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Compare and evaluate Subcultural theory and labelling theory

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Introduction

Compare and evaluate Subcultural theory and labelling theory And their perspectives on crime and deviance. What makes people commit crime or deviance can be analyzed in many different ways, sociologists for many years have came up with many theories that they believe fits patterns of crime and deviance, the two that I am going to compare and discuss are the Subcultural theory and the labelling theory. I will discuss each theory individually then I will compare them to each other to see what similarities they have to each other and if they contradict each other also if they differ, and also see if either of them actually work or play any relevance on today's society. Subcultural theory Albert Cohen in 1955, first developed the Subcultural theory of working class crime and deviance, he took his research from investigating delinquent gangs in low income, inner city areas. Merton had previously wrote an article called, 'Social structure and Anomie', this concluded that people look towards developing a sense of the norm, of gaining the 'the American dream', but find that this is hard to reach with their own norms, so they reach a state of Anomie, a sense of normlessness where anything goes, they take on the attitudes and views of other people to gain 'the American dream' this making them feel Anomie. Cohen agreed with Merton that people's mainstream value of gaining success creates many problems for young working class males; many of them do not achieve well at school and therefore do not gain the skills and qualifications that they need to achieve success. ...read more.

Middle

Labelling Theory The labelling theory is an ideology of Howard Becker (1963); he says that people only become deviants because that is the label that society has placed on them his statement has been frequently used because it represents a change in sociology, a new approach within the sociology of crime and deviance, 'Social groups create deviance by making rules whose Infraction constitutes deviance and by applying those rules To particular people and labelling them as outsiders. From this point of view, deviance is not a quality Of the act the person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an "offender". The deviant is one to whom that label has been applied; Deviant behaviour is behaviour That people so label.' (Howard Becker 1963) Becker's labelling theory takes the problem away from the deviant and puts it on the agencies of social control, they label a child as a delinquent this is enforced on them throughout schooling and carries on, and it forms the impression in the mind of the person that he/she is a delinquent. So how does the labelling theory define deviance? Society as a whole make the rules, deviant behaviour is therefore someone who disregards these rules. The labelling theory realises that certain acts labelled as deviant are more than likely to be carried out by certain types of people, if you take an example say the police, they tend to stop the target specific groups, studies have shown that these are mainly unemployed young men who are from discriminated against ethnic minorities. ...read more.

Conclusion

Cicourel's (1976) study of police and probation officers was done many years ago, and I feel that this is now out of date and that this does not happen in today's society, with continues calls for equal opportunities this is something that has been eradicated and that the majority of people whom are arrested are treated in the same manner with the same consequences. The criminal subculture is one area that is always going to be hard to tackle, this is where children are more than likely to have been brought up in an area where there is high levels of violence or criminal activity, this needs to be addressed by the police mainly and society as a whole, although I understand that this is a hard pattern to break, some people do not wish to break their patterns of a life time, but they need to be shown what impact it is having on their own children and how it will impact their life chances and prospect of their future. I also believe that the government needs to be looking at this type of subculture and make the approach to help the police by bringing in some form of re-educating the adults. This subculture is something that I feel has been around for years and will take more years to stop. Both theories I feel play relevance to today's societies and will continue for many years to come. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nicci Waterfield Sociology 1 03/01/2008 ...read more.

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