Some sociologists believe that the initial cause of crime and deviance is attaching a definition or meaning to an individual or group of individuals, due to their ethnicity, social background, or gender. Many sociologists argue that no act is criminal in itself, however it only becomes criminal when others label it so. The labelling theory tends to look more at societies reaction to the act rather than the nature of the act. Lemert says that it is ‘pointless to seek the causes of primary deviance’- this suggesting that deviance is unlikely to have a single cause.
An ASBO was something introduced by the government to attempt to reduce the anti-social behaviour in young people. However Item A indicates that this has resulted in labelling, ‘disproportionately being used against ethnic minorities’, that ‘blacks and Asians were two and a half more times likely’ than whites to be given an ASBO. This could also be an example of stereotyping ethnic minorities, as well as possibly labelling innocent individuals who are unaware they are deviant until they are labelled, thus showing that it could also be ethnicity that is the product of the labelling process and not just crime and deviance.
In addition to this, Cicourel found that officer’s decision to arrest individuals was potentially dominated by stereotypes they would have of offenders. He found that the typification the police officer would have of an offender could lead them more likely to arrest those of an ethnic minority and working class, as they are statistically more associated with crime and deviance in our society today.
In contrast to this, Haan investigates the result of the increasing stigmatisation of young offenders. He found that if an individual is negatively labelled from the offset, it could push them towards a deviant career. This could indicate that crime and