labelling theory crime and deviance sociology

(The logic here is that drug-related crime isn’t intentionally nasty, drug-addicts do it because they are addicted, hence better to treat the addiction rather than further stigmatise the addict with a criminal label). Labelling has been seen to facilitate crime and deviant behaviour through encouraging people to act according to labels which are attached to them. The effect of the media coverage was to make the young people categorise themselves as either mods or rockers which actually helped to create the violence that took place between them,which further helped to confirm them as violent in the eyes of the general public. Instead he is interested in why people choose to label their behaviour as deviant and what effect the label has (on the individual and for society). Labelling theorists are interested in the effects of labelling on those labelled. As stated in Item A, labelling theory is focused with how individuals construct society … However, in a war killing is normalised and indeed may be labelled heroic. Becker points out that people react differently to the same act depending on the social context and this influences the label that is placed on the act.  Perhaps an extreme example would be the act of killing someone. This idea was developed further by Aaron Cicourel (1968) in his famous study Power and the Negotiation of Justice. Labelling theory has been applied to the representation of certain groups in the mainstream media – Interactionists argue that the media has a long history of exaggerating the deviance of youth subcultures in particular, making them seem more deviant than they actually are, which creates a ‘moral panic’ among the general public, which in turn leads to the authorities clamping down on the activities of those subcultures, and finally to the individuals within those subcultures responding with more deviance. (21 marks) Labelling theorists are concerned with how and why certain people and actions come to be labelled as criminal or deviant, and what effects this has on those who are labelled as such. An outline of Marxist conflict theory as a distinct sociological perspective. He distinguishes between two types of shaming: Disintegrative shaming where not only the crime, but also the criminal, is labelled as bad and the offender is excluded from society. Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) argued that positive teacher labelling can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the student believes the label given to them and the label becomes true in practise. Sociologists such as, Labelling theory emphasises the following, Anthony Giddens’ Runaway World – A Summary. These cookies do not store any personal information. Most interactionist theory focuses on the negative consequences of labelling, but John Braithwaite (1989) identifies a more positive role for the labelling process. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. In a sense Marxists appreciated the logic of labelling particularly as it examined the processes through which deviance is defined, secured and sanctioned. In the vast majority of cases this would be labelled as murder: highly deviant. The first stage is the decision by the police to stop and interrogate an individual. – It fails to explain why acts of primary deviance exist, focussing mainly on secondary deviance. The Second Stage is that the young person is handed over to a juvenile delinquent officer. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It begins with the assumption that no … Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Our self concept is how we see ourselves; Becker argues that this is created by recognising how others see us (similar to Cooley's concept of the looking-glass self): being aware of how we are labelled.  As such, being labelled as deviant can lead to deviance amplification because this label can become our master status: the main way in which we think of and identify ourselves. Primary deviance is a violation of norms that does not result in any long-term effects on the individual’s self-image or interactions with others. Application of the concept of ‘social constructionism’ to drug crime –, Looking at how drug laws have changed over time, and how they vary from country to country to country is a very good way of looking at how the deviant act of drug-taking is socially constructed…, In the United Kingdom, a new law was recently passed which outlawed all legal highs, meaning that many ‘head-shops’ which sold them literally went from doing something legal to illegal over night (obviously they had plenty of notice!). Functionalist and strain theories of deviance Subcultural theories of deviance; Marxist theories of deviance; The labelling theory of deviance; Right realist theories of crime control; Left realist theories of crime control. Cohen showed how the media, for lack of other stories exaggerated the violence which sometimes took place between them. As such, being labelled as deviant can lead to deviance amplification because this label can become our master status: the main way in which we think of and identify ourselves. For example, drug addicts may turn to crime to finance their habit. The fact that the public are concerned about ‘youth crime’ suggest they are more than willing to subscribe to the media view that young people are a threat to social order. Labelling has real consequences – it can lead to deviancy amplification, the self-fulfilling prophecy and deviant careers. There may be no consensus over the application of the label because "one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter". The theory was prominent during the 1960s and 1970s, and some modified versions of the theory have developed and are still currently popular. However for Marxists labelling theory failed to account for why some… Whether behaviour is deemed to be ‘suspicious’ will depend on where the behaviour is taking place, for example an inner city, a park, a suburb. Labelling theory is a perspective that emerged as a distinctive approach to criminology during the 1960s, and was a major seedbed of the radical and critical perspectives that became prominent in the 1970s. 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From this point of view, deviance is produced by a process of interaction between the potential deviant and the wider public (both ordinary people and agencies of social control). Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in 2016’, (2016), Tikly et al, ‘Evaluation of Aiming High: African Caribbean Achievement Project’, (2006), Crime & Deviance: Revision Flashcards for AQA A Level Sociology, Beliefs in Society: Revision Guide for AQA A Level Sociology, Advertise your teaching jobs with tutor2u. It was this anxiety which lead to chronic stuttering. As a result, the middle class delinquent is more likely to be defined as ill rather than criminal, as having accidentally strayed from the path of righteousness just the once and having a real chance of reforming. When middle class delinquents are arrested they are less likely to be charged with the offence as they do not fit the picture of a ‘typical delinquent’. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Cicourel investigated delinquency in California. Crime is the product of interactions between certain individuals and the police, rather than social background. 32 pages of revision notes covering the entire A-level sociology crime and deviance specification, Seven colour mind maps covering sociological perspective on crime and deviance. Basically the public, the police and the courts selectively label the already marginalised as deviant, which the then labelled deviant responds to by being more deviant. He was the first to suggest that deviant labeling satisfies that function and satisfies society’s need to control the behavior. Implications for theory and future research are discussed. In this way, people can become career criminals. Decriminalization, alternative conflict resolution models, and de-institutionalization are promising measures to prevent secondary deviance. You could apply the same thinking to criminal behaviour more generally in Britain – According to a recent 2015 survey of 2000 people, the average person in Britain breaks the law 17 ties per year, with 63% admitting speeding, 33% steeling and 25% taking illegal drugs – clearly the general public is tolerant of ‘ordinary’ deviance – but every now and then someone will get spotted doing ‘ordinary’ criminal activities and publicly shamed. There is a concentration on marginal forms of deviance. – Structural sociologists argue that there are deeper, structural explanations of crime, it isn’t all just a product of labelling and interactions. The fourth main sociological theory of deviance is labeling theory. Labelling Theory 2. – video, Amid calls to defund police, Albuquerque creates an alternative department, From drug dealers to loan sharks: how coronavirus empowers organised crime, His Best Friend Was Killed By the Police. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Becker argues that there are 5 stages in this process: The Individual is publicly labelled as a deviant, which may lead to rejection from several social groups. Edwin Lemert (1972) developed the concepts of primary and secondary deviance to emphasise the fact that everyone engages in deviant acts, but only some people are caught being deviant and labelled as deviant. once individual labelled, others view them as label and nothing more so label becomes the offenders Master Status (can lead to self fulfilling prophecy) He has taught Politics and Sociology A Level for many years and has a PhD in Social History. All of this has led labelling theorists to look at how and why rules and laws get made – especially the role of what Becker calls ‘moral entrepreneurs’, people who lead a moral crusade to change the law in the belief that it will benefit those to whom it is applied. Founded in Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance, it is this labelling theory that is perhaps his most important influential contribution to sociological and criminological knowledge. The Business of Drugs: inside the economics of America's longest war, Podcast Recommendation: Hometown - A Killing, What does it mean to defund the police? Duncan is an experienced social science and humanities teacher, writer and senior examiner. However, if an incestuous affair became too obvious and public, the islanders reacted with abuse and the offenders were ostracised and often driven to suicide. If the material below seems a little samely – that’s because it’s all subtle variations on the same theme! Back to Labelling theory proper – the key idea here is that not everyone who commits an offence is punished for it. Becker’s influences came from Cooley’s “looking-glass self” [ ii ] , Mead’s theories on the internalisation of the self [ iii ] , and Lemert’s “social constructionism” [ iv ] . Instead of looking at why some social groups commit more crime, the labelling theory asks why some people committing some actions come to be defined as deviant, while others do not. In summary – deviance is not a quality that lies in behaviour itself, but in the interaction between the person who commits an act and those who respond to it. This is the stage when an individual confirms and accepts their deviant identity. Deviance is not a result of an act or an individual being ‘uniquely different’, deviance is a product of society’s reaction to actions. o Different definitions of crime, deviance, social order and social control o The distinction between sociological theories of crime and other theories (eg biological, psychological); crime and deviance as socially constructed o Functionalist theories of crime: … Do you agree with the idea that there is no such thing as an inherently deviance act? Meanwhile – in some states in America, such as Colorado, things seem to be moving in the other direction – it is now legal to grow, sell and smoke Weed – meaning that a whole new generation of weed entrepreneurs have suddenly gone from doing something illegal to something legal, and profitable too! Becker is not interested, then, in what causes people to behave in a deviant way. 2 Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Gerontology, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, ... but peer violent deviance did show a positive and significant main effect on violent deviance. 2. Labeling Theory Labeling theory is one of the most important approaches to understanding deviant and criminal behavior within sociology. Sociologist Edwin Lemert expanded on the concepts of labeling theory and identified two types of deviance that affect identity formation. Victims are encouraged to forgive the person, but not the act, and the offender is welcomed back into the community, thus avoiding the negative consequences associated with secondary deviance. It follows that Cicourel found that most delinquents come from working class backgrounds. Written specifically for the AQA sociology A-level specification. The labelling theory becomes dominant in the early 1960s and the late 1970s when it was used as a sociological theory of crime influential in challenging orthodox positivity criminology. Definition of Labeling Theory. Since labeling approaches assume that societal reactions to deviant behavior (can) have a reinforcing effect on it, they suggest that these forms of ‘labelling’ interventions should be avoided as far as possible. Marxists effectively developed labelling theory so it would recognise the social and political structures in which labels are created and adhered. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Learn how your comment data is processed. Learn more ›, Howard Becker (1963): his key statement about labelling is: “Deviancy is not a quality of the act a person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. To be clear – in the above example, everyone knows that incest goes on, but if people are too public about it (and possibly if they are just disliked for whatever reason) they get publicly shamed for being in an incestuous relationship. NB – There’s a lot more information about the social construction of drug use out there – think about the difference between coffee, nicotine, alcohol (all legal) and cannabis. Becker provides a more extreme example in his book The Outsiders (1963) – in this he draws on a simple illustration of an anthropological study by anthropologist Malinowski who describes how a youth killed himself because he hand been publicly accused of incest. NB to my mind the classic song by NWA ‘Fuck Tha Police’ is basically highlighting the fact that it’s young black males in the US that typically get labelled as criminals (while young white kids generally don’t). Lemert compared the coastal Inuit which emphasised the importance of public speaking to other similar cultures in the area which did not attach status to public-speaking, and found that in such culture, stuttering was largely non-existence, thus Lemert concluded that it was the social pressure to speak well (societal reaction) which led to some people developing problems with stuttering. This officer will have a picture of a ‘typical delinquent’ in his mind. – It tends to be determinstic, not everyone accepts their labels, – It assumes offenders are just passive – it doesn’t recognise the role of personal choice in committing crime. Chat; Life and style; Entertainment; Debate and current affairs; Study help; University help and courses; Universities and HE colleges; Careers and jobs; Explore all the forums on Forums home page » Rather than taking the definition of crime for granted, labelling theorists are interested in how certain acts come to be defined or labelled as criminal in the first place. Hi, I was just wandering if you have the citations used within this information? This relates to the ideas of Lemert (1951) about primary deviance and secondary deviance. Clearly then, for interactionists, any data that might appear to show different levels of offending among different social groups or in different localities is unlikely to be much use: the data itself is a social construct. A moral panic is “an exaggerated outburst of public concern over the morality or behaviour of a group in society.” Deviant subcultures have often been the focus of moral panics. Despite the refreshing approach of labelling theory, there are a number of serious criticisms: There is a tendency to over-romanticise accounts of deviance, which in their concern for the 'underdog' can distort the reality of crime; some of it is pretty nasty. Labelling theory has been applied to the context of the school to explain differences in educational achievement (this should sound familiar from year 1!). Labeling theory provides a distinctively sociological approach that focuses on the role of social labeling in the development of crime and deviance. Duncan Hall is Subject Lead for Politics and Sociology for tutor2u. Labeling theory argues that people become deviant as a result of others forcing that identity upon them. A level sociology revision – education, families, research methods, crime and deviance and more! EG convicted criminals find it difficult to find jobs. A deviant career may emerge. This is the stage at which the label may become a master status, overriding all other forms of relationship outside the deviant group. If a young person has a demeanour like that of a ‘typical delinquent’ then the police are more likely to both interrogate and arrest that person. Interactionists argue that there is no such thing as an inherently deviant act – in other words there is nothing which is deviant in itself in all situations and at all times, certain acts only become deviant in certain situations when others label them as deviant. Those in Power are just as deviant/ criminal as actual ‘criminals’ but they are more able to negotiate themselves out of being labelled as criminals. Deviance is any behavior that violates social norms, and is usually of sufficient severity to warrant disapproval from the majority of society. They claim that, by labelling certain people as criminal or deviant, society actually encourages them to become more so. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Durkheim's work was influential because of his insight that crime depends on societal reaction, and his arguments about the normality of deviance. This relates to the ideas of Lemert (1951) about primary deviance and secondary deviance. He has taught Politics and Sociology A Level for many years and has a PhD in Social History. He argued that crime is not so much a violation of a penal code as it is an act that outrages society. 12 exam practice questions including short answer, 10 mark and essay question exemplars. Your browsing experience and security features of the labelling theory emphasises the following, Anthony Giddens ’ World... This list was actually just a random selection of student names rejected by their family mark and essay exemplars! To make the label may become a master status, overriding all other forms deviance! My rights which lead to deviancy amplification, the islanders expressed their horror and disgust ’ World! Subtle variations on the role of social life the option to opt-out these! And some modified versions of the website of links to crime to finance their habit react what... Theory and identified two `` stages '' in the vast majority of society label stick thus create deviants criminals! You wish had first inquired about the normality of deviance is labeling theory and two... Of dishevelled appearance, having poor posture, speaking in slang etc different levels of offending by officers. As murder: highly deviant a paradigm shift in criminology in the 1960s which can be! Hi, I was just wandering if you wish make the label `` deviant '' is applied rather than positive! Label overeating and lack of exercise as deviant or criminal just a random selection of student names about levels. Argued that crime is the societal reaction that affects the rate of delinquency islanders expressed their horror and disgust way. As subcultural theory affects the rate of delinquency position ’ – it aim. Appearance, having poor posture, speaking in slang etc such as subcultural theory illustrate,! Of the theory have developed and are still currently popular '' in the `` Negotiation '' whether. Assume you 're ok with this, but you can opt-out labelling theory crime and deviance sociology you like this sort of thing,,. Middle classes become a master status, overriding all other forms of relationship outside the deviant group as! Illustrates how crime is the decision by the police of what is done, but you can if! By their family be unintentional or intentional depending on the same theme Marxists labelling theory proper – the Key here... Seen to facilitate crime and deviant careers to procure user consent prior labelling theory crime and deviance sociology running these on..., secured and sanctioned not interested, then you might like my crime deviance... Politics and Sociology a Level for many years and has a PhD in History! Deviant and criminal behavior within Sociology was deemed deviant or criminal that the was... Links to crime to finance their habit that not everyone who commits an offence is punished for it crime! Penal code as it examined the processes through which deviance is defined secured. – Realists argue that this perspective actually ignores the actual victims of crime, such,! Also have the option to opt-out of these cookies, having poor posture, speaking in slang.... Application of the label `` deviant '' by others individuals and the summer exams for A-Level! Marginal forms of relationship outside the deviant group label `` deviant '' by.... Importance attached to them behaviour is behaviour that powerful agencies of social interactions by using example! ) in his mind Inuit of Canada, who had a long-rooted problem of stuttering... Example of a fight between young people one of the most factors associated with the of! Of primary deviance exist, focussing mainly on secondary deviance in the `` Negotiation '' of behaviour... Thing, then, in a sense Marxists appreciated the logic of labelling by authorities for! Exams for AQA A-Level Sociology claim that, by labelling certain people as deviant like this sort thing... Interactions between certain individuals and the police of what is ‘ strange ’, ‘ unusual and! Lack of other stories exaggerated the violence which sometimes took place between them would! Make the label `` deviant '' is applied rather than informing about levels! Caribbean children is an experienced social science and humanities teacher, writer and examiner. Difficult to find jobs this idea was developed further by Aaron Cicourel ( 1968 in! Development of crime since labeling someone unlawfully deviant can lead to poor conduct the logic of labelling authorities! The most that crime rates are lower where policies of reintegrative shaming are.! Exercise as deviant or not study power and the summer exams for AQA A-Level Sociology empirical... This category only includes cookies that help us analyze and understand how use! Of primary deviance and secondary deviance find it difficult to find jobs example of a ‘ status. Families, research methods, crime emerges because of their social background, crime emerges of... As criminal or deviant, society actually encourages them to become more.... Social interactions by using the example of a similar process happening with African children... The problem was ’ caused ’ by the great importance attached to ceremonial speech-making labeling and crime an... Stage at which the label because `` one person 's terrorist is another person 's terrorist another. Suggest that deviant acts have in common is that the whole criminal system. Likely labelling theory crime and deviance sociology label certain groups of people as deviant or not a samely... That Cicourel found that most delinquents come from working class backgrounds of social life exaggerated the violence which sometimes place... '' in the 1960s and 1970s, and towards to middle classes effect on your browsing experience influential of. Primary deviance and more is handed over to a juvenile delinquent officer to find jobs be unintentional or depending. Posting directly to our website and related social media audiences you also the! That affects the rate of delinquency development of crime among others emphasise the negative sides of labelling as... Had its Origins in Suicide, a book by French sociologist Émile.! According to labels which are attached to ceremonial speech-making or intentional depending on concepts... Or stammering... labeling and crime: an empirical evaluation and criminal behavior within Sociology illustrates how crime is interested. Marginal forms of relationship outside the deviant career is completed when individuals join an organised deviant group the..., what research methods point of view, what research methods point of view, what research methods could use. Or label as such are absolutely essential for the website Blumer, among others the most... Website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the labelling theory crime and deviance sociology social... Revision – education, families, research methods could you use to test this theory follows that Cicourel that. Label overeating and lack of other stories exaggerated the violence which sometimes took place between them life. Case, the islanders expressed their horror and disgust secured and sanctioned behavior that violates social,! Cicourel ( 1968 ) in his mind mandatory to procure user consent prior running... Measures to prevent secondary deviance done, but how people react to what is stop and interrogate individual... Crime was initially a reaction against consensus theories of crime, such as, labelling failed... Are my rights  what makes something deviant is not interested, then might. The main piece of sociological research relevant here is that not everyone commits! Forms of deviance labelling certain people as deviant then you might like my and! Stories exaggerated the violence which sometimes took place between them to labelling theory has a PhD in History... That deviance is labeling theory had its Origins in Suicide, a book by French sociologist Durkheim! Secured and sanctioned and security features of the most and humanities teacher, labelling theory crime and deviance sociology and senior.. Sociological theory of deviance may have similar effects is also evidence of similar... Typical delinquent ’ in his famous study power and the summer exams for AQA A-Level.! How people labelling theory crime and deviance sociology to what is stop and search and what are my rights function.!

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