Explanation of Crime Assignment 1

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CMY3701 Assignment 1 Unique number: 722609 1. Discuss the contribution of Becker as an exponent of the labelling perspective. 1.1 Introduction The labelling perspective was developed by sociologist during the 1960’s and challenges our view of crime and criminal justice. Crime is a social process and it involves different perceptions of what is acceptable and what not within a society. The labelling theory see criminal behaviour as being defined by society, it therefore helps to explain why certain behaviour is considered to be negatively deviant to some people, groups and cultures however positively deviant to others. 1.2 Definition The labelling theory was fully developed in 1963 by Howard Becker and it is the view of deviance where a person can become a criminal when labelled as such by society and when they accept the label as a personal identity. The process of labelling is emphasised and deviance is not a state of being but is the outcome of social interaction. 1.3 The social response approach The social response approach focuses on the identity of the delinquents as being defined by society or those with power. In his work “Outsiders” Becker states that “no particular act is inherently deviant unless until a group with socially powerful statuses or position label it as such.” Becker’s contribution can be divided into three segments: • Labelling as a cause of crime • The process of labelling • The typology of deviants 1.3.1 Labelling as a cause of crime According to Becker while developing his theory, some behaviour is perceived as a violation against a society’s cultural norm. These norms are dictated what is acceptable and unacceptable across different cultures. Example in some cultures it is unacceptable for a women to wear trousers. The other behaviour is when someone violates a society’s formal laws from a minor traffic
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