Assess the View That Crime and Deviance Are the Products of Labelling Processes. Essay

861 WordsMay 14, 20154 Pages
Assess the view that crime and deviance are the products of labelling processes. Crime is an illegal act that is punishable by law such as stealing and deviance is an act which goes against society’s norms and values such as talking loudly in a library. Interactionists like Becker argue that Crime and Deviance is socially constructed and is therefore a product id labelling. However not al sociologists hold the same view. Becker argued that it is not a certain behaviour or act that is deviant but it is how we react to it that makes it deviant. Therefore ‘deviance’ is a relative concept as there is no fix agreement on what they mean For example homosexuality was labelled deviant and illegal in the past but now the same behaviour is acceptable. Becker famously said “a deviant is simply someone to whom the label has been successfully applied” therefore crime and deviance are the product of the labelling processes. However some sociologist point out that this argument implies that deviancy wouldn’t exist without labelling however sociologist Cohen argues that crime and deviance will exist from when there is status frustration. Cohen argues that Working class boys are often at the bottom of the status hierarchy because of failing the opportunity structure of education and the inability to get a good job. He argues that due to this they feel alienated from main stream society and therefore join like-minded males and invert society’s norms and values. For example steal as they know it’s against society’s norms and values. Cohen stresses that this is all because they are suffering from status frustration as their opportunities are blocked hence why they consequently reject middle class values by forming a delinquent subculture. Therefore in Cohen’s opinion crime and deviance is the product of status frustration. Nevertheless, Becker still stresses that the social

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