Labeling Theory Criminology

661 Words3 Pages
Everyone in the world has a distinct and personal perception of what is in their world and how they relate to it. Many people in society see themselves as being very separate to everything else and ones perception of things, acts, events and circumstances gives them a unique view and opinion of such things. Society tends to band together due to having like minded opinions and views as to how one should act and how one should interact in a given society, those who break the norms are considered different. Society has formed stereotypes to describe how a group of people chooses to live their lives in many different specific ways. People judge other people due to their dress, their skin color, the way they talk, their hair style or the music they listen to and gather these individuals into a view called a stereotype. People who differ from the majority in any given society are deemed different and are viewed that way by the majority of a society. Labeling Theory deals with this notion of stereotypes as it relates to a societies definition of deviance. "Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label." – Howard Becker, 1963. Labeling theory has its roots in Emile Durkheims studies into suicide where he expressed the view that deviance and crime is not so much about a specific violation of a penal code but more of an act that differs exceptionally from the social norm. Many people are labeled deviant even if they have not broken a specific law or even committed a crime. Society generally labels an individual as deviant if they differ from the social norms in appearance or behavior. Deviant acts not only change the way a

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