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Flashcards in Interactionism And Labelling Theory Deck (30)
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Who are all the key theorists for interactionism and labelling theory?

- Becker
- Cicourel
- Lemert
- Cohen
- Young


Why do labelling theorists reject structural causes?

They believe it’s more important to explore:

- how and why people are considered deviant
- the effect of being labelled deviant on behaviour


What is a key quote by Becker?

“Deviance is not a quality of the act of person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender”


What does Becker believe about laws?

- laws are a reflection of the activities of p’s who seek to create and enforce laws
- he calls these p’s moral entrepreneurs
- these people lead a moral crusade to change the law


Describe moral entrepreneurs

They fall into 2 categories:

1. Rule creators - believes there is a threatening social evil that needs to be tackled
2. Rule enforcers - execute and apply the rules of offenders


What are some examples of rule creators and rule enforcers?

- Rule creators: politicians, religious leaders
- Rule enforcers: police, courts


What is a key example (AO2) of Becker’s theory about moral entrepreneurs?

- study of outlawing cannabis in USA in 1937
- was widely used in southern states of USA
- Federal Bureau of Narcotics saw cannabis as a growing evil
- this influences the change
- through campaigns the drug was banned from growing and using


What is Cicourel study to look at the negotiation of justice?

studied how law enforcers understand and interpret what they see


What did Cicourel find about the police?

- They operated on pre existing stereotypes of what a delinquent is like
- so they concentrate on certain types of p’s
- mainly working class who demonstrated ‘routine suspicion’


According to Cicourel’s ideas what does police stereotyping to lead to?

- working class areas are policed more
- more arrests
- confirms stereotypes
- resulting in law enforcement showing a class bias


What does Cicourel say about justice?

- justice isn’t fixed, it’s negotiable
- e.g middle class youth are less likely to be charged as the don’t fit criminal stereotypes


Describe the consequences of labelling according to Lemert

- there is primary and secondary deviance:

- primary: deviant acts that haven’t been publicly labelled
- secondary: societal reaction which occurs when an offender is publicly exposed and the label of deviance is attached


According to Becker, describe what happens when someone is labelled?

- Becker used term master status
- the label overrides all other qualities
- being publicly labelled as a criminal can involve being stigmatised, shamed and excluded


Describe what secondary deviance can lead to

- a self fulfilling prophecy
- produces higher level deviance
- produces deviant subcultures and a deviant career
- when labelled p’s lose legitimate opportunities so turn to deviant careers


Summarise the effects of labelling and selective enforcement described by Becker and Lemert

- it’s not the act but the societal reaction that creates serious deviance
- the social process that is meant to promote law abiding behaviour produces the opposite


What key study did Lemert (1972) do that studied to effects of labelling?

- studied coastal Inuits in Canada who had a problem of stuttering
- suggested it was caused by importance to ceremonial speech making
- failure to speak well = humiliation
- speaking difficulties in children caused anxieties which caused stuttering


What was Cohen’s (1972) key research into the effects of labelling?

- some p’s demonised by media as folk devils
- this caused moral panic
- Cohen applied this to ‘mods’ and ‘rockers’ - 1960’s youth cultures who clashed when they met
- the clash was exaggerated by media and caused police to arrest more youths
- the demonising of mods and rockers caused more marginalisation and more deviance


What key research did Young (1971) do to study the effects of labelling?

- studied marijuana users in Notting hill
- marijuana was a leisure activity for most p’s
- public and political pressures led police to take action
- these p’s were then seen as a dangerous subculture
- police increasingly arrested these p’s
- these p’s then felt more marginalised and retreated into closed groups and became more of outsiders and rejected more social norms


How does labelling theory have policy implications?

- support that negative labelling pushes offenders towards deviant careers
- so to reduce deviance we should enforce fewer rules for people to break
- e.g legalise soft drugs


What does Braithwaite (1989) believe about labelling?

- unlike other labelling theories the sees them positively
- he sees 2 types of shaming:

1. Disintegrative shaming - the crime and criminal is labelled as bad
2. Reintegrative shaming - labels the act but not the actor


What are the strengths of the labelling theory?

- provides insight into nature of deviance
- shows how law is often enforced by discrimination
- shows society attempts to control deviance that backfires and create more


How does labelling theories give an insight into the nature of deviance?

- moves away from structural causes
- focuses of how and why p’s are considered deviant
- focuses on how being labelled deviant affects behaviour


How does labelling theory show that the law is enforced by discrimination?

- a criminal is socially constructed through selective policing
- justice is negotiable (Cicourel)
- Marxist: laws are enforced by those in power to maintain capitalist wealth


How does labelling theory show that an attempt to control deviance backfires and creates more deviance?

- functionalists: some crime is necessary so controlling it disturbs society’s harmony
- this disturbs the balance and backfires
- labelling can lead to deviant amplification


What are the weaknesses of the labelling theory?

- Takes responsibility away from the criminal
- assumes acts aren’t deviant until labelled
- doesn’t explain the causes of deviant behaviour
- too deterministic
- fails to analyse the source of power creating deviance


Why is taking away responsibility from the criminal a weakness of labelling theory?

- justifies crime
- takes away responsibility from criminals
- makes it harder to punish criminals in court


How does labelling theory assume an act is not deviant until labelled?

- deviance is subjective
- p’s are aware they’re being deviant before being labelled
- suggests someone who kills isn’t a murderer until labelled
- therefore the theory is only applied to smaller crimes


How does labelling theory not explain the causes of deviant behaviour or the different kinds of acts?

- ignores structural factors
- some structural theories do explain why
- coward and Ohlin discuss 3 types of crime which is more applicable


Why is labelling theory too deterministic?

- we can reject labels (self denying prophecy)
- assumes we don’t have free will


How does labelling theory not analyse the source of power that is creating deviance?

- lacks detail of the type of power and who
- Marxists: those in power are m/c who allow w/c to suffer
- this leads to frustration which leads to crime
- unlike Marxists, labelling theory doesn’t explain this