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Mar. 12-14-16.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2700
Scott Brandon

th Mar. 12 - Some ideas of labelling theory o Rejects objectivity  Different rules to crimes based on circumstances  Ex: Murder is wrong however there are different types -- murder with the intent to kill or murder in self-defence  first, second, third degree murder or manslaughter o Deviance is relative  Notions of right and wrong, legal and illegal, socially acceptable and socially unacceptable -- notion of these things changes over time o Deviance is a process  In the eye of the beholder - concept of deviance changes over time  Ex: Adultery used to be extremely unacceptable, illegal in some places, punishable action but now it's something that is frowned upon but not extremely punishable for o Selective targeting of deviants  Wealth, prestige, etc. determine if you are labelled as deviant  Ex: squeegee kids in Toronto o Societal reaction over act of offender  Criminal acts are often viewed negatively in society’s view as well  Key to whether labelling theory works  if society does not react to a crime, it will become allowed/legal  Ex: adultery o Natural history of deviance definitions - Is deviance universal? o Some behaviours have universal acceptance and rejection o Universal examples:  Incest: medical issues, illegal  Murder: unlawful killing of another person -- intent of murder, first or second degree  Theft: creates issue of trust  Child abuse: older males or females having sex with younger children is illegal and socially unacceptable o Labelling theory: look at culture and why the act is morally offensive  Reject the fact that labelling theory is universal - What do labelling theorists study? o History  History becomes a component as to why certain acts are morally offensive or socially rejected  Why now is this act deviant when it was perfectly acceptable in the past? o Application of labels  Alleged  stigma o Consequences of labelling process  What are the various consequences for those who are labelled as deviant?  What do they experience by being labelled deviant, criminal, etc?  Media makes people appear deviant even if it's only alleged  People believe what they see in the media before any actual evidence is presented - Assumption of the labelling theory o Stigma  Ex: people released from jail are viewed as “having something wrong” or “doing something terrible” - How did labelling theory originate? o Rejection of positivism o Rise of Chicago School of Sociology  Went out and asked deviants what it's like to have that label?  Ex: Prostitutes, drug dealers, etc.  Various groups of society decide something is deviant and that is what becomes the norm in society  Found it was damaging to groups and individuals with label o Rise of ethnography o Meanings of “official statistics” - Founders: Edwin Lemert and Howard S. Becker - Lemert: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Deviance o Primary: trouble and accommodation  Troublesome behaviours that someone would engage in  Ex: prescription drug abuse, fraud, etc.  Have not yet been caught  No long-term labeling of individual that engaged in behaviour o Secondary: deviance amplification  Caught for norm violation and crime  Deviant identity is taken on by the person o Ex: Someone who is a drug addict is caught by family so they have an intervention  Medical professionals may be involved  Now labelled: e.g. Alcoholic, drug addict, criminal embezzler o Most damage is done to person’s identity o Public knows that this person has gone through the system and is a criminal, addict, deviant individual o Tertiary: deviant response  Labelling  social stigma = negative view, job loss, etc.  Response to stigma  Lose housing; lose contact with family and friends, etc.  Movie "After Stonewall" is a good example of deviant response - Differences between primary, secondary, and tertiary deviation o Primary: short-term  a week or a month may be known for doing something deviant  Someone could be locked into act for long period of time without being caught o Secondary: labeled/embrace identity  Ex: "Hell's Angels" -- have lawyers to represent group, name and logo copyrighted  Can occur over a long time (cold case, etc.) or short time (eye witnesses, surveillance, etc.) o Tertiary: react to labelling process either negatively or positively  E.g. Hell's Angels -- ride motorcycles and embrace identity of their gang - Howard S. Becker o Definition of deviance  Focused on societal reaction  Deviance is created by society…  Becker’s definition of deviance will be posted on CourseLink o Ideas about deviance  Define things that are offensive and then apply them to society  Ex: MADD - "Mothers Against Drunk Driving"  created strict laws against drinking and driving o Drinking and driving is now illegal and punishable o Not every rule breaker gets labeled
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