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Critically assess labelling theories contribution to the sociological understanding of crime and deviance. This question includes assessment of connections between crime and deviance and social theory.
The first 200 words of this essay...
Critically assess labelling theories contribution to the sociological understanding of crime and deviance. (40)
This question includes assessment of connections between crime and deviance and social theory.
Becker is the main sociologist studying labelling theory on deviance, he argues that 'social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance.' Meaning acts only become deviant when observers perceive it and define it as deviant. An example of this would be the act of nudity, it is accepted in the bedroom between husband and wife or on a nudist camp, but when a stranger was to enter the bedroom, or someone was to streak across a sporting event, others would usually see this as deviant, and this deviancy would become a label on the individual.
Several factors affect what the audience would perceive as deviant, such things as, who commits the act; when and where it is committed; who observes the act; and negotiations between those in the act.
It is often those who respond to the acts who label the act deviant rather than the behaviour of the individual. To stress this, Becker uses the example of a brawl between youngsters, in a working-class
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