Study Questions

1. Why are children and young people frequently perceived to be not just a crime problem but the crime problem? What are the problems with this characterization?

2. How do the different theoretical perspectives reviewed in Chapter 1 view young people who commit crime?

3. This chapter has discussed the case of the abduction and murder of two-year-old James Bulger in the UK because it had such profound and far reaching impacts on British criminal law, justice, public attitudes to children, and the organization of family life. What criminal cases in the U.S. can you think of that have had a similarly seismic impact on aspects of legal, social, and cultural experience?

4. To what extent, and in what ways, has recent media coverage of pedophilia skewed the picture of sexual abuse in the U.S.? How do media constructions of the “pedophile” differ from those of the “rapist” in an earlier age?

5. How is “childhood” constructed differently in other countries? Does the pedophile loom as large in the collective conscience of the U.S. and other nations as it does in the UK?