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What contribution has Labelling Theory made to our understanding of crime and deviancy and what are the policy implications of

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What contribution has Labelling Theory made to our understanding of crime and deviancy and what are the policy implications of its argument? We can call a label, or define it as; a mark, name, or even badge. Something is only deviant, or becomes deviant because someone has been successful in labelling it as, deviancy is ambiguous, definitions differ from society to society or even culture to culture. Calling something deviant is a reaction to a type of behaviour. The labelling theory is very complex, it asks why some people committing crimes are named deviant but others are not. Labelling theorists believe when you label offenders as criminals, yobs, this has negative consequences, deepening and worsening the criminal behaviour. ...read more.


The effects on the Individual of labelling are especially important. Having being labelled, as a deviant, the individual according to Becker, then will accept the label, and for example turn to the life of crime, possibly with the help of a deviant subculture, feeling they have no other alternative. The last part of the labelling theory is,' deviant career', this being when the labelled criminal evolves into a complete, absolute deviant. Kai T Erikson (1966) also highlights the way social reaction affects the individual, he supports and reinforces what Becker suggests, he further suggests that deviance in a society is essential, and is beneficial for creating a boundary between good and evil. Furthermore there are a number of policy implications to do with the labelling theory, a vast majority of them are impractical, such as the ...read more.


Labelling theory helps us make sense of crime and deviancy, but it doesn't explain serious offending well, it tends to ignore those serious offences, hence cannot be applied universally. Also it assumes that those labelled do not want the label, whereas a number do, such as terrorists for example who strive for the label. In conclusion labelling theory proposed by Becker (1963) suggests that no behaviour is deviant, criminal, until it is defined or labelled as. By labelling someone, this can be seen to influence actions. As stated before there are many policy implications including, prosecution as a last resort, also law intruding into peoples lives as little as possible. Labelling theory has become a dominant approach in the explanation of crime and deviance, therefore has aided our understanding of the subject greatly, with both positive and negative aspects. WORD COUNT - 542 ?? ?? ?? ?? Ema Olivea K0425678 MODULE CODE CM1118 1 ...read more.

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