- Crime and Deviance (Interactionist Theory)
- The activities of the law and the social control agencies such as the police and courts are central in shaping the pattern of crime and deviance in society.
- Everyone breaks the law but only certain individuals and groups are targeted by the police and courts to be labelled as criminal or deviant.
- Society reacts differently to those who have been labelled in this way from the rest of the population.
- Once labelled, the criminal or deviant begins to act in ways that confirm the label.
- Choices made by the police over where to patrol, who to stop and search who to arrest and who to take to prosecution.
- These important aspects of the operation of micro-power and shape the pattern of apparent criminal activity that emerges.
- Those labelled criminals are not inevitably cast out from mainstream society.
- In areas of strong community, shame can be used to reintegrate the individual into society.
- Phenomenologists emphasise the meaning of crime for the individuals who commit crimes.
- eg: the engagement in criminal activity can cause excitement.
- The labelling of groups as criminal or deviant can serve political purposes.
- By keeping the population fearful of crime or others, stronger laws can be introduced to curtail civil liberties.
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