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 was created by a sociologists during the 1960s. Labeling theory is a theory that identifies the behavior of an individual because of their influences that classifies or describes the acts they committed. Howard S. Becker was highly influential and help contribute information that created a huge buzz about Labeling theory. Howard S. Becker's made a classic statement about Labeling theory. In Constructions of Deviance: Social power, Context, and Interaction. According to page forty-one Becker believed Labeling theory advanced a realistic perspective on how deviance is perceived. Howard S. Becker argued that deviance is not within individuals' behaviors but in the response others have to these. Deviance behavior is closely related to social construction forged by a various audience. Depending on the situation certain behavioral acts maybe perceived differently depending on the circumstance. Becker discovered the root of deviance by observing the response of people rather than the behavioral act itself, once people have acts labeled their perpetrators are labeled
Schur (1980, 1984) who “described labeling as a social construction of culture, which means that it is artificially defined by society. This indicates that proper concepts will be destitute in the face of ever-changing eccentricity of social standards” (Hashem, 2015:121). Society dictates what is and what is not considered “deviant” behavior, and treats the person accordingly (whether positive or negative. Labeling tends to lead to stigmatization. Noelle Vance wrote in her article titled Labeling Theory that “When relationships with parents, teachers, or friends are weakened as a result of formal stigmatization, individuals are more likely to seek affiliation with criminal
The labeling theory is based off of interactions between individuals and society. It suggests that the negative labels given to individuals by society can cause the individual to become that label.
First of all, what is “Social Strain Theory?” Robert Merton who is a theorist and creator of Strain Theory has allocated that “strains” are instigated by United States social structure which dictates equivalent goals in terms of success and job status within all members of society despite all members not having equivalent means to achieve money and success. Those that have that have obstacles in the way of achieving success and wealth experience strain and could engage in criminal behavior (Merton). In this theory Merton also created “Deviance
In 1938, Robert K. Merton further developed strain theory to state that societies put pressure on individuals to achieve a certain level in the class hierarchy if they want to be respected. The strain of reaching this level then makes them fall to the temptation of crime, including prostitution, selling drugs, or theft, just for a chance to gain financial security, because too many people are either unemployed or underemployed.
Robert Agnew developed his theory called General Strain Theory based off of Robert Merton’s Classic Strain Theory. Agnew introduced three types of strain. Generally, “the higher the dose of strain that a person experiences the greater the likelihood of the person becoming engaged in crime or in some form of deviance” (Lilly, Cullen, & Ball, 1989). A journal article called “General Strain Theory and Delinquency: the Developmental Process of Robert Agnew’s Works from a Historical Perspective” says that “the strain may result from when others (1) prevent an individual from achieving positively valued goals; (2) remove positively valued stimuli pertaining to individual; (3) present
The theory of General Strain is how the strain on an individual leads them toward criminal activities and behaviors. The main concepts of general strain theory explain how a negative relationship affects the individual and their future in the expansion towards delinquency. Negative or harmful relationships are defined as affiliations with others that are partake in similar criminal activity and how an individual believes they should be treated. The strain theory is broken down into three types: (1) Strain as the failure to achieve positively valued goals (Traditional Strain), (2) Strain as the removal of positively valued stimuli from the individual, and (3) Strain as the presentation of negative stimuli.
Labeling theory is a theory that originated in the 1960s amidst many changes going on in the United States. The theory is unique in that it is one of the first theories that looks at the societal reaction of what the offender does and not just their action itself. When there is an act committed within a society and the majority of society does not agree with the act then it can be considered deviant. When an act
Furthermore it states that humans, being conformists readily buy into these notions. However, access to the means for achieving these goals is not equally available to everyone. Some have the education, social network and family influence to attain these goals. The socially and economically disadvantaged do not have the opportunity, education or necessary social network for attaining material wealth and economic or political power. Thus the strain theory predicts that crime occurs when there is a perceived discrepancy between these goals and the legitimate means for reaching them. Individuals who experience a high level of this strain are forced to decide whether to violate laws to achieve these goals, to give up on the goals pushed upon them by society, or to withdraw or rebel.
Labels are everywhere. Whether conscious or subconsciously, they are a fundamental part of our lives. We label together foods, clothing, colours and things that are alike. But what happens when we expand this form of “labelling” to split up types of people? When we assume character traits about those who belong to a certain group, this can intensely affect the way many react in life. Those who are judged for their sexual orientation, gender, income, mental problems etc., may eventually begin to conform to a stereotype that they belong to. In turn, this stereotyping may be the reason for certain people to partake in deviance acts.
In the 1980’s, Criminologist, Robert Agnew, presented his theory of general strain, in which he covers a range of negative behaviors, especially how adolescents deal with stresses of strain. General strain theory focuses on the source, such as anything that changes in the individual’s life that causes strain. His theory provides a different outlook on social control and social learning theory for two reasons: the type of social relationship that leads to delinquency and the motivation for the delinquency (Agnew, 1992). He states that certain strains and stresses increase the likelihood for crime such as economic deprivation, child abuse, and discrimination. These factors can cause an increase of crime through a range of negative emotions. For some people it can take a lot of willpower to take a corrective action and try to deter away from committing crime in a way that they can relieve these negative emotions. When people cannot cope with the stresses of the strain, they turn to crime as a coping mechanism. Agnew also states, that not all people that experience the stresses of strain will go forward to committing crime and live a deviant life.
The strain theory, developed by Robert K. Merton in 1957 is not only a criminology theory but it is a sociology theory as well stating that individuals do indulge in crimes because the society exerts pressure and puts a lot of strain on them while they are on the process of achieving socially acceptable goals. A good example of this socially acceptable goal is the American Dream whereas examples of crimes committed under strain theory include
Labeling theory helps us understand the social responses and reactions from the community, and as illustrated in the opening comments, the Mercer brothers’ history of criminal behavior and activities. Labeling theory is an approach of explaining that the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used when societies describe or classify individuals without further
Strain theory is an occurrence within society where pressure to the juvenile to commit crimes, the juvenile is compelled remains in a specific settings like family and school. Therefore if said juvenile is experiencing pain or aversive it is hard for them to escape the situation. So to alleviate this discomfort they turn to crime, this mainly seen within the subculture of gangs (Agnew, 2012).