CRIM 104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Execution By Firing Squad, Erving Goffman, Social Inequality

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LABELING THEORY
-roots in Symbolic Interactionism
-university of Chicago
-by W.I. Thomas, George Herbert mead and Charles Horton Cooley
-Symbolic Interactionism is about development of identity, self-image and self-
concept
-favorable and unfavorable responses from others in society would contribute to
development of self image
-events can have different meanings for different people with different
experiences
-meaning and conception of self arise through social interaction
-most theorists associated with labeling perspective and the sociology of deviance were
influenced by symbolic interactionism of Chicago School Theorists
-emerged and became the predominant explanation of crime and deviance during 1960s
-growing concerns about racial discrimination, social inequality and civil rights
-emergence of diversion programs aimed at preventing juveniles from being stigmatized
-concern about labeling as a “self fulfilling prophecy
-labeling perspective argues that once an individual is labeled as deviant, this becomes their
master status which in turn becomes a self fulfilling prophecy
-crime and deviance are socially constructed i.e. social groups make up rules and then apply
them to individuals who come to be regarded as outsiders
-For those rules to be enforced, there must be social groups who assume the role of
whistleblowers, claims makers, moral crusaders or moral entrepreneurs – they demand that
action be taken against those whom they perceive to be deviant
-People who label has more power where as people who are labeled are powerless
-labeling theory is a type of conflict and process theory; powerful interest groups defining what
will be regarded as deviant and deciding who will be subjected to social control, and describes
procedure through which individuals become criminals
FRANK TANNENBAUM
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-credited for the birth of labeling theory
-wrote “Crime and Community” 1938
-talked about “the dramatization of evil” and a “tag” being applied to identify child as delinquent
-argued that as a consequence, child might change own self image or others might come to
regard child as a delinquent
-an arrest means the delinquent is singled out for special treatment, precipitating series of events
including exposure to criminal institutions
EDWIN LEMERT
-wrote “social pathology” in 1951 where he distinguished primary and secondary deviance
-individuals may engage in primary deviance without seeing their behavior as deviant or
abnormal
Primary Deviance
-offender might not see it as deviant
-might rationalize their behavior or see it as socially acceptable
Secondary Deviance
-caused by responses of others to primary deviance
-develop a “deviant self concept”
KAI ERIKSON
-foremost thinker in sociology of deviance and the labeling perspective
-studied at university of Chicago, influenced by symbolic interactionism
INFLUENCE OF SYMOBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
- influenced by symbolic interactionism; George Herbert Mead and Charles Horton
Cooley
-Charles Horton Cooley talked about “the looking-glass self”; our ability to see ourselves
as other sees us
-George Herbert Mead talked about “the social self; how meaning was created during
process of social interaction – through sharing of commonly understood symbols and
gestures
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-also influenced by Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel
-Erving Goffman wrote about the spoiled social identity that resulted from
stigmatization and how individuals attempted to cope with this spoiled identity
-Garfunkel wrote about status degradation ceremonies which function as
outlets for expression of moral indignation and as forum for public denunciation
and shaming
-MOST influenced by Durkheim’s view on what is normal and what is pathological
-crime functioned to maintain social cohesion, by bring individuals together
through their sense of moral outrage
-crime helped the community to set boundaries, defining what was socially
acceptable
NOTES ON THE SOCIOLOGY OF DEVIANCE
-the title of an article by Erikson 1962
-argues that deviance functions to promote conformity and demarcate social boundaries
-like Garfunkel, Erikson talks about status degradation ceremonies, starting with
confrontation between deviant and community, followed by judgment and ending with
some disposition or placement
-like Goffman, Erikson remarks on stigmatization(labeling) that occurs at status
degradation ceremonies and adds that no similar process exist for removal of stigma
(spoiled identity)
DEVIANCE IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED
-argues that deviance is not a property that is inherent in a type of behavior; it is a
property that is conferred upon that behavior by other people
-people ending being labeled as a result of their actions
-points out that not all deviant act are necessarily harmful to the community
-declaring that individuals are deviant helps to maintain community’s symbolic
boundaries
-used the Puritans as example
WAYWARD PURITANS
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