Labeling Theory Sociology Essay Rubric

Labeling Theory and Its Specific

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This in turn more often than not leads the stigmatized to acquire more and more deviant and possibly criminal identities (Lanier & Henry, 1998).

There can, of course, be other antecedents prior to labeling that can enhance the process of delinquency in juveniles. Mental and/or psychological impairments must also be considered as a contributing factor. Certain of these attributes can also contribute to highly suggestible levels in regards to behavior and allow socially sensitive entities to be easily swayed by stigma and stereotype.

Such deficits in neuropsychological functioning, such as self-control (especially impulse control), may serve to maintain antisocial behaviour throughout life. In contrast... antisocial behaviour that emerges during adolescence is, on this account, the result of an individual reaching biological maturity prior to reaching social maturity (where he or she has legal access to such liberties to consume alcohol, and operate a motor vehicle). (Carroll, Hemingway, Bower, Ashman, Houghton…… [Read More]


Adams, M.S., Robertson, C.T., Gray-Ray, P., & Ray, M.C. (2003). Labeling and Delinquency. Adolescence, 38(149), 171-177.

Barlow, H.D. (Ed.). (1995). Crime and Public Policy: Putting Theory to Work. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Bartusch, D.J., & Matsueda, R.L. (1996). Gender, Reflected Appraisals, and Labeling: A Cross-Group Test of an Interactionist Theory of Delinquency. Social Forces, 75(1), 145-176.

Braithwaite, J. (1995). 11 Reintegrative Shaming, Republicanism, and Policy. In Crime and Public Policy: Putting Theory to Work, Barlow, H.D. (Ed.) (pp. 191-205). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Labelling Theories' Contribution to the Sociological Understanding of Crime and Deviance

1069 Words5 Pages

Labelling Theories' Contribution to the Sociological Understanding of Crime and Deviance

Becker is the main sociologist studying labelling theory on deviance, he argues that 'social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance.' Meaning acts only become deviant when observers perceive it and define it as deviant. An example of this would be the act of nudity, it is accepted in the bedroom between husband and wife or on a nudist camp, but when a stranger was to enter the bedroom, or someone was to streak across a sporting event, others would usually see this as deviant, and this deviancy would become a label on the individual.

Several factors affect what the…show more content…

Which in turn could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy because of being identified with the label and it becomes controlling.

Once these steps have occurred, what Becker describes as 'the deviant career' is completed when the individual joins an organised deviant group and thus accepting their identity of being deviant.

However, this is not by any means inevitable and some of those who started out as convicts or drug addicts can become 'straight' and get jobs or quit their habits.

When Becker identified that he took a 'sequential' approach he means how he explains deviance and at any stage in the sequence of his explanation it is possible that the deviant will re-enter conventional society.

Lemmert also uses the interactionist perspective in his view of labelling, outlining primary and secondary deviance, primary being the act before it is publicly labelled and secondary being the response of the individual or 'deviant' to the reactions of others in society. But he sees the agents of social control to blame for deviance rather than the traditional views of the blame lying with the 'deviant' individual or group.

This labelling theory has contributed two concepts to help understand the relationship between media and crime:

· Deviancy amplification, Lesley Wilkins points out that a response to deviant acts by media and the police can actually

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