crime and deviance topic 2

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  • Created on: 19-09-19 20:55
  • interactionism + labelling theory- topic 2 

the social construction of crime 

labelling theorists are interested in how + why certain acts come to be defined or labelled as criminal in first place. no act is inherently criminal or deviant in itself, in all stuations + times. instead its when people label. other words, not nature of act that makes it deviant but nature of societys reaction to act.

becker- devaint is someone the label has been appiled + devaint behaviour that people label.

they see how laws + rules get made. interested in role of what becker calls moral entrepreneurs. people who lead moral crusade to change law. however becker argues that this new law invariably has 2 effects:

  • creation of new group of outsiders- outlaws or deviants who break new rule.
  • creation or expansion of a social control agency (e.g. police, courts, probation officers etc) to enforce rule + impose labels on offenders.

who gets labelled 

not everyone who commits an offence is punished for it. whether a person is arrested, charged + convicted depends on factors such as:

  • their interactions with agencies of social control.
  • their appearance, background + personal biography. 
  • situation + circumstances of offence.

lead labelling theorists to look at how laws are applied + enforced. their studies show that agencies of social control are more likely to label certain groups of people as deviant or criminal.

judgements about youths character. officers decisions were also influenced by suspects gender, class + ethnicity, as well as by time + place. e.g. those stopped late at night


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