We all read labels, whether it is on a food product or some other item that we want to know more about what is contained within a package. The theory of labeling provides the same information about people, their involvement within daily life, and the ways that they behave. The main arguments within the labeling theory is that we need to as a society focus on the behavior of individuals that are labeling others as oppose to those who are committing crimes. Labeling theory argues that it is these efforts at social control that ultimately trigger the processes that trap individuals in criminal career. (253) This puts forth the idea that the “offender” will be labeled by those within the social environment in which they function within and …show more content…
It would then leave the individual with only illegitimate means to continue to provide for themselves or their families therefore, increasing the crime rate. However, the deterrence theory disagrees with the labeling theory in that there is a need for punishments and that the social “labeling” will help stop an individual’s criminal activity since they don’t want others to see them in such a way. The Deterrence theory puts forth that these negative social consequences of being called a criminal or other name along with formal consequences would keep individuals from participating in any criminal activity or further activity.
Accordingly, we look at how understanding how each theory can not only help define criminal behavior, but how each theory could expand or compliment another theory. The idea that social environments have become more important is essential to understanding individual behaviors and how they adapt. Social learning, discusses the behavior of individuals is influenced by both positive and negative consequences. This knowledge demonstrates the more involvement that an individual has with a criminal activity has, the more they learn about that activity and receive messages about the interactions. However, the individual doesn’t have to be an expert in the activity to participate within it. The messages that the individual would receive again affects how not only they view those around them but themselves as
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
The labelling theory shows how crime is socially constructed based on labels created by the powerful, which is important for our understanding of who commits a crime as they show how the powerless can be labelled as deviant whilst powerful groups are not. This undermines the
Labeling theory makes no attempt to understand why an individual initially engaged in primary deviance and committed a crime before they were labeled; this then limits the scope of the theory’s explanations and suggests the theory may not provide a better account for crime. Labeling theory emphasizes the negative effects of labeling, which gives the offender a victim status. Also, the same likelihood exists for developing a criminal career regardless of deviance being primary or secondary. Furthermore, labeling theorists are only interested in understanding the aftermath of an individual getting caught committing crime and society attaching a label to the offender. This differs from the view of social learning theory, which seeks to explain the first and subsequent criminal acts. Many critics also argue that the racial, social, and economic statuses of an individual create labels, as opposed to criminal acts; this theory then fails to acknowledge that those statuses may factor into the labeling process. As a result, the above suggests that labeling theory does not provide a good account for crime and appropriately has little empirical support. Moreover, in terms of policy implications, labeling theory implies a policy of radical non-intervention, where minor offenses
Many sociological experts use the theory to explain the different types of social deviance behavior. For this reason the theory provides various approaches of explaining a given deviance behavior; it is a generalized sociological crime theory. On the contrary, the labeling theory simply refers to any given or particular form of individualistic, emblematic interaction. The individualistic, emblematic interactions describe the conclusions, which individuals derive or
Labeling theorists explore how and why certain acts are defined as criminal or deviant and why other such acts are not. As such, they also who is identified as a criminal, and who is not. They question how and why certain people become defined as criminal or deviant. Such theorists view criminals not as evil people who engage in wrong acts but as individuals who have a criminal status forced upon them by both the criminal justice system and the community at large. From this point of view, criminal acts themselves are not significant; it is the reactions of the rest of society to acts defined as criminal that are most crucial. Crime and its control involve a process of social definition, which involves a response from others to an
Schmalleger describes the labeling theory or social reaction theory as one that sees persistent criminal behavior as a result of not, having the chances for normal conduct that follow the negative responses of society to those that have been labeled as criminals. There is an expectation of a continuous increase in crime that is a direct effect of the label that is attached. The result of negative labels creates limited chances that the behavior would change on behalf of the criminal, due in part to societies stigma placed upon them (Schmalleger, 2012, p. 186). Those theorists responsible for the labeling theory that are discussed in our readings during this weeks assignments are listed as Frank Tannenbaum, Edwin M. Lemert, Howard Becker, John Braithwaite and others. When discussion the concept labeling, one must understand some of the most early descriptions of societal reactions to deviance, this can be found in the 1938 works of Frank Tannenbaum who explained the term, tagging. Schmalleger defined tagging as the process whereby an individual is negatively defined by the agencies of justice. Within tagging Edwin M. Limert, used the terminology of primary and secondary deviance, primary being a deviant act that was undertaken to achieve some immediate issue and or problem that may have arisen in the person life and doesn’t intend for the criminal behavior to continue. Secondary deviance
Labels are only classifying words or phrases placed on people or things by other people and are often inaccurate and restrictive. However, they carry a lot of power. Labelling perspectives in criminology looks at how crime is a "social process" (pg. 94; (White, et al., 2012)) and how certain power structures determine what is considered deviant or not; the perspective studies crime as an "outcome of specific types of human interaction" (pg. 94; (White, et al., 2012)). This essay will consider the question "Does criminal labelling encourage criminal behaviour?" and will answer it by giving an overview as to what criminal labelling is, outlining the consequences of social interactions, highlighting the effect labels have on individuals and critiquing
In trying to understand crime and societies impact on the individual criminal, we can look towards many theories. The labeling theory, which society can share the blame for as well, categorizes criminals who are simply filling their role. It is applied to a specific class of people to include criminal, felons and juvenile delinquents (Schmalleger, 2016). Once the individual has become labeled, they consciously or subconsciously fulfill the roll they were given. Compounding the individual’s obstacles are the legal tags they also become associated with. The effects of tagging an individual begin at the local community level and can be seen throughout the criminal justice system (Schmalleger, 2016). In example, assume a young male is arrested
When an individual become labeled as a criminal it becomes their "master status." " deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an 'offender.' The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label" Howard S. Becker, (1963) Outsiders, (p.9). If you are labeled as a criminal, people do not consider all the good things you have done; they just see that you committed some type of a felony and are now a criminal. Once a person is labeled and judged by society it is very hard to get back to what they once had and people often have an identity change. This is a social
The labeling theory addresses deviants and puts concern on behaviors that other theories do not. Most theories are primarily concerned with why individuals commit more crime. Rather than analyzing the occurrence of crimes among social groups, the labeling theory challenge us to truly understand deviants and what it means to be categorized as a deviant individual. Unlike the control theories that assumes all of us must be held in check or “controlled” if we are to resist the temptation to commit criminal or delinquency acts, this paper will dissect some important contributions the labeling theory has made to the study of juvenile delinquency (pg.107). In addition, we will discuss the labeling process, some causes of becoming labeled and also the prevention steps taken to decrease juvenile delinquency.
I chose the autobiography topic because the method of reflecting upon my personal thoughts and experiences is more relatable and easier to understand for readers. In addition, when applying the labeling theory into a person, choosing why he or she became a criminal or not; it reinforces the demonstration of the psychological consequences and effects of labeling people. Not becoming a criminal is as important as avoiding suspicion; and the labels that society gives, destroys offenders psychologically and emotionally more than the legal punishment. The human’s basic nature is to label people whether consciously or sometimes unconsciously, based on one simple negative or positive trait; but the complexity of people lies in more than one trait.
Labeling theorist ask five major questions about the reaction to delinquency: Why certain acts are defined as delinquent or status offenses, how others react to delinquency, what impact the reaction to delinquency has on further delinquency, why some juvenile offenders are more likely than others to experience the harsh/rejecting reaction, and are some juveniles more likely than others to respond to the harsh/rejecting reaction with further delinquency. is not until a label is given to someone by someone else in a position of social power that the person “becomes” a deviant. The labeling theory has three key elements that attempt to provide insight to the theory. Primary deviance is behavior that does not behavior that does not conform to the social norms, but the behavior might be temporary, fleeting, exploratory, trivial, or especially, concealed from most others. The person who commits the deviant act does not see him/herself as deviant; put differently, it is not internalized as a part of the person's self-concept. Secondary deviance is behavior that does not conform to the social norms, but the behavior tends to be more sustained over time. The person continues to do the deviant behavior even after being caught and labeled by a social institution. The person accepts the deviant label, incorporating it into the person's
Labeling is the process by which society responds to a criminal in a definition of a criminal and they are labeled criminal. This is a form of labeling by society in which to perpetuate crime and delinquency rather than reduce it (Schmalleger, 2012). Negative labels can carry significant liabilities that are visible as well as hidden. After an offender is arrested, convicted, and sentenced, society and the community label the person as delinquent and criminal. The offender is thought of as evil and all their actions are considered evil and are looked upon as suspicions (Schmalleger, 2012). This individual who used to do bad and deviant things had now become bad and unredeemable as a human. Communities cannot deal with people such as this.
The effect of the idea of minorities are criminals can cause the minority to take on a criminal identity. Police usually stop criminals or someone that has broken the law. When an innocent man or women gets stop by law enforcements, for doing nothing wrong, the police are then labeling the individual as a criminal. Therefore, it can affect the individual’s way of evolving a criminal identity. In sociology, there is a theory called the labeling theory. Because an individual is labeled by society to be a certain character that individual will take on the characteristics of the label that comes with how society views the individual. In the textbook by Dalton Conley, “You may ask Yourself”, illustrates how the labeling theory works. For example,
The last of the social process theories is social reaction theory, also known as labeling theory. Labeling theory, created by Howard Becker in 1963 states, “deviance is a socially constructed process in which social control agencies designate certain people as deviants and they, in turn, come to accept the label placed upon them and act accordingly.” (Kendall, 2016 p. 175). There are several key points to labeling theory. First, behaviors that are considered criminal are subjective.
The social learning theory states that criminal behavior is learned. Criminals learn their bad behaviors from close relationships they may have with criminal peers (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). Children look up to their parents; they want to be just like them. So, if children grow up surround by crime, they think that it is both normal and acceptable, and it is likely that they will participate in criminal behavior when they are older. As a result of learning this behavior, it is passed down through generations and is never broken. This can also be learned from friendships people may have with negative influences. Young adults and children want to fit in with their peers, so if they are surrounded with those who commit crimes, they are probably going to do the same because “everyone is doing it”.