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The labeling perspective presents us with a whole new idea of crime.

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Introduction

"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 successfully been applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label." 1 The labeling perspective presents us with a whole new idea of crime. The approach is much more sociological and is concerned with the reaction of society towards certain behaviour. It tries to break away from the common sense approach in which we see crime legal rules which can not be broken. Becker presents us with the idea that this approach is completely subjective and that in some areas of society it is permitted to break these rules whilst in others it is deemed totally unacceptable. Labelling perspective focuses on the reaction of other people and the subsequent effects of those reactions which create deviance. From this point of view, criminal acts themselves are not significant; it is the social reaction to them that are. The basic principal of the labeling perspective stems from the Marxist position in the sense that it sees criminal behaviour as being defined by society. ...read more.

Middle

In his studies Becker also noted some similar conclusions and found that the drug was prohibited in the USA because it was convenient for the bureaucratic interests of the country.10 Sam Cohen also uses real life scenarios to portray society's influence upon the subcultures. More specifically he uses the case of the Mods and Rockers riots where the press coverage of the first meeting of the gangs added to a police presence had the effect of creating a spiral, whereby the media coverage created 'moral panic' which only resulted in more violence.11 These notions are important to the study and understanding of crime and seem not to have been given their true importance by Ackers and others who have questioned their usefulness. In 'The New Criminology'12 Taylor, Walton and Young offer an interesting reassessment of crime theory. They try to highlight the ineffectiveness of 'Beckers methodological assumptions'.13 Whilst the studies and theories considered in this essay tend to look towards labellings true presence in society, Taylor, Walton and Young try and question whether there is enough scientific evidence of the existence of such a theory. They start off by agreeing with Ackers and state 'just because a person defines a situation as real does not mean that we always act out their definitions'14 in other words they are of the opinion that the labeling perspective relies too much on psychological assumptions and is therefore too deterministic in nature. ...read more.

Conclusion

processes that an individual goes through during his evolution from being a 'normal' member of society to being labelled a deviant and cast as an outsider. 1 Howard Becker, Outsiders. 2 Roger Hopkins Burke, An Introduction to Criminological Theory. 3 Roger Hopkins Burke, An Introduction to Criminological Theory 4 Edwin M Lemert, human deviance, social problems, and social control. 5 Ackers, R L (1973) Deviant Behaviour: A Social Learning Approach:Wadsworth Publishing 6 Ackers, R L (1973) Deviant Behaviour: A Social Learning Approach:Wadsworth Publishing 7 Goffman, E (1961) Asylums Penguin Books Limited 8 Goffman, E (1961) Asylums Penguin Books Limited 9 Young, J (1971) Nottingham Trent Module Pack 10 Howard Becker, Outsiders 11 Cohen, S (1972) Moral panics and folk devils: MacGibbon & Kee 12 Taylor, Walton & Young (1973) The New Criminology: Routledge & Kegan Paul 13 Taylor, Walton & Young (1973) The New Criminology: Routledge & Kegan Paul 14 Taylor, Walton & Young (1973) The New Criminology: Routledge & Kegan Paul 15 Taylor, Walton & Young (1973) The New Criminology: Routledge & Kegan Paul 16 Edwin M Lemert, human deviance, social problems, and social control. 17 Williams, K. textbook on criminology, 5th ed. 18 Howard Becker, Labelling Theory Reconsidered, Deviance and Social Control 19 Simon Holdaway, Crime and Deviance. 20 Williams, K. textbook on criminology, 5th ed ...read more.

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