• 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. Free essay

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

    For example the delinquents often express 'regret and remorse', but far from being delinquent, this group is casually are immersed in a pattern of illegal activity. They 'drift into deviant activities', for example there is a lot of spontaneity and impulsiveness in deviant actions.

  1. Assess Marxist theories of crime and deviance.

    Slavery benefits capitalists as then they do not have to pay them and so maximise their profits. In modernity, after the invention of machinery, slavery was no longer needed as machines are faster, do not require sleep or feeding and make more money.

  2. New Right Realism & New Left Realism. The realist approach to crime treats crime ...

    If this fails they believe stronger formal punishments are needed. They also do not accept that poverty is a cause of crime. They argue that when poverty was highest in the 1930's, crime rates were low. Durkheim suggests that at times of great social change, people may not follow collective

  1. subcultural theory

    However, The following quotation from Moore and Hendrey (1982) shows how Howard Parker (1974) successfully applied Miller's focal concerns in his study of working class lads, " a view from the boys". " Parker's study of the Liverpool gang provides a good illustration. The "Boys" as they call themselves, go for a night out.

  2. Critically assess the contribution of labelling theory to an understanding of crime and deviance

    Interactionists dispute the functionalist assumption that there was an agreement throughout society as to what behaviour is criminal or deviant. They aimed to find out why certain behaviour was labelled as criminal or deviant in some contexts but not in others.

  1. Outline and Assess Sociological Approaches to Social Control Within Crime and Deviance

    The punishment has therefore shifted from the body to the mind of the offender. The main agency responsible for the enforcement of social control in our society is the police force. They are the arm of the state, whose role it is to maintain public order and to enforce the law.

  2. describe four studies relating to crime and deviance - each from a different perspective. ...

    Cohen's (1955) study of delinquent subculture extends an insight into the reasons why some juveniles deviate from the generally accepted guidelines of society. Cohen was interested in the development of the delinquent subculture and its reasons for existence. He found that delinquency was more dominant in males situated in the

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