Labelling

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  • Labelling theory
    • Cicourel- the negotiation of justice
      • Officer's typifications- their common sense theories/ stereotypes of what the typical delinquent is like. Leads them to concentrate on certain 'types'
      • Working class areas- people fitted the police typifications more closely. Meaning police patrolled these areas more intensively, resulting in more arrests
      • Middle class juveniles- less likely to fit typification, parents can negotiate on their behalf. Less likely to be charged
      • Crime statistics
        • Crime stats do not give a valid picture of crime patterns due to police typifications
        • Cicourel argues we cannot take crime stats at face value or use them as a resource
        • We should treat them as topic and investigate the processes by which they are constructed
    • Lemert- Primary and secondary deviance
      • Primary deviance- deviant acts that have not been publicly labelled
      • Secondary deviance- the result of societal reaction (labelling)
      • Becker- the attachment of the label may have major consequences for the individuals view of themselves- their self-concept
    • Deviant Careers
      • The labelling process and societal reaction can lead to a master status and then a self-fulfilling prophecy which could cause a deviant career
      • Deviant career- where people who have been labelled as deviant find conventional opportunities blocked to them, and so are pushed into committing further deviant acts
      • Institutions help to make this label stick
    • Jock Young- hippy marijuana users
      • Initially drugs were peripheral to hippies (primary deviance). However persecution and labelling by the police led to them being outsiders (societal reaction)
      • Retreated into deviant subcultures, drugs became central, therefore a self fulfilling prophecy
    • Deviance amplification spiral
      • The attempt to control deviance only increases it
      • Cohen studied Mods and Rockers, found press exaggeration created a series of moral panics, leading to higher prosecution levels and therefore higher levels of deviance. Turned into folk devils
    • Evaluation
      • Shows the law is often enforced in discriminatory ways
      • Assumes offenders are passive victims of labelling and not that they may actively choose deviance
      • Does not consider the victim

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