Labelling Theory in Crime

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Using material from item A and elsewhere assess the view that crime and deviance are the product of the labelling process. Some argue that crime and deviance is caused by labelling, as after an offender is labelled by society this often leads to a spiral of repeat offences, as he/she is not given a chance by society so therefore leads to a deviant career for them. However this may not be the cause of their further deviance as it could be to strains and poverty, this theory has also been criticised for a number of reasons. Labelling Theory

This theory argues that deviance is a social construction, as no act is deviant in itself in all situations; it only becomes deviant when others label it as such. •Becker argues that a deviant is someone who the label has been successfully applied. For example as item A states some youths were labelled with ASBO’s but saw this as a badge of honour rather than a deterrence to crime. •Not everyone who commits an offence is labelled, whether someone is arrested, charged and convicted depends on their interactions with social control agencies such as the police and courts, their appearance, background and biography. And also the situation and circumstances of their offence. •Piliavin and Briar found that police officers decisions to arrest youths were based on their dress, manner, class, ethnicity and the time of place. They found that working class people fitted the police’s typifications therefore they patrolled the working class areas more often. •Item A states that Blacks and Asians were two and a half times more likely to be given an ASBO, this shows the stereotypes and typifications that are made within the judicial system as well as the policing system. •Cicourel introduced the term “negotiation of justice” which referred to the middle class being less likely to be charged, as the middle class background does not fit the typification of the police and partly because middle class parents are more able to negotiate...
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