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
The labeling theory, an example of constructivist perspective is the theory put forth to define how deviance is experienced and why people continue to be deviant. The labeling theory was developed by a group of sociologists in the 1960’s. It is a version of symbolic interactionism defining deviance as a collective action involving the acts of more than one person, and the
Under Edwin Lemert’s labeling theory the individual facilitates and impact’s their label. The process starts with deviation, sanctions for those behaviors by others, decision from the individual to imbed the label or challenge it, the individual then gets more reaction for their action from other and finally the individual chooses to accept the label and consistently acts within it. Primary deviance takes place when the individual engages in the initial act of defiance. In Lemert’s term, such acts under traditional labeling theory are examples of primary deviance and they occur in wide segments of the population. We all transgress now and then: some youth shoplift, others commit vandalism, and still others use illegal drugs. But suppose a youth, say a 15 year-old male, is caught vandalizing or using an illegal drug, His arrest, fingerprinting, and other legal measures make him think of himself as a young criminal. Parents, friends,
The first theme is labelling and deviant identity theory of criminalisation, one of the main contributors to this theory was Howard Becker who in 1963 wrote the book “Outsiders” which provided the foundations of labelling theory. Becker looked at how social groups created deviance by creating the
Labeling theory holds that individuals come to identify and act as per their labels. The major tenet of this theory is that the behavior and self-identity of individuals is affected by the way they are described by other people (Vold, Bernard, Snipes, & Gerould, 2016). According to this theory, the act of deviance is not implicit in a particular act, but is hedged on the inclination of the majority to ascribe labels to minorities in society who deviate from standard behavior. Labeling leads to dramatization of a particular act – which propagates the behavioral clash between the individual and the community. Through ascribing labels, the individuals acquire a negative self-image. The individuals accept themselves as labeled by 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
Some sociologists believe that the cause of crime and deviance is labelling which is when a label is attached to a person or group of people due to their appearance, sex, ethnicity etc. Labelling theory argues that once this label has been attached it 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. Labelling is similar to stereotyping but this is when a person assigns certain characteristics to a labelled group. An example to support this would be 9/11. Since this disaster people label Muslims as being terrorists
The Labeling Theory is the view that labels people are given affect their own and others’ perception of them, thus channeling their behavior either into deviance or into conformity. Labels can be positive and/or negative, but I’ll focus on the negative aspects of labeling in high school. Everybody has a label in high school whether it is the “slut”, “pothead”, “freak” or the “jock”; it is one of the most apparent time periods in which individuals get labeled. Students have the mentality that whatever label is placed on them is going to be stuck with them forever, which then leads into a self-fulfilling prophecy. This, I feel, is a fear of being a “loser” that has been instilled throughout years by the principals, teachers, etc. An example
Once a person is labelled as a deviant, it is hard to remove that label. The Labeling Theory basically says that no behavior is deeply rooted on its own. It is society’s reaction to the behavior that makes the act deviant or not. Labeling is to give someone or something to a category and is usually given mistakenly. The people who usually doing the labeling have statues, numbers, power and authority. People with low status, power and authority are the ones that are being labeled.
A label defines an individual as a certain kind of person. Defining an act as deviant or criminal is not a simple straight forward process. A label is not neutral, it contains an evaluation of the person to whom it is applied. It is a ‘Master Status’ in the sense that it overshadows all the other statuses possessed by the individual. If an individual is labelled as criminal, mentally ill or gay, such labels tend to override the individuals status as father, husband, worker, friend or neighbour. Whether or not the label is applied will depend on how the act is interpreted by the audience. This in turn will depend on who commits the act and where and when it was committed.
‘Labelling theory is the view of deviance according to which being labelled as a “deviant” leads a person to engage in deviant behaviour.’ This states that if a person were to labelled as a thief, that person would be treated different (looked down upon). This could leave this person to do what they are labelled as and commit theft. This is backed up with study.com’s definition of labelling theory, which states ‘people become criminals when labelled as such and when they accept the label as personal identity’. This moves into strain theory as the strain theory cultural theory as in Merton’s strain theory argues that ‘the American cultural
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
Based on Howard Becker’s symbolic or labeling theory, all acts of deviance and the person seen to be acting in a deviant manner are given labels. These labels generally come from someone in there community or group who are in hierarchy or authority figure. That means no action is deviant unless specified by the particular community or group (Bessant & Watts 2002). Becker’s labeling theory concentrates on the lower class, and anything apart from what the group expects is labeled as deviant. The term Once a criminal always a criminal is familiar, it is these type of labels that maybe detrimental in terms of a person internalizing labels as truth, and how others sees them (D. Conley 2008). The labels and or judgments given negatively, isolate the person from the group, and may hinder the person’s opportunity to reach their full potential. The strains put on a person to conform to the particular cultures norms and values, does not allow any person to differ in nature or thought. When one is pressured to perform in ways that may be foreign or
Labeling theorists suggest that labeling individuals as deviant has the potential of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy (Globokar, 2008). Howard Becker has described deviance as a “consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’; the deviant is one to whom the label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior people so label” (Clinard & Meier, 2011:89). Culture, sex, age and other elements of identity all shape self-conception, but the meanings that an individual places on various circumstances and interactions certainly play a very important role as well.
According to Howard Becker’s labeling theory, ‘deviance is not a quality of the act person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an “offender”.’ (Becker