Labeling Theory Essay

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Labeling theory involving Gangs There is a separation that is prevalent in today’s society between the rich and the poor. People who are born rich are able to commit crimes and avoid the punishment that follows, while the poor must face full punishment of the law and have few if any rights when it comes to formal sanctions of law enforcement. When you think of a gang more than likely, you do not think of a large group of close friends but rather a group of people who are menaces to society who carry guns, sell drugs, and cause havoc and violence in many different types of neighborhood’s. This is why we will investigate in further detail the labels that are placed on gangs using labeling theory and the effects it has on their social interactions. A sociologist by the name of Walter Miller did a study where he interviewed law enforcement personnel and social service professionals who dealt with youth gangs. He found that many of the officers’s agreed that most youth gang members came from broken homes and joined gangs in order to be accepted and be a part of a family. Many youth are fascinated with gang life because it allows them to make their own decisions and make their own rules. They no longer have any regard for authority and develop into “deviant” criminals. Gangs use objects, symbols, or tattoos to signify the importance of their association. Society creates deviants through a labeling theory perspective. When we label something or someone we see them much differently and we tend to prejudge before giving the person a chance to defend themselves. A prime example of the power of labeling involves the essay “The Saints and The Roughnecks” here you have two different social groups who are labeled completely different even though there deviant actions are much the same. The saints are described as the rich, well mannered, and well dressed group of people who

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