AQA A2 Sociology- Interactionist Theory of Crime

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  • Created by: EmK123
  • Created on: 11-06-16 13:24
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  • Interpretivism and Crime
    • Howard Becker- Labelling
      • No actions are by nature criminal or deviant- it depends on society's definitions.
      • 2 Actions:
        • One group who lacks power acts in a certain way.
        • Another more powerful group reacts negatively and labels the act as deviant
      • Powerful groups create laws to define actions as deviant and those who don't conform are labelled as criminals.
    • Lemert: Primary and Secondary deviance
      • Primary = insignificant acts that haven't been labelled.
      • Secondary = a reaction to society's labelling/reacion
        • A criminal label can become a master status (a primary characteristic of a person)
        • Leads to prejudice, discrimination and SFP. People may seek refuge with people with similar labels.
    • Goffman
      • Studied mental institutions as an example of secondary deviance.
      • Patients are stripped of their identity (clothing, strict timetable etc) Many become institutionalised as they accept their label of being helpless so they are unable to reintegrate.
    • Evaluation
      • Marxists: they are wrong when they say deviance is created by labelling the act. They don't address the issue of power.
      • Too deterministic to assume all labels lead to SFP
      • They don't explain primary deviance properly
      • Plummer- Labelling has opened up the question of who has the power to make and apply laws.
    • Phenomenological Perspective
      • Cicourel: Studied 2 Californian cities.
        • Evaluation
          • Provides insight into juvenile justice in USA
          • Shows how meaning held by officials leads to labels of individuals as deviant.
          • Marxists: fail to show how the police see the typical delinquent as coming from the W/C.
          • Doesn't explain who has power and how this might influence the definitions of crime.


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