Crime and Deviance: Labelling Theory

Revision Cards for A2 Crime and Deviance Labelling Theories.

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Pheebie
  • Created on: 27-10-12 11:36

Howard Becker

  • 'No act is deviant unless it is labelled in such a way by society'
  • MORAL ENTREPRENEURS: Make rules and laws that do not benefit those which they apply to.
  •  This in turn creates out laws.
  • It also creates the formation and expansion of control agents e.g. the Police.
  • EXAMPLE: US outlawed marijuana in 1937 redefining the behaviour of smoking it as deviant. boosting the powers of law enforces and ostracised the users of the drug.

PLATT:

 Another example is that described by Platt who found in Victorian times moral entrepreneurs wanted to make sex before marriage illegal. 

        (http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZbIo-RqssqljjScnJyp-ERjItNhY3xTTrukkoiuQ-cJSq-mYV7g)

1 of 8

Cicourel

  • Police focused on a certain types of youths.'Typification.'
  • Justice negotiation occurs, middle classes get better lawyers or 'know the system better' so are less likely to get a conviction.
  • This skews statistics, therefore labelling theorists don't take them at face-value.

PALIAVIN AND BRIAR:

Police decisions to arrest youths were based on stereotypes such as age, gender, ethnicity, etc...

                            (http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQaPeLIDWB2NG351SoGNYlGNcOU0uMB9IoKyFn5RODbAkexYgdS)

2 of 8

Edwin Lemert

PRIMARY DEVIANCE: Crime that has not yet been labelled e.g. fare dodging.

SECONDARY DEVIANCE: Deviance as a result of societies reactions e.g. Being labelled publicly labelled after you have committed of crime so you're ostracised from society.

  • Self concept changes leading to an identity crisis, the new label is accepted by the person so the self-fulfilling prophecy occurs.
  • This is a very deterministic view as it assumes no one can do anything to change their label.

                        (http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRuzKk00057bWbre4lHypZWtrg04E8Ds82rF8ve68QTk_PTCoDPBQ)

3 of 8

Jock Young: Deviance Amplification Spiral

  • Attempts to control deviance actually produces an increase in deviance.
  • This leads to greater control and higher levels of deviance.

EXAMPLE:  

  • Police convicted Hippy Marijuana users in Notting Hill, London.
  • This lead them to become ostracised from society.
  • They formed small closed groups (subcultures.) 
  • The central activity of these subcultures were drug use which became a central activity.

                           (http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTviRxIgivLS0MR9um42X8keoTHhJmBRadLDxa9wRwgtjhDEOOe)

4 of 8

Cohen: Moral Panic

  • Press exaggerate the truth when a crime caused by a group of people.
  • Police increase the amounts of arrests which public see as confirming the extent of the crime.
  • This causes a moral panic by the public.
  • It also marginalises the group of people that committed the crime further.
  • This occurred in the 1960's with the Mods and Rockers.

                           (http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTbY7U3mDRAvlY6qPKMaiLaxsqxzMyye8aqKtDLQCBWyPLvFztnmA)

5 of 8

Braithwaite

DISINTERGRATIVE SHAMING: Not only the crime but the criminal is labelled deviantly and excluded from society.

INTERGRATIVE SHAMING: Labels the crime not the criminal so he can go back to society, this helps avoid stigmatism and avoids punishing them into secondary deviance.

                    (http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSvBzD4Cvke-D0cBsSh7z-6FXFOj8dw6HlN5EMWLWsCFEBNEcahTA)

6 of 8

Evaluation of Labelling Theory

STRENGTHS:

  • Shows Law is not a fixed set of rules.
  • Shows that Law can be discriminating.
  • Shows that statistics should not always be taken at face value.
  • Shows that attempts to control deviance can back fire.

                             (http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTT-8L-CNTt09rdH8iRG6vrJGMWEvr8sJdjkKZc42m-Foq_Xixr)

7 of 8

Evaluation of Labelling Theory

WEAKNESSES:

  • Deterministic
  • Emphasises negative effects of labelling.
  • Assumes offenders of passive victims of labelling.
  • Fails to explain primary deviance.
  • Implies there would be no deviance with out labelling, yet most criminal are aware that what they are doing goes against social norms.
  • Fails to analyse the source of power but recognises that there is one.
  • Ignores the real victims of crime.
  • Ignores the individuals who actively chose deviance.

                             (http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcApUlj8yCwVjdWfAT5YRxGFmT4pPZijmJqJMDyJGsmT7zF10OiQ)

8 of 8

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »