What is Secondary Definers?

Secondary definers are individuals or groups that influence the perception and understanding of criminal behavior and social norms within a given society. They play a crucial role in shaping how criminality is defined, interpreted, and responded to. While the term 'secondary definers' may not be as commonly used, the concept is fundamental to the study of criminology and social control.

In criminology, secondary definers encompass various actors and institutions, including media, political leaders, advocacy groups, and influential figures within a community. They influence public opinion and the construction of the moral and legal boundaries that define what is considered deviant or criminal behavior.

For example, the media can serve as powerful secondary definers by highlighting specific criminal events, framing them in particular ways, and influencing public perceptions of crime and justice. Political leaders and policymakers can also shape these definitions through the enactment of laws and policies that establish or modify legal standards and penalties for criminal acts.

Secondary definers often play a role in the creation and perpetuation of moral panics, where particular issues or groups are portrayed as major societal threats. These moral panics can lead to harsher legal responses and public fear, ultimately influencing the criminal justice system and shaping social control mechanisms.

Understanding the influence of secondary definers is essential for criminologists as they seek to analyze the dynamics of social control, the impact of policy changes, and the interplay between criminal behavior and societal reactions. By examining the role of secondary definers, criminologists can gain insights into the social construction of crime and its consequences for justice and public perception.

Secondary definers in criminology are individuals and institutions that shape the perception and understanding of criminal behavior within society. They influence how society defines and responds to crime and deviance, making their role critical in the study of criminology and the dynamics of social control.