• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess Interactionist theories of crime and deviance.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sociology Chad Walker Assess Interactionist theories of crime and deviance. In this essay I am going to assess Interactionists theories of crime and deviance such as Becker's labelling theory, theories of how agents of social control amplify deviance and assess how Interactionists influence social policy with evaluation. Interactionists study the effects that labelling has on people. They are critical of Right Wing theories such as the New Right, Right Realism and Functionalism as Right Wing theories claim that agents of social control, like the police, are unbiased, fair and just although Cicourel's study shows how police hold typifications which can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy. Interactionists have similar views to Marxists, believing that Right Wing theories are biased against the working class and believe that official statistics are invalid and reveal more information about the people compiling the data rather than the statistics themselves. Interactionism is a social action theory which opposes social structural theories held by Right Wing theories as it believes that people have free will - instead of passively reacting to society, people stop to interpret a situation before choosing how to act. ...read more.

Middle

Folk devils create a moral panic as society over reacts to a perceived problem and society's reaction amplifies the problem. Cohen uses the example of Margate in 1960 where a fight between two groups of teenagers took place. The disorder was minor yet the media exaggerated and distorted the event that made them both look like distinct subcultures which affected society's reaction to teenagers. The people of Margate then labelled them and caused these two subcultures to emerge, creating a self fulfilling prophecy. However, McRobbie and Thornton have criticised Cohen by saying that due to the large amount of coverage of social events in the media, moral panics have become routine and so have less of an effect. Interactionists have been criticised for their theories of moral panic as they do not explain why the media amplifies some problems and not others. Interactionism (being a social action theory) criticises social structural theories for being deterministic as it says people are passive when the social action theory can be criticised for being deterministic too as labels do not inadvertently lead to a self fulfilling prophecy. The moral panic theory implies that people are passive although it says they are not. ...read more.

Conclusion

Left and Right Realist theories criticise Interactionism for romanticising crime by excusing working class crimes and ignoring the seriousness of working class crime. The Marxist, Goulder also criticises Interactionism for it ignores the concept of power and says that Capitalists have the power to impose labels. Goulder criticises Becker's research of moral entrepreneurs as he says that people are either successful or unsuccessful in changing the law based on the amount of power they have. For example, factories continue to pollute the environment as they have economic leverage over the government. To conclude, Interactionist theories of crime and deviance can be criticised as they do not explain why some problems presented in the media are amplified and why some are not. The labelling theory is deterministic as it assumes that labels will lead to self fulfilling prophecies when studies have shown that this is not always the case. It ignores white collar crime, romanticises working class crime by excusing it and ignores the concept of power and those who have the power to impose labels. However, developments have acknowledged that the behaviour may come before the label but since the 1990s Right Realist theories have surpassed Interactionism in their influence over government policy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    The result is structural strain that produces deviance. Poor people are most likely to experience these strains because they internalise the same goals and values of the rest of society but have blocked opportunities for success. Thus, structural strain theory helps explain the moderately high correlation that exists between unemployment and crime.

  2. Outline and Assess Subcultural Theories of Crime and Deviance

    economic reasoning behind the crime, it must just be committed for the thrill. Cohen believed that lower-class boys wanted to excel middle-class values and aspirations, but lacked the means to obtain this success. This lead to a sense of personal failure and inadequacy, which Cohen called status frustration.

  1. The Strengths and Limitations of Left Realism and Right Realism Theories in Explaining Crime ...

    Only when these inequalities are addressed will crime be reduced. Young suggests, among other things, that by providing improved leisure facilities for young people, improving living standards for poorer households, and reducing unemployment, social inequalities can be dealt with and in turn, crime can successfully be reduced.

  2. Describe the concept of a 'Moral Panic' and explain how this may impact on ...

    Na�ve and terrified people then buy the newspapers, listen to the radio, and watch television programmes. They take everything in and see it as been the 'norm'. This is when the spiral continues and the police service gets involved. The police then have to be seen to be doing something

  1. Compare and Contrast the Main Sociological Theories of Deviance.

    They mainly base their ideas and theories on how the powerful people control the society which influences how the society works today. Marxists seems to believe that young working class males commit most crime mainly due to the media which reinforces ideas of materialism into people.

  2. Assess Marxist theories of crime and deviance.

    He found that only 1.5% of these had been prosecuted. This showed that even when the law applied, they were not enforced on capitalists. Marxists also show that even laws that appear to be made by the people, for the people, are in reality made by capitalists so that they can maintain their power and profit.

  1. Free essay

    Assess the view that crime and deviance is the result of labelling, the media ...

    These hippies were considered to have society in a moral panic. This is defined as events where people or groups are defined as a threat to social order. One other example of a moral panic can be explained by Stanley Cohen in his book 'Folk Devils and Moral Panics', which

  2. Assess the view that crime and deviance is the result of labelling, the media ...

    It also tends to be deterministic, implying that once someone is labelled, a deviant career is inevitable. It also goes on to fail to explain why people commit primary deviance in the first place, before they are labelled. So it implies that without labelling, deviance would not exist.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work