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Labeling Theory/Symbolic interactionism (week 9).docx

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SOCY 275
Stacey Alerie

Labeling Theory  How crime and deviance are responded to  How individuals are labelled  Affect of labels on behaviour  Focus on o Instructional response o Formal response to individual, o Social response o Informal response  Public meaning o What happens when deviance occurs in social life and receives a response formally and informally  How deviants are responded  Social response, what response means Assumptions  Human nature was passive o Passive beings forced into being a criminal by reaction of others and societal definition of engaging in crime , o Doesn't not seek explanation for causes of crime. o Does not guarantee label will occur  Label does not determine future behaviour  Social reaction and labeling has influence and we are influenced by how others think about us, we still have say in how we interpret that label  Nature of society o See society as lacking consensus, o Conflict based approach, o Social norms and crime are socially constructed,  Relativist idea, o Law tends to benefit economic and social power and penalizes those who are powerless.  Probability of being brought under control of criminal justice system becomes a function of wealth and status.  How you fit into society.  Eg minorities being arrested, lower class.  Brought upon formal control agents, prisons, cops,  Nature of crime o Nothing inherently harmful o Crime are acts that are defined as crimes, requires social reaction, interpretation.  Things are bad because of reactions and labels o Labels occur because of reaction o Trapped within deviant identity  How can response deter crime  Crime can increase by our reaction of crime Symbolic Interactionism  Focuses on individual levels of interaction,  Opposed to group interaction or position in social structure  Describe the little social worlds that form a society  Relationships, social interactions, formulates meaning for people o Impacts people and how they would react in certain situations based on their experience o An approach that focuses on interactions through which people accomplish social situations and define deviance  Different meanings for different situations, how it impacts those people  Popular in 1960 Charles Horton Cooley Looking Glass Self  Understanding ourselves is a reflection of our perceptions of how others react to us  We see ourselves how we think others see us  How we think, feel and react are shaped by social interactions of others and how others perceive us  Begins at moment of birth, verbal and nonverbal communication  Different situations, different people, different interactions that dictate how we understand and how we should behave. Eg. Texting in class vs texting at home Self Fulfilling Prophecy-  Social reaction that label us as delinquent can be a cause of further deviance  Self concept is a reflection of how others think about us, o We believe we are criminals because others labeled us Edwin Lemert  Primary deviation o Occasional or situational behaviour that can be excused or rationalized by person or audience. o Personally is generally a good person.  Secondary deviation o Part of everyday life, process, label, not by a single act. o Result of societal response to behaviour, process of deviation and response which leads to labeled. o Person cannot escape label. o Individual begins to see themselves as label. o Deviant event comes to attention to those with power to label who can apply negative label. o Person starts to take on that label, rearranges life, behaviour around consequences of deviant act. o Resocialization. Process.  Can produce deviance amplification o Amplifying the situation, problem, label. o Become trapped in identity. o Escalating cycle of new behaviour, attitudes, identity is transformed Howard Becker Labeling perspective, Interactionism theory  Interaction between deviant act and those who respond to it  Social change, questioning of authority - context  All research previously of criminals was too diverse o Included innocent people who were wrongfully comm
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