Evaluation of interactionist theories of crime: labelling theory

A look at the strengths and limitations of the interactionist theory of crime and deviance. 

HideShow resource information
Preview of Evaluation of interactionist theories of crime: labelling theory

First 431 words of the document:

23rd March
AQA A2 SOCIOLOGY ­ CRIME & DEVIANCE
2011
Evaluation of labelling theory/SATs ­ Crime & Deviance
Strengths
It provides insights into the nature of deviance not provided by structural theories
It challenges the idea that deviants are different from `normal' people
It shows the importance of the reactions of others in defining and creating
deviance
It reveals the importance of stereotyping in understanding deviance
It reveals the way official crime statistics are a product of bias in
lawenforcement
It reveals the importance of those with power in defining acts and people as
deviant
It highlights the role of moral entrepreneurs, like the media, in defining and
creating deviance and generating moral panics
It shows how labelling can lead to a selffulfilling prophecy and to deviant careers
It shows how the deviant label can affect the selfconcept of the deviant
Weaknesses
It tends to remove the blame for deviance away from the deviant and onto those
who define him or her as deviant: the deviant becomes a victim too
It assumes an act isn't deviant until it is labelled as such, yet many know perfectly
well that what they are doing is deviant
It doesn't explain the causes of deviant behaviour which precede the labelling
process (primary deviance), nor the different kinds of acts that people commit ­
for example, taking drugs is a different act from murder
It is too deterministic:
o It doesn't allow that some people choose deviance and the attachment of
a deviant label or of a deviant identity, like adopting a gay identity it is not
simply or always imposed on them by societal reaction
o Labelling doesn't always lead to a selffulfilling prophecy and more
deviance the attachment of a deviant label and the stigma attached by
societal reaction may reduce deviance rather than increase it, like a
shoplifter so mortified by being caught they never want to do it again
Becker himself recognises that individuals can choose to avoid a deviant
career by seeking to rehabilitate themselves
It doesn't explain why there are different reactions to deviance, nor where
stereotypes come from in the first place
It ignores the importance of wider structural factors in creating deviance, and
assumes it is all down to societal reaction
It has little to say about the victims of crime
Chris Cartwright

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

March
AQA A2 SOCIOLOGY ­ CRIME & DEVIANCE
2011
It has no real policy solutions to crime, beyond making fewer rules and not
`naming and shaming' offenders ­ this isn't much consolation for the victims of
crime
It does not explain why some people should be labelled rather than others, and
why some activities are against the law while others aren't it points to the issue
of power in the labelling process, but not, as the Marxists have done, at the
structures of power in…read more

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all resources »