Social Construction of Crime

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  • Created by: Ja11en
  • Created on: 18-03-15 13:49
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  • The Social Construction of Crime
    • Introduction
      • Labelling theorists are interested in how and why certain acts are defined or labelled as criminal
      • It is not the nature that makes it deviant, it is society's reaction to the act
    • Becker
      • A deviant is someone to whom the label has been successfully applied
      • Moral Entrepreneurs: People who lead a moral crusade to change the law
      • This 'new law' has two effects
        • The creation of 'outsiders' - outlaws or deviants who break the new rule
        • The creation or expansion of a social control agency to enforce the rule and impose labels on offenders
    • Who gets labelled?
      • Not everyone is punished for crime. A persons arrest depends on:
        • Their interactions with agencies of social control
        • Their appearance, background and personal biography
        • The situation and circumstances of the offence
      • Theorists show that agencies are more likely to label certain groups of people
      • Piliavin and Briar: Officers' decisions were influenced by the suspects gender, class and ethnicity
        • Those stopped late at night in high crime areas ran a greater risk of arrest
    • Cicourel: negotiation of justice
      • Found that officers' stereotypes led them to focus on certain 'types'
        • Resulted in law enforcement showing a class bias
        • Led police to patrol working class areas more, more arrests, confirming stereotypes
      • Probation officers saw youths as likely to offend in the future
        • Were less likely to support non-custodial sentences for them
    • Topic VS. Resource
      • His study has implications
        • Argues that these statistics don't give us a valid picture of patterns of crime
        • We should treat them as a topic for sociologists to investigate
      • Must not take statistics at face value. Should investigate the processes that created them

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