To What Extent Is Deviance Socially Constructed

1499 Words6 Pages
To what extent is deviance socially constructed. Deviance is a social process, defining an act as deviant is to be somewhat describe behaviour at ‘anti-social’. Deviance is not a given act; it is conferred upon an act. It is a process and occurs over time, it involves a number of interactions-the deviant is stopped, interrogated, charged and sentenced. Statistics show that certain types of people are much more likely to be given a deviant label. In turn, this influences individual and group behaviour. Labelling suggests that such people are not more deviant than us, but are more likely to be labelled as deviant. Labelling theorists do not accept that statistics reveal the true extent of crime. This can be seen as the ‘dark figure’. These theorists object that statistics are not unbiased/objective, but are socially constructed. As such statistics tell us more about the compliers than they do about the activities of criminals. Consequently, labelling theorists tend to use participant observation or in-depth interviews as the preferred research method. Labelling theory asks us to question the opinions of experts, to not take their opinions for granted. We need to consider who defines what is deviant. Internationalists argue that human action is creative. We create our roles in relation to and adapt to others. Normality is negotiated. Labelling further argues, that in some situations people cannot negotiate a label, but are forced to accept the label that others give them. We all use labels to categorise people, situations and objects. Social groups create social order by enforcing standards of what is considered normal, and there comes into being a sort of ready reckoner system of labels to describe those who veer from the standard. The criminally deviant carried one set, but so do the physically ‘different; the mentally ‘different’ and so on. These labels
Open Document