C&D - Interactionist

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  • The social construction of deviance - Howard Becker
  • No such thing as a deviant act - no act is intrinsically criminal or deviant in itself, in all situations and at all times.
  • Instead, it only defined as such when other label it as 'wrong'.
  • A deviant is simply someone to whom a negative label has been successfully applied and deviant behaviour is simply behaviour that people with more power (eg. police) so label.

The role of power in the social construction of crime.

  • Marxism - economically powerful.
  • Feminists - men make rules for women.

The role of agents of social control.

  • Work on behalf of powerful groups to label and therefore define the behaviour of less powerful groups as problematical.
  • They do this by paying these groups disproportionate negative attention in terms of stop and search, arrest, prosecution and giving them custodial sentances etc.

Police labelling:

  • Townsley and Marshall - stereotypical assumptions.
  • Holdaway - racial stereotyping.
  • Some officers see all black people as potentially criminal.
  • Police stop and search black people and Asians six times and two times respectively more than white people.

The negotiation of justice:

  • Cicourel - other agents of social control within the CJA reinforce this bias.
  • Justice is often not fixed but negotiable.
  • Criticial of the OCS - he argues that these tell us more about the negotiation of justice according to social class rather than about crime and criminality.

Primary and secondary deviance:

  • Primary deviance refers to deviant acts that have not been publicly labelled.
  • Primary deviance often do not see themselves as deviant.
  • Secondary deviance - societal reaction and the subsequent labelling of the person as a criminal, devaint etc.
  • Becker - the application of a label such as criminal can have…


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