The Contribution of the Labelling Theory to Our Understanding of Crime and Deviancy

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The Contribution of the Labelling Theory to Our Understanding of Crime and Deviancy

We can call a label, or define it as; a mark, name, or even badge.

Something is only deviant, or becomes deviant because someone has been
successful in labelling it as, deviancy is ambiguous, definitions
differ from society to society or even culture to culture.

Calling something deviant is a reaction to a type of behaviour.

The labelling theory is very complex, it asks why some people
committing crimes are named deviant but others are not.

Labelling theorists believe when you label offenders as criminals,
yobs, this has negative consequences, deepening and worsening the
criminal behaviour.

There are
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A strength of labelling theory approach to deviance is that it not
only concentrates on the social reaction to deviance committed by
individuals, as well as concentrating on the interaction processes
leading to the labelling, these being two important elements of the

The effects on the Individual of labelling are especially important.

Having being labelled, as a deviant, the individual according to
Becker, then will accept the label, and for example turn to the life
of crime, possibly with the help of a deviant subculture, feeling they
have no other alternative.

The last part of the labelling theory is,’ deviant career’, this being
when the labelled criminal evolves into a complete, absolute deviant.

Kai T Erikson (1966) also highlights the way social reaction affects
the individual, he supports and reinforces what Becker suggests, he
further suggests that deviance in a society is essential, and is
beneficial for creating a boundary between good and evil.

Furthermore there are a number of policy implications to do with the
labelling theory, a vast majority of them are impractical, such as the
emphasis on rehabilitation, in helping the offenders be rehabilitated
from the label, although negatively some will not agree to participate
in this.

Another implication is that criminal law…