Premium Essay

Assess the View That Crime and Deviance Are a Product of the Labelling Process

In: Social Issues

Submitted By amymurray96
Words 846
Pages 4
Assess the view that crime and deviance is a product of the labelling process (21)

Some sociologists believe that crime and deviance is a result labelling which is when a label is attached to a person or group of people due to their appearance, sex, ethnicity or other factors. It is also leads individuals to believe that labelling theory can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is when the person begins to act according to the label and hence it comes true simply through being made.

The interactionist explanation of deviance moves away from looking at the reasons which ‘cause’ deviance and focuses instead on the people who are defined as deviant and the consequences of this labelling. However many would fault this view that crime and deviance is a product of the labelling process, as they believe it over-simplify the process of labelling, and particularly minimizes the role of the deviant. Deviants come across as passive victims in this view.

If a certain group of people have committed crime in the past they are more likely to be thought as to reoffend. Sociologists such as Cicourel investigated typifications, which are stereotypes of young offenders meaning the police, focus their attentions on these types of people. Through typifications the police concentrate on working class areas closely attaching a negative label to them. Once a label has been attached through self-fulfilling prophecy the offenders are more likely to feel victimised so may be obliged to offend again or on the other hand they may try to break the stereotype. Cicourel’s theory provides a solution to a crime problem however realists argue he rejects official statistics too quickly as they show the basic reality of crime.

Cohen argues that the media amplifies crime and deviances making it seem worse than it actually is, for example, the case of the Mods and Rockers in the 60s when…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Assess the Views That Crime and Deviance Is as a Result of the Labelling Process.

...The labelling theory believes that crime is a social construction and as Becker states ‘deviance is in the eye of the beholder’. Therefore a deviant act is only termed so when a label has been applied to it. Labelling theorists believe that crime is as a result of interactions between people, police and the justice system. Therefore disagree that that crime is as a result of social forces such as opportunity structures. They therefore believe that the labelling process does have a direct effect on crime and deviance. Labelling theorists claim that not everyone who commits a crime is punished for it. As item A suggests, there is negative labelling on ethnic minorities such as Asians. Pilivan and Briar found that most youth arrests were made on physical cues, such as dress and appearance. They also found that anti-social behaviour order was biased against ethnic minorities. This means that crime rate would inevitably be higher among the ethnic minorities. Cicourel develops this idea and introduces the term ‘typification’ to describe the police stereotype of a typical delinquent. Therefore labelling theorists would argue that the labelling of ethnic minorities creates higher crime rates among these groups as a result of labelling. Cicourell further argues that justice is negotiable. This means that labels attached to certain groups dictate whether or not they will be accused of deviance. He gives the example of the arrest of a middle class youth who if arrested is less likely......

Words: 1001 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Assess the View That Crime and Deviance Are the Products of the Labelling Process (21 Marks)

...Assess the view that crime and deviance are the products of the labelling process (21 marks) The labelling theory is a micro interactionist approach, this is because it focuses on how individuals construct the social world through face-face interactions. It recognises the concept of the ‘procedural self’ where ones identity is continuously constructed and recognised in interaction with significant others, this results in the individual’s behaviour, including that related to crime and deviance. Significant others are those who are in high social power and thus able to dictate influence and actively determine an individual’s life. Such individuals may include police officers, prison officers, politicians, parents and teachers. Feminists would argue however that these are all the males in society, determining and controlling the lives of females, keeping society patriarchal. The influence that significant others place on individuals lives is through the use of labels, the labels aren’t usually based on individual characteristics, more so stereotypes, working assumptions and professional knowledge. For example Cicaurel found that police patrolled working class areas more intensively, resulting in more arrests, this is due to the police’s stereotypical view that delinquent individuals are part of the working class. Lemert distinguishes between primary and secondary deviance in society. Primary deviance involves minor offences such as vandalism or smoking underage and......

Words: 706 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Usefulness of Labelling Theory in Explaining Crime and Deviance

...Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the usefulness of labelling theory in explaining crime and deviance. (21 marks) Labelling theory is a micro theory that explains how self-identity and behaviour of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe them. As Item A states, it is a micro approach that examines how individuals construct society. Labelling theory is useful in explaining crime and deviance through the way in which Lemert distinguishes between primary and secondary deviance. However, the usefulness of labelling theory can be criticised as they fail to explain why individuals commit primary deviance. The usefulness of labelling theory in explaining crime and deviance will be explored. Labelling theory is useful in explaining crime and deviance as it distinguishes between primary and secondary deviance. Lemert (1972) makes this distinction, he argues primary deviance is a deviant act that has not been publicly labelled and has little or no significance, whereas secondary deviance is an act that gets a negative social reaction and consequently incurs a label. This implies that, as Item A states, that an action is criminal only when society views it as criminal. This is useful in explaining crime and deviance as it indicates how deviant acts can escalate from primary to secondary deviance and when this occurs how an individual is labelled and excluded from society. This progression is illustrated in Jock Young’s study of hippies......

Words: 1006 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the View That Crime and Deviance Are the Product of Labeling Processes.

...elsewhere, assess the view that crime and deviance are the product of labeling processes. Labelling theorists are interested in how and why certain acts come to be defined or labelled as criminal in the first place. They argue that no act is inherently criminal or deviant in itself. In other words, it is not the nature of the act that makes it deviant but the nature of society’s reaction to the act. For a sociologist such as Becker, a deviant is simply someone to whom the label has been successfully applied, and deviant behavior is simply behavior that people label. This leads labelling theorists to look at how and why laws are made. They are particularly interested the role that Becker calls moral entrepreneurs. These are people who lead a moral crusade to change the law in the belief that it will benefit those whom is it applied. Becker then argues that this new law has two effects; it creates a new group of ‘outsiders’ and expands the social control agency to enforce the rule and impose labels on offenders. Platt argues that the idea of ‘juvenile delinquency’ was originally created as a result of a campaign by upper class Victoria moral entrepreneurs, aimed at protecting young people at risk. This established ‘juveniles’ as a separate category of offender with their own courts, and it enabled the state to extent its powers beyond criminal offences involving the young, into so called ‘status offences’ such as truancy and sexual promiscuity. Labelling theorists......

Words: 1055 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Assess Realist Explanations of Crime and Deviance.

...occurred in the 70’s and 80’s in changing politics. The realist view is that crime is not just a social construction, but is a real problem that needs to be tackled. Realists believe that there has been a significant rise in the crime rate and favours a tough approach against it, as they think that other theories have failed to offer a solution to crime. The left realists Lea and Young attempt to give an explanation to street crime, committed by young people in urban areas. These sociologists took a victim survey which suggested that working-class and black people, especially elderly women, have a fear of street crime, as they are often victims of crime. Their explanation of why crime is committed by revolves around three key concepts. Firstly, relative deprivation, which explains how one person feel sin relation to another, this leads into crime very easily as people can feel as if others are unfairly better off than they are, and this resentment can lead to crime. Lea and Young suggests that although in today’s society people are more affluent they are still aware of their relative deprivation because of the media and advertising, which increase everyone’s expectation on standards of living. This is linked to the idea of individualism, because this undermines the family and community values of mutual support, cooperation and selflessness, which results in anti-social behaviour. The second concept of why crime is committed is marginalisation. Left realists argue that......

Words: 1106 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Asses the View That Crime and Deviance Are the Product of Labelling Processes.

...Sociologists use the labelling theory in order to explain why crime and deviance occurs in society. This theory conveys the idea that a act is only criminal or deviant if the act is labelled accordingly, these labels are attached to individuals by those in society who are conformist, therefore they are defining what is deviant and non-deviant. Those who use this theory as an explanation therefore explain crime and deviance in the terms that it occurs as a result of labelling that has been placed on an individual for partaking in a certain activity that has previously been labelled as opposing the norms and values that are upheld in society by those who “conform”which as a result leads to a self fulfilling prophecy being fulfilled. Labelling theorist therefore reject other explanations for crime such as the Marxist approach that argue it is due to the subordinate position of the proletariate that is maintained by the bourgeoisie, or that crime is a result of the lack of opportunity in society for legitimate employment , as a result of rejecting these theories they argue that the labelling process has a direct impact and that crime is a product of the labelling theory. Becker argues that a individual or behaviour is only defined as deviant due to the label that has been attached to it, these labels are created by ‘moral entrepreneurs’ that then lead a moral crusade to get laws changed and apply the labels. He argues that the result of this leads to the creation of a new......

Words: 1628 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Evaluate the Usefulness of Labelling Theory to Our Understanding of Crime and Deviance (40 Marks)

...Evaluate the usefulness of labelling theory to our understanding of crime and deviance (40 marks) Synopticity – Crime & Deviance and Theory Labelling theorists such as Becker and Lemert argue that because of the diversity of different values in society, there can never be a universally agreed definition of what constitutes ‘normal’ or ‘deviant behaviour’. What is deviant for one person may not be deviant for another. Labelling theorists argue that social reactions means labels are attached to certain people. For example, studies of the media by Cohen, Young etc. indicate that media social reaction may result in groups such as gays being labelled folk devils (such as aids carriers etc.). Fundamental to labelling’s traditional belief is that negative social reaction, in the form of labelling, causes an actor to become one with the deviant activity placed upon him, and, in many cases, leads to development of further deviance. Theorists believe that the stigma people feel from this labelling propels them toward, instead of away from, future deviance. Lemert made a distinction between Primary deviance and Secondary Deviance that labelling truly acquire prominence. Primary Deviance refers to an individual committing any norm-violating behaviour, usually without personal or social consequences. Secondary Deviation is deviant behaviour generated when one is placed in a deviant social role as a result of negative social reactions – having been processed and labelled as......

Words: 1311 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Marxist View of Crime and Deviance

...Assess the usefulness of Marxist theories in explaining crime and deviance Marxists sociologists believe that we live in a capitalist society which is divided into classes. They argue that society is based on conflict over the inequality of wealth and power between the bourgeoisie; the ruling capitalist class who own the means of production and the proletariat; the working class who are exploited by the bourgeoisie in order for them to gain profit. This is known as capitalism. The Marxist view on crime is based on three main elements. The first element is criminogenic capitalism, this suggests that crime is inevitable due to the fact that capitalism breeds crime in society. This is the idea that the exploitation of the working class can cause a rise in crime rates. For example, people in poverty may resort to crime in order to survive as crime may be the only way they can obtain consumer goods by committing utilitarian crimes which are crimes concerning money such as theft, embezzlement etc. In addition to this, alienation may also be another way to cause working class people to commit crime as the lack of control they have over their lives may lead to frustration and aggression which can result in non-utilitarian crimes which are crimes that do not concern money such as murder, violence, vandalism. Gordon, a sociologist believes that crime is a rational response to the capitalist system and it is found in all social classes. The second element is the state and law making;......

Words: 849 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Outline and Assess the Marxist Approach to Crime and Deviance

...Outline and assess the Marxist approach to crime and deviance (50) Crime is defined as an act that is punishable by law. It is socially constructed, meaning society decides what is considered to be a crime. Deviance is a violation of society’s norms. Individuals decide what is and isn’t deviant based on their own norms and values, therefore, deviance can also be viewed as a social construct. What is considered to be a crime or act of deviance may differ from different cultures since crime and deviance is culturally relative, where crimes are specific to a culture based on their own norms and values. Marxism is a conflict theory which sees society as a structure in which the economic base determines the shape of the superstructure, which is made up of all the other social institutions, such as the law or the education system. Their function is to serve the interests of the bourgeoisies and maintain a capitalist society. For Marxists, crime is ultimately a result of capitalism. Crime is inevitable to capitalism because capitalism is criminogenic, meaning it causes crime. Capitalism is based on exploitation of the working class, using them to serve the ruling class. It is damaging to the working class and gives rise to crime. Traditional Marxists argue that crime is a result of class inequality and poverty. Individuals in a state of poverty commit crime in order to rebel against their exploitation by the ruling class. David Gordon (1971) argued that crime is a rational......

Words: 1326 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the View That Crime and Deviance Are the Product of Labelling Theory (21 Marks)

...Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the view that crime and deviance are the product of labelling theory (21 marks) The labelling theory is a micro interactionist approach, this is because it focuses on how individuals construct the social world through face-face interactions. It recognises the concept of the `procedural self' where ones identity is continuously constructed and recognised in interaction with significant others, this results in the individual's behaviour, including that related to crime and deviance. If a certain group of people have committed crime in the past they are more likely to be thought as to reoffend. Sociologists such as Cicourel investigated ‘typifications’ which are stereotypes of young offenders meaning the police focus their attentions on these ‘types’ of people. Through typifications the police concentrate on working class areas closely attaching a negative label to them. Once a label has been attached through self-fulfilling prophecy the offenders are more likely to feel victimised so may be obliged to offend again or on the other hand they may try to break the stereotype. Similarly people tend to victimised in society due to their race. Piliavin and Briar argue that police arrest youth based on physical characteristics alone. Evidence of this happening could be reflected by the trend in the 70% rise in the number of blacks and Asians being stopped and searched. Stopping and searching people can be used as a precaution and...

Words: 643 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Outline and Assess Feminist Views of Crme and Deviance.

...and assess Feminist views on crime and deviance. (50) Within Feminism itself there are many different approaches to crime and deviance including Liberalism, Radicalism and Post-modernism. Each of them believes that crime, or the lack of crime, is a result of the patriarchal dominance in society. Feminists believe that the patriarchy generates crime against women whilst discouraging deviancy amongst women. The official crime statistics show that men tend to commit more crime than women, and some Feminists would agree with this. One theory put forward is that this is because of the differential socialisation of males and females. Oakley argues that males are socialised to be aggressive, self-seeking and individualistic, which can therefore lead to them taking more risks and committing criminal acts. For example, if a boy is socialised into an aggressive role then he might express this through domestic violence against his partner when he is older. In the same way, a self-seeking male will do anything to satisfy his needs, which may explain male rape against women. Oakley states that females, however, are socialised into non-criminal norms and values that stress co-operation, tenderness and caring for others. This tells us that women are much less likely to commit crimes that would hurt another person, such as murder and rape, and this is reflected in the statistics. Moreover, Radical Feminist Heidensohn claims that most academics in the area of sociology and crime are......

Words: 1146 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Crime and Deviance

...Crime and Deviance exam questions Crime questions – Qu. 1 & 2 – both worth 21 marks.You should spend 30 minutes on each question and each should have a traditional essay structure (include an introduction and a conclusion, at least two sides of the argument, two or more theories, relevant studies and as much evaluation as you can cram in!). You also need to show ‘conceptual confidence’ – this just means that you should make it clear to the examiner that you know and understand the important concepts, e.g. anomie, relative deprivation.Make sure you make reference to the item – both essay questions will have their own item. You can often use the information in the item as a springboard into the essay in the introduction. However, you will be penalised for ‘overuse of the item’, so don’t just copy it out. You can use short quotes or statistics from the item though. | Question: | What to include: | Assess the view that ethnic differences in crime rates are the result of the ways in which the criminal justice system operates. | This question is essentially about the presence (or not) of institutional racism in the police, courts and penal system. You will need to compare the importance of this as opposed to explanations that argue that ethnic minorities do commit more crime - either as a result of relative deprivation (left realism) or poor upbringing, absent fathers, etc (new right). * Try to include some stats, reference to patterns of offending, stop and search...

Words: 3404 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Usefulness of Labelling Theory in Explaining Crime and Deviance

...from Item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of labelling theory in explaining crime and deviance’ (21 marks) Labelling theory is a micro approach that looks at how individuals construct society based on their interactions with each other (item). In terms of crime and deviance, labelling theory argues that most people commit deviant and criminal acts but only some are caught and stigmatised for it. So therefore, it is not useful to search for differences between ‘deviants’ and ‘non-deviants’ in society. Labelling theorists believe focus on crime should be understanding the reaction to and definition of deviance rather than the causes of the initial act. One labelling theorist, Becker, suggests the idea of crime as a social construct. He argues that an act only becomes deviant when it is defined as such by others, and that a criminal will only be labelled depending on society’s reaction to the crime. Becker argues that those people that have the power to create and impose their definitions on the rest of society such as the police are called moral entrepreneurs, reinforcing that crime and deviance is a construction of society. In addition to this, Becker argues that there is selective decisions as to whether to or how to deal with illegal or deviant behaviour. He calls this ‘selective law enforcement’ and suggests that police act on their own stereotypes and pre-conceptions on how to respond to the deviance and crime they come across. Labelling theorists are interested......

Words: 986 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Labelling and Deviance

...In the 1960’s, labelling theory provided explanations as to why deviance exists in society. Interactionists argue that labelling and societal reaction are relatively important in terms of individual’s actions, however, traditional positivists oppose this view and argue that labelling theory illustrates the inequality in the social structure as well as unequal power relations. Labelling theorists therefore argue that deviance is socially constructed. Becker’s concept of the labelling theory highlights that “social groups create deviance by making the rules” therefore suggesting that there is no such thing as a deviant act and that it is the societal response to the act that defines whether or not the act is labelled it as such. Becker used the act of nudity as an example to illustrate his view on deviance – when a husband and wife are naked together in their bedroom, it is deemed normal as they are in the privacy of their own bedroom, however, if a stranger enters, it then becomes deviant. This therefore shows the relative nature of crime and deviance as it depends on the context and the meaning attached. Becker believes that deviance lay in the interaction between the person who commits the act and those who respond to it, however, Marxists argue that deviance occurs because agents of social control such as the police reflect the ideas of the ruling class. He examined the effects of being publically labelled as deviants and his findings saw the emergence of a master......

Words: 925 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Outline and Assess Feminist Explanations for Crime and Deviance

...Crime is a behaviour/act that goes against a society’s law, and therefore has legal consequences attached if broken, e.g. prison sentence, penalty charge. Deviance is an act/behaviour that goes against a societies norms and values, however is not against the law and therefore not punishable by law. It is a relative term dependent on different societies and their norms and values; what is considered deviant also changes over times, for example it used to be considered deviant for women to smoke, whereas now that is accepted (western). There is a clear relationship between gender and crime according to official statistics. It has been revealed that men about six or seven times more likely to offend than women. In self-report studies the figures are not as large, however, men are still in the majority. Also when we look at victims of crime it appears that men are more likely to be victims of crime than women. Messerschmidt says young men want to conform to the dominant form of masculinity which he called ‘hegemonic masculinity’. It’s the idealised form which is ‘defined through work in the paid labour market, the subordination of women, heterosexist and the uncontrollable sexuality of men’, (It’s a form of masculinity that most men aim to accomplish and is prized and prestigious). Messerschmidt argues that different men use crime and deviance to accomplish prestigious hegemonic masculinity. Depending on their status and class position, different men attempt to accomplish this......

Words: 707 - Pages: 3