Interpretive Approaches. Phenomenology is a view that emphasises the subjective and introspective nature of our experience. Mainly developed through the work of Schutz it has led to such developments as symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology.
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Phenomenology is a view that emphasises the subjective and introspective nature of our experience.
Mainly developed through the work of Schutz it has led to such developments as symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology.
These approaches are generally referred to as interpretive and see the deviant as no different from other people .
The basic ideas of Labelling Theory:-
Marijuana Users – Becker 1963
Using Marijuana involves one in the process of learning appropriate behaviour
How to hold it, draw on it etc.
Because it is illegal it has to be done in secret
Users are therefore marginalised from the ‘straight’ world
If caught and prosectuted - could lead to losing jobs etc
Lemert says before being caught -this is primary deviance
- only a few know
After being caught - secondary deviance - this could lead to a ‘master’ status… ‘Addict’ .. ‘Druggy’ etc
Criticisms Of Labelling Theory
- why do some take drugs in the first place?
- Young (1971) drug users in Notting Hill were seen as dirty, lazy, idle scroungers by the Police who represented the establishment
Ken Plummer’s Defence Of Labelling Theory (1979)
Others fail to see that labelling is about examining social processes
- How labels are applied and their consequences etc
Power is not ignored - Becker says we need to look at who makes the rules and how labels are applied in different circumstances
Labelling theory never set out to be a universal explanation
Becker himself feels that it has become higher profiled than he meant it to be
Ethnomethodologists follow the interpretive line of looking at how deviant and criminal acts come to be defined as such.
Cicourel 1976 looked at juvenile deviants passing through the police and court systems in California. He referred to a ‘negotiation of justice’ process at each stage.
I.e. some were sent on to the next stage of the system while others were let off with warnings etc. He found that MC youths were more likely to be let off with cautions as the Police believed their parents would help to get them back on ‘the right track’
Atkinson 1978 found a similar process of negotiation going on when he looked at how coroners made decisions about whether to classify a death as suicide or not
Such research again shows that statistics in such areas need to be taken with care. They are social creations.
The Chivalry Factor
Some argue that women basically get away with more with the Police and the Courts. Mott 1983 found that females were more likely to only get cautions when men received more serious punishments for the same crime.
Heidensohn 1985 – gives reasons for women being ignored
Crime and deviance has been glamorised by male sociologists
Seen as an exciting area to study - captures the imagination - secret admiration for deviants
Male Dominance Of Sociology
Males dominate the subject and have monopolised this area
Less female crime so seen as less important
Most funding has been given to research on males
Stereotypical views of women
Place in the home, little girls are made of ‘sugar and spice’ etc.
Pat Carlen 1985– Female Criminality
Carlen et al carried out a study of 39 female prisoners aged 15-46 (mainly WC) who had carried out a range of offences including – theft, fraud, arson, burglary and violence.
Women who break the law come from all types of backgrounds
But those in prison (like men) are mainly from poorer socio-econ groups
The more women deviate from their ‘natural roles’ of good mothers etc - the more they are harshly treated by police and courts
Women are convicted more for prostitution
But same as men for shop lifting
Women do more theft - linked to poverty
More single women parents - theft is for others - children etc rather than for themselves (unlike men)