sociology internationalist crime & deviance

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1c How do interactionists explain crime? (Labelling Theory) Are offenders different? Interactionists argue that a mistake most perspectives make is that they assume lawbreakers are somehow different from law-abiding people. The labelling theory suggests that most people commit deviant and criminal acts but only come are caught and stigmatised for it. It is for this reason that emphasis should be on understanding the reaction and definition of deviance rather than the causes of the initial act. Quote by Howard Becker 1963 “Deviancy is not a quality of the act a person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.” The…show more content…
This concept refers to the processes involved in labelling and then whether or not a person takes on the self-image of the ‘deviant’. Creating Rules Once labelling theorists began the process of looking at how social life was open to negotiation and that rule enforcement was no different than other social activities, their attention shifted to the creation of rules and laws and why they were made. Traditionally sociologists took a Marxists view that they were made in the interest or the ruling class, or they took a more functionalist view that laws in a democracy were a reflection of the views of the majority of the population. Becker doubted both these accounts and argued instead that: “Rules are the products of someone’s initiative and we can think of the people who exhibit such enterprises as ‘moral entrepreneurs’.” So labelling theorists argue that laws are a reflection of the activities of people (moral entrepreneurs) who actively seek to create and enforce laws. The reasons for this are either that the new laws will benefit the activists directly or that the activists believe that the laws are truly beneficial to society. Becker’s most famous example of this is his study following the outlawing of cannabis in the USA in 1937. Becker as well as other sociologists use term ‘moral crusade’ to describe the movements/actions taken to pass laws. Criticisms The idea that those who seek to pass laws or impose rule upon others have been largely
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