criminological theories

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 9 (2702 words) Published: February 27, 2015
CRIM 2650: Labeling Theory Part 1
“Social groups create deviance by creating the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders …. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.’ Howard Becker (1963)

Lecture Overview
1. Labeling Theory: An Introduction
2. Labeling theory’s starting premises: Social construction 3. Early labeling Theory
4. Assessing early labeling theory
5. Contemporary labeling theory
6. Policy Implications (for tutorial discussions)
The first thing we do is question the concept of deviancy itself. Who makes the rules and who benefits from those rules? Second component of labeling theory (the connecting rod of the early school and the more contemporary side) is how does the CJS itself contribute to criminality? What are the limitations of the CJS, specifically how we police and how we punish? Labeling theory is not necessary interested in addressing the primary causes of deviancy. We are looking at who gets to label people as criminal/deviant and how those labels get internalized, which becoming path dependant, meaning a personal is labeled a thief, anti social etc. That label becomes real (manifestation). Theory begins in the 40s, but takes root in the late 60s/70s. The reason for this is that specifically in the United States, by 1967-68, the legitimacy of the state is being called into question and with it the idea that there is a social consensus that everyone agrees to and is legitimacy held by the state is then questioned by the state. Labeling Theory: An Introduction

Labeling theory is interested in the ‘social process of labelling’: argument is that crime is socially constructed. Crime does not exist naturally. In the absence of law, a third part that has the authority to define what is legal and illegal and then enforce those rules in the absence of the law, we have a sense of amorality, right and wrong, but we necessarily don’t have crime. The law is artificial because crime depends on the law. What the labeling theorists suggest we should emphasize the artificiality of the law. For too long that it has been taken advantage that these laws exist, therefore they are right. We take for granted that because the law exists, it has our consent that its foundation is built in consensus. That we all agree that crime corresponds to some harm, therefore the prohibition against the behaviour is reasonable and justifiable. Labeling theory suggests this is false and the argument is that there is no universal definition of what is criminal. What we need to pay attention to is what types of behaviour gets emphasized in a particular time and place. Crime is ‘socially constructed.’ We should pay attention to a) what criminal behaviour get emphasized by investigating b) the societal reaction/response to crime: even though it doesn’t directly make this argument, the labeling theory will be the first to introduce the conflict theory. Meaning that what is important is ideological/political. And how those particular crimes and translated to people to become important becomes of central interest to us. = the criminal nature of behaviour is socially constructed by the response to it: labeling assumes there are social, political and economic interests in society. That means there are some groups that have the advantage of defining what is important when it comes to criminal behaviour which basically means that powerful groups from this perspective, impose their moral beliefs to the rest of the society. Second part, is that labeling theory also believes there is an irony to the CJS, which can be stated very simply. If the CJS is truly interested in addressing the causes of crime, it should look no further than itself. The idea here is that there is something about the way we police and punish that facilitates criminal behaviour. The cure becomes a part...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Personal Criminological Theory Paper
  • Essay about Criminological Theory
  • Theories of deviance Essay
  • Crime Theories Essay
  • Criminological Theory All Units Essay
  • Explaining Shawn's Attachment Theory Essay
  • Essay about Research and Theories
  • Analysis on Three Main Sociological Theories Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free