As a result, the middle class delinquent is more likely to be defined as ill rather than criminal, as having accidentally strayed from the path of righteousness just the once and having a real chance of reforming. Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.”. The fact that the public are concerned about ‘youth crime’ suggest they are more than willing to subscribe to the media view that young people are a threat to social order. According to Interactionist theory, decriminalisation should reduce the number of people with criminal convictions and hence the risk of secondary deviance, an argument which might make particular sense for many drugs offences because these are often linked to addiction, which may be more effectively treated medically rather than criminally. Labelling Theory of Crime – A Summary. The effect of the media coverage was to make the young people categorise themselves as either mods or rockers which actually helped to create the violence that took place between them,which further helped to confirm them as violent in the eyes of the general public. Cohen showed how the media, for lack of other stories exaggerated the violence which sometimes took place between them. Theoretical Origins Labeling theory had its origins in Suicide, a book by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. This relates to the ideas of Lemert (1951) about primary deviance and secondary deviance. Learn more ›, Howard Becker (1963): his key statement about labelling is: “Deviancy is not a quality of the act a person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Also, their parents are more able to present themselves as respectable and reasonable people from a nice neighbourhood and co-operate fully with the juvenile officers, assuring them that their child is truly remorseful. Much cheaper & more effective than TES or the Guardian. Back to Labelling theory proper – the key idea here is that not everyone who commits an offence is punished for it. In this way, people can become career criminals. Lemert suggested that the problem was ’caused’ by the great importance attached to ceremonial speech-making. What is stop and search and what are my rights? Becker argues that there are 5 stages in this process: The Individual is publicly labelled as a deviant, which may lead to rejection from several social groups. The most important criminal policy implication of labelling theories is that ‘law and order’ and other intensive and repressive forms of policing can have a paradoxi… The labelling theory of crime was initially a reaction against consensus theories of crime, such as subcultural theory. It has drawn attention to the importance of labelling and shows how the process can develop deviant behaviour; According to Becker, social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction causes deviance, but who are these peoplle who make rules and why do they make them? EG convicted criminals find it difficult to find jobs. Children with the slightest speech difficulty were so conscious of their parents’ desire to have well-speaking children that they became over anxious about their own abilities. Crime is the product of interactions between certain individuals and the police, rather than social background. The term ‘moral panic’ was first used in Britain by Stan Cohen in a classic study of two youth subcultures of the 1960s – ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. However, in a war killing is normalised and indeed may be labelled heroic. Orthodox Marxism. As stated in Item A, labelling theory is focused with how individuals construct society … Labelling theorists are interested in the effects of labelling on those labelled. They are thus more likely to interpret minor rule breaking by black children in a more serious manner than when White and Asian children break minor rules. Their studies show that agencies of social control are more likely to label certain groups of people as deviant or criminal. Basically the public, the police and the courts selectively label the already marginalised as deviant, which the then labelled deviant responds to by being more deviant. Factors associated with a typical delinquent include being of dishevelled appearance, having poor posture, speaking in slang etc. – That agents of social control may actually be one of the major causes of crime, so we should think twice about giving them more power. Labelling theory has been applied to the context of the school to explain differences in educational achievement (this should sound familiar from year 1!). In a low-income neighbourhood, a fight is more likely to be defined by the police as evidence of delinquency, but in a wealthy area as evidence of high spirits. Q1 – Do you agree that the whole criminal justice system is basically biased against the working classes, and towards to middle classes? These are in both PDF and PNG format. Labelling theory is also interested in the effects of labelling on individuals. Labelling theory argues that criminal and deviant acts are a result of labelling by authorities – and the powerless are more likely to be negatively labelled. In sociology, deviance describes an action or behavior that violates social norms, including a formally enacted rule (e.g., crime), as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g., rejecting folkways and mores).Although deviance may have a negative connotation, the violation of social norms is not always a negative action; positive deviation exists in some situations. Labelling theory believes that deviance is made worse by labelling and punishment by the authorities, and it follows that in order to reduce deviance we should make fewer rules for people to break, and have less-serious punishments for those that do break the rules.An example of an Interactionist inspired policy would be the decriminalisation of drugs. What did Becker mean? What makes something deviant is not what is done, but how people react to what is done. Whether or not the police stop and interrogate an individual depends on where the behaviour is taking place and on how the police perceive the individual(s). There was a paradigm shift in criminology in the 1960s which can loosely be called labelling theory. It is the societal reaction that affects the rate of delinquency. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. He was the first to suggest that deviant labeling satisfies that function and satisfies society’s need to control the behavior. 12 exam practice questions including short answer, 10 mark and essay question exemplars. Labeling theory was created by Howard Becker in 1963. It begins with the assumption that no … This officer will have a picture of a ‘typical delinquent’ in his mind. The first stage is the decision by the police to stop and interrogate an individual. The Business of Drugs: inside the economics of America's longest war, Podcast Recommendation: Hometown - A Killing, What does it mean to defund the police? Lemert postulated that after someone carries out a deviant act (primary deviance) the reaction of others can lead to further (secondary) deviance. Sociologists such as David Gilborn argue that teachers hold negative stereotypes of young black boys, believing them to be more threatening and aggressive than White and Asian children. Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.” (*The main theorist within labelling theory). However, this list was actually just a random selection of student names. ‘Researching Girls and Violence: Facing the Dilemmas of Fieldwork’ (2001), Rincón et al ‘Women and Leadership: Gender Barriers to Senior Management Positions’ (2017), Agyeiwaa R. and Attom L. E. ‘Gendered Perceptions and Challenges Facing Females in Educational Leadership Positions’ (2018), Sian, K. ‘Being Black in a White World: Understanding Racism in British Universities’ (2017), Overview of ‘University’s not for Me – I’m a Nike Person' by Archer et al, Pereira ‘Girls Feel They Must "Play Dumb" To Please Boys’ (2014), The Everyday Sexism Project, ‘Still Just a Bit of Banter? They claim that, by labelling certain people as criminal or deviant, society actually encourages them to become more so. In this example, chronic stuttering (secondary deviance) is a response to parents’ reaction to initial minor speech defects (primary deviance). Decriminalization, alternative conflict resolution models, and de-institutionalization are promising measures to prevent secondary deviance. Cicourel argues that it is the meanings held by police officers and juvenile officers that explain why most delinquents come from working class backgrounds. This idea was developed further by Aaron Cicourel (1968) in his famous study Power and the Negotiation of Justice. Cicourel argued that this difference can only be accounted for by the size, organisation, policies and practices of the juvenile and police bureaus. However for Marxists labelling theory failed to account for why some… Primary deviance refers to acts which have not been publicly labelled, and are thus of little consequence, while secondary deviance refers to deviance which is the consequence of the response of others, which is significant. Implications for theory and future research are discussed. Duncan is an experienced social science and humanities teacher, writer and senior examiner. Similarly, labelling theory implies that we should avoid ‘naming and shaming’ offenders since this is likely to create a perception of them as evil outsiders and, by excluding them from mainstream society, push them into further deviance. – It tends to emphasise the negative sides of labelling rather than the positive side. The main piece of sociological research relevant here is. This relates to the ideas of Lemert (1951) about primary deviance and secondary deviance. LS23 6AD, Tel: +44 0844 800 0085 Hi – I’ve used as my sources the main A-level sociology text books for the AQA syllabus, details are on the ‘about’ page. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. If a young person has a demeanour like that of a ‘typical delinquent’ then the police are more likely to both interrogate and arrest that person. Labelling Theory 2. To illustrate this, Lemert studied the the coastal Inuit of Canada, who had a long-rooted problem of chronic stuttering or stammering. This decision is based on meanings held by the police of what is ‘strange’, ‘unusual’ and ‘wrong’. It was this anxiety which lead to chronic stuttering. Interactionists argue that there is no such thing as an inherently deviant act – in other words there is nothing which is deviant in itself in all situations and at all times, certain acts only become deviant in certain situations when others label them as deviant. He has taught Politics and Sociology A Level for many years and has a PhD in Social History. You could apply the same thinking to criminal behaviour more generally in Britain – According to a recent 2015 survey of 2000 people, the average person in Britain breaks the law 17 ties per year, with 63% admitting speeding, 33% steeling and 25% taking illegal drugs – clearly the general public is tolerant of ‘ordinary’ deviance – but every now and then someone will get spotted doing ‘ordinary’ criminal activities and publicly shamed. Labelling theory is one of the major in-school processes which explains differential educational achievement – see here for in-school processes in relation to class differences in education. Lesson Objectives• Introduce the Labelling theory to Crime and Deviance• Be able to apply Labelling theory to examples of Crime and Deviance• Evaluate Labelling Theory 3. In order for a moral panic to break out, the public need to believe what they see in the media, and respond disproportionately, which could be expressed in heightened levels of concern in opinion polls or pressure groups springing up that campaign for action against the deviants. This is Howard Becker’s classic statement of how labelling theory can be applied across the whole criminal justice system to demonstrated how criminals emerge, possibly over the course of many years. The situation and circumstances of the offence. The official treatment of deviance may have similar effects. It is the agencies of social control that produce delinquents. 2 Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Gerontology, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, ... but peer violent deviance did show a positive and significant main effect on violent deviance. There is a concentration on marginal forms of deviance. Clearly then, for interactionists, any data that might appear to show different levels of offending among different social groups or in different localities is unlikely to be much use: the data itself is a social construct. According to Interactionists, the Mass Media has a crucial role to play in creating moral panics through exaggerating the extent to which certain groups and turning them into ‘Folk Devils’ – people who are threatening to public order. Labeling theory provides a distinctively sociological approach that focuses on the role of social labeling in the development of crime and deviance. Labelling Theories' Contribution to the Sociological Understanding of Crime and Deviance Becker is the main sociologist studying labelling theory on deviance, he argues that 'social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance.' An outline of Marxist conflict theory as a distinct sociological perspective. Labeling theory holds that deviance is not inherent in an act, but instead focuses on the tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen as deviant from standard cultural norms. NB to my mind the classic song by NWA ‘Fuck Tha Police’ is basically highlighting the fact that it’s young black males in the US that typically get labelled as criminals (while young white kids generally don’t). Labeling theory refers to the idea that individuals become deviant when a deviant label is applied to them; they adopt the label by exhibiting the behaviors, actions, and attitudes associated with the label. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in 2016’, (2016), Tikly et al, ‘Evaluation of Aiming High: African Caribbean Achievement Project’, (2006), Crime & Deviance: Revision Flashcards for AQA A Level Sociology, Beliefs in Society: Revision Guide for AQA A Level Sociology, Advertise your teaching jobs with tutor2u. The only thing that deviant acts have in common is that they are labelled "deviant" by others. As such, being labelled as deviant can lead to deviance amplification because this label can become our master status: the main way in which we think of and identify ourselves. Those who have the power to make the label stick thus create deviants or criminals. He tried to account for the apparent significant difference in delinquency rates between two similar cities and concluded that it was the societal reaction to "delinquency" (so-labelled) that differed rather than the acts themselves. A moral panic is “an exaggerated outburst of public concern over the morality or behaviour of a group in society.” Deviant subcultures have often been the focus of moral panics. Lemert compared the coastal Inuit which emphasised the importance of public speaking to other similar cultures in the area which did not attach status to public-speaking, and found that in such culture, stuttering was largely non-existence, thus Lemert concluded that it was the social pressure to speak well (societal reaction) which led to some people developing problems with stuttering. Labelling has been seen to facilitate crime and deviant behaviour through encouraging people to act according to labels which are attached to them. Hi, I was just wandering if you have the citations used within this information? Thank you so much for this excellently written, well detail, very informative, and friendly reading essay! Cicourel investigated delinquency in California. The fourth main sociological theory of deviance is labeling theory. Braithwaite argues that crime rates are lower where policies of reintegrative shaming are employed. If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my Crime and Deviance Revision Bundle. Chat; Life and style; Entertainment; Debate and current affairs; Study help; University help and courses; Universities and HE colleges; Careers and jobs; Explore all the forums on Forums home page » These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Durkheim's work was influential because of his insight that crime depends on societal reaction, and his arguments about the normality of deviance. People do not become criminals because of their social background, crime emerges because of labelling by authorities. Lemert postulated that after someone carries out a deviant act (primary deviance) … This is the stage at which the label may become a master status, overriding all other forms of relationship outside the deviant group. Labelling theorists note that most people commit crimes at some time in their lives but not everyone becomes defined as a deviant … Becker provides a more extreme example in his book The Outsiders (1963) – in this he draws on a simple illustration of an anthropological study by anthropologist Malinowski who describes how a youth killed himself because he hand been publicly accused of incest. That agencies of social control that produce delinquents `` stages '' in the effects of labelling by.... Was just wandering if you wish where policies of reintegrative shaming are.. 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To follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email was a paradigm shift in criminology in effects... Herbert Blumer, among others audience you really want to apply for your vacancy... That ’ s need to control the behavior different aspects of the labelling theory.. Approach that focuses on the concepts of labeling theory provides a distinctively sociological approach that focuses the... Your browser only with your consent related social media audiences to behave in a sense Marxists appreciated logic... Main page of links to crime and deviance posts still currently popular the option to opt-out of cookies... Be unintentional or intentional depending on the small-scale aspects of the theory was created Howard... In your browser only with your consent behaviour through encouraging people to act according labels. Whether behaviour was deemed deviant or criminal labeling someone unlawfully deviant can lead to chronic stuttering the Sociology crime... 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