Assess the Usefulness of Labelling Theory When Explaining Crime and Deviance

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The labelling theory consists of the fact that external people for example higher middle class or forms of authority, labels other members in society as being criminals or being deviant. The labelling theory works like this: a form of authority or even common people instinctively have a stereotype or put certain members of society into certain categories therefore labelling people as being criminals or having deviant behaviour and therefore this makes the members of society being labelled, commit to a self fulfilling prophecy whereby they end up acting out what they have been pre-judged as. Interpretivists accept this concept is highly useful and valid as it is qualitative. However, positivists believe it is low in reliability and usefulness as data is not numerical and cannot be compared, or even that there is no data at all. Being a criminal or deviant could be seen to be a social construct and therefore this may mean that you could question what criminal activity is and whether this social construct is even right since it has been constructed by members of the society. The laws of the society have also constructed the norms and values of society and therefore if someone were to go against that they would be seen to be criminal however, this may differ in other parts of the world because what may be criminal and deviant in our society may be seen to be the norm in another. The labelling theory helps us to understand why people commit crimes and why people end up being deviant within the community. One reason may be that this stereotypical view or pre-judgement enables people to self-fulfil their prophecy and therefore creates criminal for example. Someone who comes from poor background and where’s hoodies does not automatically mean that they could be deviant. However, if society take a view on that child to look as if he could be socially deviant and
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