Crime and deviance Labelling theories of crime and deviance
Objectives • Identify and define why labelling theorist regard crime as socially constructed. • Identify and define the labelling process and its consequences for those who are labelled. • Apply and evaluate the strengths and limitations of the labelling theory in explaining crime and deviance.
The effects of labelling • Labelling theorist are interested in the effect of labelling upon those who are labelled. • They believe that by labelling certain people as criminal or deviant, society actually encourages them to become more so.
What is • In your notebook write down in your own words the definition for each of the terms below which can be found on page 82-83 of your course book. • Primary deviance - • Secondary deviance -
Jock Young • Used the concepts of secondary deviance and deviant career in his study of hippy marijuana users in Notting Hill (primary deviance), • Findings: • Persecution and labelling by the control culture (police) led to the hippies seeing themselves as outcast, • Being outsider promoted the use of drugs which brought further negative attention thus creating a self fulfilling prophecy, Can you think of a particular group in contemporary society to whom we could apply Jock Young findings ?
Deviance amplification • Read through the Deviance amplification section of your handout • Complete the activity on your handout
“If we do not take steps to preserve the purity of blood, the Jew will destroy civilisation by poisoning us all.” (Hitler, 1938) • “Surely if the human race is under threat, it is reasonable to segregate AIDS victims, otherwise the whole of man- - kind could be engulfed.” (Daily Star, 1988)
Moral Panics • “The more comfortable the language of anti-terrorism is to us, the more familiar the terrorist figure who haunts us, the more entrenched that seizure of our political imagination.” (Fortin)
Cohen’s research was a departure from traditional subcultural theory – his emphasis was on the reaction to the disturbances which took place in Clacton, Easter 1964. Cohen’s work deployed a synthesis of structural and labelling theories. • The amount of serious violence had been minimal. • Most young people who had gone to the seaside did not identify with either Mods or Rockers. • In short, the mass media had painted a distorted picture of events. • This set in process a ‘deviancy amplification spiral.’ As public concern was ratcheted up, the police became sensitised to the phenomena…
The police made more arrests, the media reported more deviance, more young people readily identified with the Mods and Rockers…the initial disproportionate response of various state and media control agencies generated more, not less ‘deviance.’ • Cohen went further; the media had created a moral panic; ‘a condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.’ These ‘folk devils’ constituted a threat to the prevailing social order.
Deviancy Amplification Spiral * ‘Law and public opinion stipulate that there are many ideas and opinions which are to be condemned as outside the pale of consensus.’ (Fowler, 1991) * ‘Deviancy amplification’ – Selective attention of crime control agencies, news and public concern on particular aspects of perceived and real increases in deviance = MORAL PANIC!!
So, ‘themedia, wittingly orunwittingly, reproduce the definitions of the powerful.’ (Eldridge, 1997) • ‘More moral panics will be generated and other, as yet nameless folk devils will be created. This is not because such developments have an inexorable inner logic, but because our society as presently structured will continue to generate problems for some of its members…and then condemn whatever solution these groups find.’ (Cohen, 1987)
Have a think ? Can you think of contemporary examples of moral panics ?
Labelling and criminal justice policy • Recent studies have showed how increase ion attempt to control and punish are having the opposite effect, • Triplett (2000) – notes an increasing tendency to see young offenders as evil and less tolerant of minor deviance, • CJS relabeling of status offences such as such as truancy as more serious offences has resulted in harsher sentences, • This has in turn resulted in an increase rather than decrease in offending amongst young people with levels of violence rising.
Labelling and criminal justice policy • De Haan (2000) notes a similar outcome to Triplett as a result of the increasing stigmatisation of young offenders, • These result show that the labelling theory has very serious implication when it comes to policy making, • Extreme rules and regualtions have a negative impact on offending figures thus logically we should make fewer rules for people to break, • Decriminalisation of soft drugs
Reintegrative shaming • John Braithwaite (1989) • Disintegrative shaming • Reintegrative shaming • Avoids stigmatisation of an offender as evil and encourages others to forgive them and accept them back
Evaluation of the labelling theory In groups using the flipchart paper how would you evaluate the labelling theory make sure that you justify your points .
Homework Page 85 of course book Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the view that crime and deviance are the product of labelling processes. Due Friday
Helpful Tips Write 5 top tips or golden rules about the topic for students taking the lesson next year. Develop with snowballing, group answers or posters etc.