Topic 4 - Labelling Theory

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  • Created by: Ben_95
  • Created on: 21-03-14 22:21

The Social Construction of Deviance

For labelling theorists, no act is deviant in itself: deviance is simply a social construct.

Becker (1963) - social groups create deviance by creating rules and applying them to particular people whom the label as 'outsiders'.

An act or a person only becomes deviant once they recieve a label.

Derived from an INTERACTIONALIST perspecttive as it focuses on how meanings are created through micro-level. face-to-face interactions and negotiations.

Certain social agents tend to label certain groups as criminal.

Piliavin and Briar (1964) -  polce arrests are based on stereotypical ideas.

Cicourel (1976) - police use typifications of the 'typical delinquent'. Individauls who fit this stereotype are mor likely to be stopped, arrested and charged.

  • Working-class and ethnic minorities are more likely to be arrested.
  • Middle-class are less likely to be arrested, and have parents who negotiate sucessfully on their behalf.

MARXISTS criticise labelling theory for failling to locatse the origin of such labels in the unequal structure of a capitalist society.

Sampson (1986)


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