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Labeling Theory. Review of “Classic” Labeling Reintegrative Shaming Defiance Theory . The Classic Labeling Process. Formal Sanctions Degradation ceremony Stigmatizing. Change in Self-Concept looking glass self hard to resist formal label. Primary Deviance Most engage in this

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labeling theory

Labeling Theory

Review of “Classic” Labeling

Reintegrative Shaming

Defiance Theory

the classic labeling process
The Classic Labeling Process
  • Formal Sanctions
  • Degradation ceremony
  • Stigmatizing
  • Change in Self-Concept
  • looking glass self
  • hard to resist formal label
  • Primary Deviance
  • Most engage in this
  • Typically sporadic, not serious
  • Secondary Deviance
  • Caused by new self-image as criminal or deviant
criticisms of labeling
Criticisms of Labeling

1. Typically history of antisocial behavior prior to formal labeling

  • Society doesn’t “identify, tag, and sanction individuals as deviant in a vacuum.”

2. Controlling initial levels of deviance, formal sanctions have little (no?) effect.

3. No “negotiation,” obsession with “formal” sanctions...

john braithwaite
John Braithwaite
  • Austrailian Criminologist
  • Crime, Shame, and Reintegration
  • Pretty complex theory (Not parsimonious)
    • BUT, Central concepts are not that complex
      • Reintegrative Shaming vs. Stigmatization
      • Interdependency
      • Communitarianism
what is shaming
What is “shaming?”
  • Behaviors (from others) that induce guilt, shame
    • snide comment, verbal confrontations
    • stocks/pillory, the “scarlet letter”
    • Naval tradition of “captains mask”
  • In Western society, shaming has become uncoupled from formal punishment
    • Offenders privately sent away to warehouses by corrections or court “officials”
braithwaite ii
Braithwaite II
  • Interdependency
    • “attachment” with social others (indirect control at micro level)
  • Communitarianism
    • similar to “collective efficacy” (control at macro)
  • In communities that lack collective efficacy, and among people who are less bonded, stigmatizing punishment is likely.
types of shaming
Types of “Shaming”
  • Reintegrative
    • Love the sinner, hate the sin
    • Spank the child, but tell them that you still love them
  • Stigmatizing
    • no effort made to reconcile the offender with the community
    • offender as outcast, “criminal” as master status
    • degradation ceremonies not followed by ceremonies to “decertify” deviance
examples of shaming
Examples of Shaming
  • Stigmatizing
    • United States
    • Court, prison, etc. (remove and shun from community)
  • Reintegrative
    • Japan
    • Ceremonies to shame and welcome back
the model
The Model





  • Type of Punishment
  • Reintegrative Shaming
  • Stigmatizing

Legitimate Opportunities

Criminal Subculture

High Crime

evidence for reintegrative shaming
Evidence for Reintegrative Shaming?
  • Japan vs. U.S. crime rates
    • Since WWII, Japan U.S.(others)
  • Why?
    • High Interdependency and Communitarianism
    • Reintegrative Shaming emphasized
    • Community has duty to shame and welcome back transgressors
implications of braithwaite
Implications of Braithwaite?
  • Restorative Justice
    • Emphasis on “repairing harm”
      • Punishment alone is not effective in changing behavior and is disruptive to community harmony and good relationships
      • Restitution as a means of restoring both parties; goal of reconciliation and restoration
    • Community involvement
      • Crime control the domain of the community
      • Community as facilitator in restorative process
      • Crime has social dimensions of responsibility
      • Victims are central to the process of resolving a crime
lawrence sherman defiance theory
Lawrence Sherman “Defiance Theory”
  • Defiance
    • “the net increase in the prevalence, incidence, or seriousness of the future offending against a sanctioning community caused by a proud, shameless reaction to the administration of a criminal sanction.”
what causes defiance
What causes defiance?
  • Sanctions are defined as “unfair”
    • Sanctioning agent behaves with disrespect for the offender or his/her group
    • The sanction is actually unfair (discriminatory, excessive, undeserved)
  • Offender is poorly bonded to sanctioning agent or community
  • Offenders defines sanctioning as stigmatizing (reject the person)
  • Offenders denies or refuses to