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Labelling (Interactionist theory)

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Aaron Cicourel
He argues that police use typifications of the 'typical delinquent'. Individuals fitting the typification are more likely to be stopped, arrested and charged. E.g. w/c and ethnic minorities. He also argues that we cannot take crime stats at face value or use them as a source of facts. We should treat them as a topic and investigate the processes by which they are constructed.
Typifications AO2
Marxists criticize labelling theory for failing to locate the origin of such labels in the unequal structure of capitalist society.
Deviancy amplification
When the action of the rule enforcers or media in response to deviance brings about an increase in the deviance. (illustrate by the use of examples such as drugs, hooliganism)
Deviant career
The various stages that a person passes through on their way to being seen as, and seeing themselves as, deviant.
Folk devils
Groups associated with moral panics who are seen as troublemakers by the media.
Master status
When people are looked at by others solely on the basis of one type of act (good or bad) which they have committed; all other aspects of that person are ignored.
Moral crusade
The process of creating or enforcing a rule.
Moral entrepreneur
Person or group which tries to create or enforce a rule.
Primary deviance
Deviant acts that have not been publicly labelled. They have many causes and, are often trivial and mostly go uncaught. Those who commit them do not usually see themselves as deviant.
Secondary deviance
Society's response to rule breaking, which usually has greater social consequences than initial rule-breaking.
Symbolic interactionism
A theory derived from social psychology which argues that people exist in a social world based on symbols that people interpret and respond to.
Piliavin and Briar
They found police decisions to arrest were based on stereotypical ideas about manner/dress/gender/class/ethnicity/time/place. (DIFFERENTIAL ENFORCEMENT)
Labelling theory AO2
1. It's interest in interactions between law enforcement agents and suspects derives from the interactionist perspective, which focuses on how meanings are created through micro-level face-to-face interactions and negotiations. 2. It fails to explain why people commit primary deviance in the first place, before they are labelled. 3. Tends to trivialise serious deviant/criminal activity such as murder or rape.
Labelling theory AO2
4. It is sometimes accused of being too deterministic - of assuming that, once labelled, a SFP is inevitable. Although this is often the case, the individual is always free to chose not to deviate further. 5. Ignores structural and ideological processes that shape the responses of society and the social control agencies to particular activities.
Labelling theory AO2
It is not easy to investigate empirically, as it is difficult to establish the importance of factors that lead to an individual's self-image. It is also difficult to identify primary deviants because, by definition, those who come to the sociologist's attention as 'criminal' have to be secondary deviants. It is also difficult for some older sociologists to study e.g. teen gangs using participant observation as it would be unlikely for them to accept such person.
Jock Young
His study of marijuana users illustrates the SFP process. 1. Drug use was initially peripheral to the hippies' lifestyle (primary deviance), but police persecution of them as junkies (societal reaction) led them to retreat into closed groups, developing a deviant subculture where drug use became a central activity (self-fulfilling prophecy). 2. The control processes aimed at producing law-abiding behaviour thus produced the opposite.
Functionalists vs. labelling theorists
They see deviance producing social control vs. they see control producing further deviance.