Labelling Theory

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Labeling theory, which is also known as social reaction theory, explains how criminal careers are based on destructive social interactions and encounters.
EVOLUTION OF THE LABELING THEORY- Howard Becker developed his theory of labeling in the 1963 book Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. Becker's theory evolved during a period of social and political power struggle that was amplified within the world of the college campus. Liberal political movements were embraced by many of the college students and faculty in America. Howard Becker harnessed this liberal influence and adjusted Lemert's labeling theory and its symbolic interaction theoretical background. The labeling theory outlined in Outsiders is recognized
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 Joining Deviant Cliques- children labeled as deviant may join similarly outcaste delinquent peers who facilitate their behavior. Eventually antisocial behavior becomes habitual and automatic.
 Retrospective Reading- it is a process in which the past of the labeled person is reviewed and reevaluated to fit his current status. This tends to redefine the whole person.
 Dramatization of Evil- the stigmatized offenders start reevaluating their own identity and due to the fuss made by everybody, begin to behave expected by them.
 ‘Primary deviance' and ‘secondary deviance'- According to Lemert, primary deviance is the initial incidence of an act causing an authority figure to label the actor deviant. This initial labeling of a deviant act will remain primary as long as the actor can rationalize or deal with the process as a function of a socially acceptable role. If the labeled deviant reacts to this process by accepting the deviant label, and further entrenches his/herself in deviant behavior, this is referred to as secondary deviance. Secondary deviance produces a deviance amplification effect.
• The social agencies originally designed for crime control are responsible for criminal career formation.
• The interactional definition of crime is used. As per sociologist Kai Erickson, "Deviance is not a property inherent in certain forms of behavior, it is a property conferred
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