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Internationalist: labelling theory
Define, Decode, Signpost
Criminal behaviour is an act which breaks a formal law, such as murder, whereas deviant behaviour is
that which breaks a norm. Definitions of crime and deviance are socially constructed their definitions
are culturally determined. Consensus macro theories such as functionalism and new right claim
definitions of crime and deviance are freely agreed and that social control protects all members of
society. Conflict macro theories such as Marxism claim that definitions of Crime and Deviance are
imposed on the proletariat by the bourgeoisie to serve the interests of the elite. Micro
internationalists also explore the reaction to behaviour in terms of labelling. When debating
(DECODE). It is also important to consider the concept of social control which is attempts to society to
make its members conform, social control can be ideological such as manipulating members of
society or coercive which involves psychical violence. In this essay I will discuss (DECODE).
o Internationalists developed the labelling theory which explores the reaction to behaviour
and how groups come to be labelled as criminal or deviant.
o Labelling theorist are critical of OS and claim they are socially constructed and the product of
bias and selective policing
o Crime and deviance is also considered the product of labelling. Deviants are not
characteristically different it is just their behaviour
o The consequences of labelling are very important as once labelled an individual will
internalise the label and start to behave in a way that concerns it.
o Often a criminal label becomes master status it dominates the way someone is perceived by
others. Selective policing is often based on stereotypes of the typical criminal
o If someone fits the stereotype of a criminal they are more likely to be patrolled and
o Also explores the role of the mass media in relation to the concept of moral manic and
o Labelling theory has been combined with both Marxism and feminism to create a micro and
o Claimed it was through reaction of others that criminals recognise themselves as criminals
o After being labelled people internalise the label and it becomes their self concept and SFP
o The label is not easily removed leading to reoffending
o Whilst in prison the criminal label will be reinforced, they learn to be criminal as in an
institutionalised meaning setting into main stream society may be difficult
o Primary deviance refers to acts that haven't been publically labelled and which have few
consequences e.g. fare dodging. So they don't see themselves as deviant.
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Secondary deviance is the result of the social reaction and being publically labelled and
stigmatised as a criminal other perceive the labelled person as a criminal rather than a
neighbour or colleague.
o The person at this point will see themselves as criminal and act in a way to confirm it.…read more