Interactionism and crime

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  • Created by: andakhan
  • Created on: 23-02-16 18:58
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  • Interactionalism
    • INTRO: crime is a social construction- laws relative -micro theorists focus on individuals not functions like macro (marx and func)- individuals actions and conscious choice
      • interactionist crtitical of functionalist theories as they assume socially constructed categories (law and crime) clear and unambigous
        • Functionalist theories - view criminals as being subjected to the process of the law -interactionists argue that criminals are far from law abiding citizens - interactionalists decode functional point of view in attempt to expose purpose and meaning behind invidividual acts of crime
          • Interactionists- individuals differ due to structural influences - difference may be located in socialization , strain or status frustration
            • Macro theories according to intractionists are functional in terms of distinguishing between criminals and non criminals - this is only set for a time period
              • Oscar Wilde arrested for being in a gay relationship however in 05' Elton john had legally married his male partner
                • these relative crimes are problematic - functionalists accept deviance and laws as functional - Durkheim society of saints / Marxists- crime & deviance = act of rebellion -interactionists= structure is part of wider jigsaw interactionists focus on reason behind a theft e.g. hunger or thrill
                  • Macro theorists offer understanding of human choice but they fall short because they don't add freewill and individual creativity - functional + subcultural theory critisized as assuming deviance is a psychological choice
                    • Interactionists- understanding of personal choice is made in comparison to relative understanding of deviance or law of that period
                      • Interactionists do not agree with structuralism as they argue deviance is the definition of people who label the act - focus is placed on why people are not labelled when doing the same law breaking and deviancy
                        • interactionists analyse the process where laws and rules are selectively reinforced - why big corporations get away with white collar crimes and other individuals are imprisoned for theft
                          • Cicourel- researcher of juvenile delinquency- viewed subjective stereotypes of law enforcers attached to deviants
                            • 2 american cities were studies MC AND WC- higher crime rate was because police had sen same acts committed by both classes but intercepted only in WC or socially economically poorer area
                              • Same acts were committed by MC and consequneces were far less detrimental
                                • Law enforcers believed young people from poorer backgrounds were assumed 2 be deviant but those from richer backgrounds were considered to be going through a phase - justice not fixed but negotiable =labelling process
                                  • Lemert distinguishes between primary deviance (PD) and secondary deviance (SD)
                                    • PD not labelled publicly so one's self concept not affected SD consists of process of labelling a person or act as deviant . individual that commits act privately and no one is aware- PD as soon as act is known= SD as person is labelled
                                      • Interactionist Becker- deviance is socially constructed - individuals appears to have broken boundaries of society's norms and values
                                        • According to becker crime is relative not stable, people who give these labels have power and resources to create and enforce rules
                                          • Becker calls these people Moral Entrepreneaurs- who had the power to attach deviant labels
                                            • e.g. police have pre concieved ideas of what constitutes as trouble so reaction i not to do with behaviour but police's stereotypes views
                                              • Becker argues that once deviant is labelled they develop a master status = other traits they hold such as charitable and loving are lost under master status= leads to distrust so secondary deviance begins - interactionists believe that deviants develop a self fulfiling prophecy and embark on deviant career
                                                • Cohen's moral panic- where there is deviance which is labelled, media attention may ostracize deviant leaving them in a position to build closer relationships with other deviants
                                                  • Young undertook research on hippies using cannabis- media amplified stereotype of drug using hippies so they felt ostracized- creating a stronger bond with cannabis users to stick together for self worth- hippies developed a separate identity - moral panic over drug use highlighted cannabis availability- harsher punishment was introduced as a result of deviance amplification
                                                    • interactionists provide insight to labelling process that macro theorists cannot
                                                      • interactionsists have little to say about policies to stop crime except naming and shaming
                                                        • blame for deviant is removed and to those that are in a position to label crime and deviance- theory does not explain why there are different reactions to deviance or where stereotypes can originate from ignoring importance of wider structural factors in creating deviance and assumes it's down to social reactions
                                                          • Taylor et al argues labelling is wrong suggesting deviance is created by a social group who defines act as deviant. interactionist approach fails to explain why individuals commit acts
                                                            • Knuttsen argues interactionist have not produced enough evidence to show labelling will amplify deviance - interactionist fails to explain why some are  labelled over others ignoring wider issues of distribution of power in society
                                                              • Interactionism challenges idea that deviants are different from normal people - reveals official stats are a form of bias in law enforcement stereotyping in understanding deviance
                                                                • Plummer argues labelling is very useful if you distinguish between types of behaviour society disapproves of and deviance in certain situation- interactionist ignore initial cause of deviance
                                                                  • accoridng to plummer too much time has been devoted too much time to explain PD , becker regretted using the phrase labelling as it misguides people to believe that the theory focuses exclusively on labels- entire approach puts great stress on open choice as individuals interpret what happens around them
                                                                    • CONCLUSION: explanation is deterministic implying that once labelled as deviant career is inevitable- labelling gives the offender a victim status- realist sociologist argues this ignores real victims of crime by assuming offenders are passive victims of labelling - fails to explain why people commit PD  before they are labelled- implies without labelling deviance would not exist leading to a strange conclusion someone who commits a crime but is not labelled has not deviates


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