- Created by: orientalnugget
- Created on: 15-06-18 00:47
The Social Construct of Crime
Labelling theorist believe that deviance is a social construct
- Becker: Social groups create deviance by creating rules and applying them to particular people who they label as 'outsiders'
- A person only acts deviant because they are labelled deviant
- Social control agencies e.g. police, label certain groups as criminals
- Research found that police arrests were based on stereotypical ideas e.g. manner, dress, gender, class, ethnicity
Typifications: Individuals fitting the typification are more likely to be stopped, arrested and charged.
- WC and ethnic minority juviniles are most likely to be arrested
- MC juviniles are less likely to fit stereotypes and have parents who can negotiate.
The Social Construct of Crime Statistics
WC people fit police typifications so police patrol WC areas resulting in more WC arrests
- Crime statistics recorded by police do not give a valid picture of crime patterns
- Cicoural argues that we cannot take crime statistics at face value or use them as a resource.
The Dark Figure
- We do not know for certain how much crime goes undetected, unreported or unrecorded.
- Sociologists use victim surverys or self-report studies to gain a more accurate view.
Evaluation: Some may lie about a committed crime.
The effects of Labelling: Primary and secondary de
Lamert argues that labelling people as deviant enourages them to be deviant thus causing a secondary devience
- Deviant acts that have not been publicly labelled.
- Most acts go on uncaught
- Those who commit deviant acts do not see themselves as deviant
Evaluation: Labelling theory fails to explain why people commit primary deviance in the first place before being labelled.
- Results from societal reaction.
- Labelling someone can involve a stigmatising and excluding from normal society.
- Others see the offender in terms of the label which becomes the individual's master status or controlling identity.
The effects of Labelling: Self-fulfilling prophecy
- Being labelled may lead to SFP thus resulting in secondary deviance
- Societal reaction may reinforce the individual's outsider status and lead them to join a deviant subculture that offers support, role models and a deviant career.
Evaluation: Too deterministic, assumes that once labelled, a SFP is inevitable.
Young - Study of marijuana users shows illustrates the processes.
- Primary deviance - Drug use was initially minor to the hippies' lifestyle
- Societal reaction - Police persecution of them as junkies
- SFP - Developing a deviant subculture where drug use became a central activity.
- The control processes aimed at prodcing law-abiding behaviour this produced the opposite.
The effects of Labelling: Deviance amplification s
The attempt to control deviance leads it to incease, resulting in greater attemps to control it and in turn become more deviance thus escalating spiral.
Cohen: Folk devils and Moral Panics - the study of Mods and Rockers. The fight that between two youth subcultures in English Seaside.
Type of study: Observation and interviews.
- Media exaggertion and distortion began a moral panis
- Moral entrepreneurs called for a 'crackdown'. Police responded by arresting more youths provoking more concern
- Demonising the mods and rocks as 'folk devils' marginalised them further, resulting in more deviance
Key points with functionlism:
- Functionalists: Deviance producing social control
- Labelling theorists: Control producing more deviance.
Mental illness and suicide / 1
Interactionists are intestested in devant bheaviour such as mental illness and suicide
Douglas: the meaning of suicide
- Rejects the use of official statistics, they are social constructs that tells us the labels the coroners applied
- Uses qualitative methods e.g. the analysis of suicide notes or unstructured interviews with deceased relatives.
Atkinson: coroners' commosense knowledge
- focuses on how coroners use taken-for-granted assumption to construct social reality
- Ideas of 'typical suicide' affected their verdict. e.g. certain modes of death, locations and circumstances of death, and life histories as typical suicides
Mental illness and suicide / 2
Mental illness: Interactionists reject the use of official statistics as social construct - records the activities of the doctor with the power to attatch labels as 'schizophrenic'
Paranoia as SFP:
- Interactionists are interested on how a person comes to be labelled as mentally ill
- Lamert shows how socially awkward individuals may be abelled and excluded from groups
- The individual negative response gives the group reason to fear for his mental health and think it leads to a medical label of paranoia
- Goffman: Shows possible effects of being admitted to a 'total institution' such as a psychiatric hospital
- Patients undergo a 'mortification of the self' in which their old identity is 'killed off' and replaced by anew one: inmate. this is achieved by 'degradation rituals' e.g. confiscation of personal effects.
Now try this
EVALUATE THE VIEW THAT THE CONCEPT OF THE SFP DOES NOT PROVIDE US WITH A SATISFACTORY UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF DEVIANCE.