Opportunity Structure and Crime

"New Jersey Drive" (S1 EP1), Blackmarket -- Viceland, 2016, 24:07 -- https://www.viceland.com/en_us/show/black-market-with-michael-k-williams 

This series explores deviance and crime through multiple sectors of the black market, but the main lesson is all about the social opportunity structure. We see that areas such as Newark, New Jersey, are lacking in jobs, education, and legitimate opportunities for success. As a result, residents turn to an informal economy to survive. In the episode on carjacking (New Jersey Drive) we see that although some individuals make a nice living, none of them are proud or pleased with what they are doing. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, this show is a great example of Max Weber's verstehen-- empathetic understanding. The people we see here are not presented as freakish delinquents for the audience to gawk at, but rather individuals who do what they need to in order to put food on the table. Instead of getting "though on crime", we see the more pressing problem is the lack of legitimate opportunities to achieve the American Dream.  

Werner Herzog Takes On The Internet

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World -- 2016, 1:38:00 -- http://www.loandbehold-film.com/


The German filmmaker Werner Herzog is known for his profound and thought-provoking documentaries, including Grizzly Man (2005), Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010), and Into the Abyss (2011). In his latest film he explores the avent and raise of computers, the Internet, and networks with the same philosophical depth and intense perception. While younger people may not be able to remember a time without this digital luxury turned necessity, Herzog provides us with an honest look at how it has transformed our society within his own lifetime. This film raises many interesting questions sure to make for an engaging discussion. You can watch it on Netflix as well as other streaming services.  

The Ashley Madison Hack

"The Ashley Madison Hack", Cyberwar (S1 EP11) -- VICELAND, 2016, 22:33 -- https://www.viceland.com/en_us/show/cyberwar


AshleyMadison.com is a website designed to facilitate extramarital affairs and this episode explores the controversy surrounding this taboo website as well as data security in the modern age. We learn the website created "fembots" (bot-run female profiles) to keep the website appealing to their predominantly male user base. We also learn about many other shady business dealings of the website made public by a 2015 hack.