Labelling theory was developed by Howard Becker, and is primarily concerned with societal reaction to crime; thus straying away from the deviant act and instead looking more closely at how and why certain people become defined as deviant. It suggests deviance is not an inherent act, but instead the result of people negatively labelling those that deviate from the norm. Edwin Lemert put forward a typology of deviance, extremely relevant in terms of highlighting labelling theory. He suggested Primary Deviance was a simple deviant act, not as a result of a label, but instead may result in a label. And Secondary Deviance, he suggested, was the idea criminality is a response to being labelled as deviant.
This is the main question asked in control theories. “Rather than asking the typical criminological question, “What makes people criminal?” these theorists share a conviction that deviant behavior is to be expected. What must be explained, they say, is “why people obey rules” (Williams & McShane, 2010, p. ). What I’ve understood from all of this is that society has placed certain constraints and rules upon each citizen and we are to live our lives according to said rules. When we break or deviate from any rule, no matter how minor it is, then we are committing acts of criminal behavior.
Sutherland’s differential association theory imputes the cause of crime to intimate social contacts and learnt behaviour (Bernard, et al., 2010 p.180). Sutherland made criminologists aware of “white collar criminals” by introducing the term and by making society aware of middle and high class criminals and crimes (Sutherland, 1983). When Sutherland originally attempted to publish his book on white collar crime the Indiana University and Dryden (who the f is Dryden?) demanded the removal of names from his book, due to possible backlash it would cause and alienation of the wealthy businesses who contributed to the university (Sutherland, 1983). His book was eventually published in 1949 without the names of companies he accused of committing criminal behaviour (Sutherland, 1983).
Like the item says, 'functionalist sociologists focus on how far individuals accept the norms and values of society.' Durkheim blames people not being fully integrated into society’s norms and values as to why they commit crime. So he said once people have served their time for their crime, they should be reintegrated. It’s a strength that Durkheim suggests them being reintegrated as it means they’re less likely to reoffend if they feel they belong to their society and do not look for status through crime. However, interactionists would say that agents of social control cause crime, not the society you are in.
Give a short overview of numbers one, two and three of Sutherland’s fundamental principles of differential association. Introduction: Differential association is a theory of criminal and delinquent behaviour developed in the 1930s by American sociologist and professor Edwin Sutherland. He established the idea of the “self” as a social construct, as when a person’s self-image is continuously being reconstructed, especially when interacting with other people. Sutherland argued that crime was a result of environmental influences on people who are biologically and psychologically normal and the theory focuses on how individuals learn to become criminals but not with why they become criminals. Definitions: According to Wikipedia (retrieved March 04, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_association), “Differential association” is a theory that proposes that through interaction with others, individuals can learn the values, attitudes, techniques and motives for criminal behaviour.
The first explorations of deviance and crime was done by Durkheim who identified two different sides of crime for the functioning of society: positive and negative. According to Durkheim, crime was necessary for society. He argued that the basis of society was a set of shared values that guide our actions, which he named the collective conscience. The collective conscience provides boundarie which distinguishes between actions that are acceptable and those that are not. The problem for any society is that these boundaries are unclear and change over time.
Anomie theory provides an explanation of the concentration of crime. The theory leans on one founder of sociology, Emile Durkheim, who used the term to describe the lack of social regulation as one manner that could evaluate higher suicide rates. Durkheim stated that he observed that social periods of disruption brought about greater anomie and higher rates of crime, suicide, and deviance. Some people may lose sight of what is socially acceptable and have difficulty in dealing with society. This theory is also sociological in its emphasis on the role of social forces in creating deviance.
Introductory Criminology Assignment Semester 1 2009/2010 Rhian Williams ‘Our crime problem is socially constructed’ Discuss This essay will look at different theories with regards to crime being socially constructed. It will discuss what makes a crime and how it is different from deviance. Theories such as Howard Becker’s labelling theory and Robert Merton’s adaption of Emile Durkheim’s anomie theory will be discussed to show that society plays a major role in constructing crime. It will also briefly discuss examples of acts that used to be criminal and illegal but now are widely accepted within society as part of socialization. Crime is defined as “an act prohibited and punished by law” (Collins, 2006) but there has been much debate about what ‘crime’ is.
Whereas, Marxists believe that capitalism creates potential criminals. Functionalists believe that all crimes are functional and has both positive and negative effects to society. Durkheim, French sociologist, hold beliefs that “too much crime or deviance constitutes to a threat, too little is unhealthy”. The three main positives are that it reaffirms boundaries by the public degradation ceremonies such as criminal trails to remind everyone of social norms and to reinforce society’s toleration to deviance. Another positive is that crimes change values, when someone is prosecuted it results in public outcry which triggers sympathy, this changes values in society.
Symbolic Interaction Theory The symbolic interaction perspective, also called symbolic interactionism, is a major framework of sociological theory. This perspective relies on the symbolic meaning that people develop and rely upon in the process of social interaction. Although symbolic interactionism traces its origins to Max Weber's assertion that individuals act according to their interpretation of the meaning of their world, the American philosopher George Herbert Mead introduced this perspective to American sociology in the 1920s. Symbolic interaction theory analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on objects, events, and behaviors. Subjective meanings are given primacy because it is believe that people behave based on what they believe and not just on what is objectively true.