Sociology of Law and Order
It seems that there is no a single person in the whole world who has not heard about Pokemon Go, which hit the globe in 2016. In many countries, everyone ranging from children to the elderly try the hand in the game. At first sight, it is a harmless hobby, and the developer is just a go-ahead and lucky man. However, the ban of Pokemon Go in Saudi Arabia on religious grounds can make one think whether it is really inoffensive. With regard to Singapore, the state administration seems not to adopt the same prohibition of the game because the issue will not be accepted by the society concerning the context of sociology of law and order. Thus, the difference between two countries according to the criteria will be analyzed below.
For the issue parsing, some background has to be formed for better understanding of the position of the country where it occurs. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with the command economy. Even knowing only this data, it becomes clear that it is a conservative state, which honors traditions and respects history. All the population is considered to be Muslim, the majority of people are Sunni. Wahhabism (the Salafi movement) is a widespread form of Sunni branch. Its main features are also conservatism and valuing traditions. Nevertheless, it is often called intolerant and puritanical by outer observers. The Saudi criminal justice system has been criticized by the organizations that protect human rights all over the world such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc. Furthermore, death penalty is adopted there. The freedom of convictions for women, LGBT representatives, and “unfaithful” ones is quite dangerous. With regard to the legal system, it differs a lot from the traditional one in the “Western” sense. The law of Sharia is a primary source, which takes its roots from the Koran and the Sunnah (verbally transmitted teaching of the Prophet). Moreover, the legislature does not lean on the judicial precedent concept. Thus, the judge’s decision cannot be predicted and sometimes is hard to analyze. The “popular” punishments in the country are amputation of limbs, stoning (sometimes to death), crucifixion, and other methods, which would seem barbaric enough to people around the globe (Dorsey, 2016). In the context of everything stated above, it becomes clearer that being a significant economic player in the world arena, Saudi Arabia is still living by the notions of previous centuries and has a variety of inner problems to solve (poverty, and social issues among them). Hence, the resolution to ban Pokemon Go can seem strange to foreigners but is traditional for the population and state government.
The main reasons for game prohibition are its propaganda of gambling, evolution, and polytheism (“Saudi Arabia revives ban on ‘un-Islamic’ Pokemon in response to app”, 2016). As it has been already mentioned above, all of these reasons have the religious background to a greater or lesser extent. Thus, gambling can be treated like evident deviant behavior. Besides, this accusation is quite fair, as complaints of the violation of common rules because of the game has been also registered in other countries and regions. The examples incorporate traffic rules breach and increasing number of crimes. Therefore, these situations presumably have been caused by a strong sense of reality felt while catching Pokemon. People dive into the imaginary environment because of the game. In reference to the evolution reason for Pok?mon Go banning, one should outline that Muslim belief rejects the Charles Darwin doctrine, and the creatures in the app are proved to be its generation. One more thing that characterizes the state of affairs in Saudi Arabia is the conviction of polytheism propaganda and symbols of deviant religions in the game according to the national reasoning. Consequently, the prohibition of Pokemon Go may be understood as a rash and wiredrawn idea for the “unfaithful” observer. Moreover, this position has some background regarding the social and legal life in the country. On the other side, some of the arguments are quite powerful and could be considered once more by other states that suffer from overindulgence of children and youth in video games that cripple human minds.
Being a modern, progressive, and fast-developing nation, the Republic of Singapore is a country in Southeastern Asia with rich history and multicultural environment. The state is a parliamentary republic with highly advanced market economy. People speak different languages and follow various religions in Singapore. Having studied the progress of the counties of the region, one may deduce that readiness to change, easy adaptation to innovations, and flexibility are the key factors of success. Therefore, Singapore is successful in this sense for sure.
If a proposal for discussion and legal adoption of Pokemon Go prohibition has arose in modern Singapore, the support or resistance to the state system and the public would be an interesting topic for consideration. With the aim of better understanding of the question, the concepts of social norms and values of the country should be analyzed. At first, the reasons that can lead to the game banning have to be outlined. Taking into account the example of Saudi Arabia, the latter could be deviant behavior and gambling or religious dispute. The evolution rejection does not seem to have enough rationale to become the ground for legislation norms’ changing, as it is an “inner” Muslim distinction of the human history of development. Furthermore, gambling can be viewed as a negative practice and aberration. However, it does not have the features of the crime. Online and offline games accessed via mobile phone or personal computer are popular all over the planet. According to the concept of supremacy of law, overindulgence with Pokemon Go cannot serve as a basis for prohibition. On the other hand, the violation of regulations and orders, which will lead to being subject to the jurisdiction of the legal system, can become the precedent (Joyce, 2013). Thus, the inhibition of the app, The Darkness, in 2007 can represent Singapore police disturbance of safety because of the extreme manifestation of cruelty in the video. However, later The Darkness has become available officially again with the mark M-18 (Arenot, 2007). The rating is assigned by the Media Development Authority of Singapore, which has adopted the games classification. It has to be mentioned that games in Singapore rarely come within the purview of legislative system or social condemnation. Additionally, no attempt of total prohibition was crowned with success. With regard to the Pokemon Go ban on the religious ground, it is also an unlikely practice for the state with modern and advanced information technologies, the Internet, and numerous innovations. At first, the polytheism noticed by the Saudi Arabian orders is rather welcomed in the country, which is the peaceful place of residence for the representatives of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Taoism, Islam, atheism and other less popular clerical and spiritual movements. Moreover, the signs in the app could even be treated as demonstration of equality without reference to distinctions among people.
In relation to the difference between deviance and crime in the context of Pokemon Go inhibition, these changing definitions can have various meanings depending on the time and place they are applied. Deviant behavior tends to associate with the frowned, but not illegal, action (Chong & Yean, 2016). It can have bad influence on other individuals. In addition, it can create some obstacles or difficulties for the person in the process of communication. However, there is mostly no strict rule to prevent someone from deviant behavior on the legislative level. Besides, everyone is an individual, and distinction can be treated not like deflection but uniqueness as well. Regarding the definition of crime, it is an illegal conduct, which criminal laws of the community and country try to restrict and fight against (Jones, 2013). While the ban on video games in Singapore can be considered as an attempt to stop their aberrant influence on the youth, the governmental struggle against terrorism is a bright example of all the efforts aimed at combatting criminality expansion and destruction of peace inside and outside Singapore. The measures taken by the state administration are evidently a lot more important steps than unsuccessful attempts to stop “gamers” in their hobby admiring.
In conclusion, the “verdict” has to be reached. Having analyzed the inner situations in Saudi Arabia and Singapore, and understanding the threat, which Pokemon Go poses to the society, one may infer that the game prohibition in the conservative Muslim state is a predictable action of the authorities with the aim to reduce the possible negative impact. On the other hand, the same ban in progressive Singapore would only call for discontentment of the gamers’ community. The freedom of speech and choice is highly valued in the Asian city-state. It cannot be compared with the Middle East national norms and principles built throughout the centuries. Thus, having taken into account several attempts to impose the position to the people in Singapore regarding the video games, the government has taken the more measured decision and rated the products according to the common approach in the media sphere all over the world. It proved that individual rights and their non-violation are more substantial for the modern communities than compulsion and obedience. Additionally, the legislative system, as well as social norms, is developed in compliance to these principles.
Arenot, S. (2007, February 7). Singapore bans the Darkness. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2007/07/singapore-bans/
Chong, M., & Yean, T. S. (2016). SOC355. Sociology of law and order. Study guide (10CU). Singapore: SIM University.
Dorsey, J. M. (2016, August 26). Creating Frankenstein: the Saudi export of ultra- conservatism. Retrieved from https://www.theglobalist.com/saudi-arabia-export-of- conservatism-islam-religion-wahhabism-extremism/
Jones, S. (2013). Criminology (5th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Joyce, P. (2013). Criminal justice (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Saudi Arabia revives ban on “un-Islamic” Pokemon in response to app. (2016, July 20). Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/20/saudi-arabia- pokemon-go-ban