the family. However, Gavin never supports this claim with a statistical data. She explains it by the fact that such statistics cannot be the subject of the study, because it is simply impossible to obtain it. This certainly makes a logical sense; nevertheless, it does not mean that Gavin can assume things on the basis of common knowledge, especially if she wants her study to have academic validity. While claiming Dominant narrative as being culturally biased, Gavin does not seem to understand that the Alternative narrative, promoted by her, is also culturally biased, because even as recent as ten years ago, it would be thought of as nonsense to talk about the issue of sexual crime from the perspective of an abuser. Even though Gavin does not suggest that those who sexually abuse children need to be tolerated by the society, she nevertheless encourages people to think of them as the product of social environment, which automatically makes them less guilty.
... View reveals that all participants in society are deserving of the unconditional legal right to social security without any relation to ... by voluntary funding. For this side, welfare ultimately endangers society by weakening two of it's moral foundations: that able ... Canada", JOURNAL OF CANADIAN STUDIES, 26 (1), 1991 5. Evans, Patricia. "From workfare to the social contract: implications for Canada ...
Gavins ultimate goal is to prove that sexual offenders can become productive members of society: Community projects should be set up with the aim of helping sex offenders to reintegrate into society (Gavin, p. 17).
However, this cannot be done, because the act of sexual abuse against children represents abusers psychological incompatibility with the social environment. It is exactly the reason why sexual offenders have always been distanced from the society, throughout the history. The ability to act in socially accepted manner is what makes individual a social being; therefore, it is conceptually wrong to suggest that sexual offenders can be reintegrated in society, while possessing and anti-social psyche. Therefore, we can say that, even though Gavin made a few strong points, throughout her study, the essence of the study is purely abstract.
As such, it simply cannot have practical applications, as being suggested by the author. The issue of sexual abuse needs to be discussed within the context of biology, as it is always been the case in traditional societies, because only this approach can provide us the insight on the essence of sexual crime, as socio-cultural phenomenon.
Gavin, H. The Social Construction of the Child Sex Offender Explored by Narrative. September 3, 2005. Nova Southern University. Retrieved October 28, 2007 from http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR10-3/gavin.pdf Abstract: This paper discusses Helen Gavins research study The Social Construction of the Child Sex Offender Explored by Narrative from critical perspective.
Outline: Summary Criticism.