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In the 1970s, Jock Young carried out research into labelling and marijuana users, He suggested that police reaction to marijuana users can 'fundamentally alter and transform the social world of the marijuana smoker'.

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Introduction

Research Proposal Research Hypothesis In the 1970s, Jock Young carried out research into labelling and marijuana users, He suggested that police reaction to marijuana users can 'fundamentally alter and transform the social world of the marijuana smoker'. In response to this, and in light of the recent debate concerning the legislation of cannabis, I intend to look at the acceptance of drug use within different cultures, and investigate how these varying levels of acceptance can affect both the drug user and the culture or society within which they reside. 85 words Sociological Context and Concepts This proposal is a partial reworking of Jock Young's study of marijuana users in London, 1971, where he showed how police reaction to 'hippy' marijuana users affected the way in which the drug users behave. This is related to Howard Becker's labelling theory (1963) which suggests that the way observers 'label' an individual or a group of people can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby 'the deviant identification becomes the controlling one'. In simplistic terms, the person becomes the label. Young argued that police response to marijuana users as 'dirty, scruffy' deviants actually pushes them into that role, they no longer feel a conventional part of society, and so become more unconventional as a reaction. ...read more.

Middle

400 words Research Methods and Reasons The nature of this study, at least concerning the drug users themselves, will be largely observational. Any relationship between the experimenter and those being observed may affect results, due to observer influence; therefore a significant part of the data obtained will be observational. Although this qualitative approach leaves all variables outside the control of the researcher, and thus a cause and effect relationship may be difficult to establish, it allows for results in which a more natural pattern is expected to emerge. In the case of collating opinions from wider society, a sample frame will be drawn from the electoral roll of each society within the study, and a method of random sampling will be applied to draw a sample population relevant to the size of the actual population. To obtain the data from the respondents, questionnaires containing both closed and open questions will be used. The use of open questions will allow for richer, more valid data, whereas the closed questions will allow for some degree of categorisation of data. These interviews will be given to the participants by the experimenter with an explanation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The observational aspect of the study may also have problems with validity, due to researcher bias. What the researcher observes, and interprets this observation to mean may not reflect individual views. The way people think is not always reflected in the actions they take. It is important, especially in terms of observations, that anonymity is kept. This is due to social desirability bias - people are unlikely to present themselves in a way that may be interpreted as 'wrong' if they are identifiable. The unstructured interviews can be criticised for a lack of reliability where there is the possibility again of interviewer bias. From a positivist perspective, unstructured interviews can be criticised as not being scientific - the interviews can not be repeated. Perhaps the biggest problem lies in the approach of the researcher to the observation participants. It might be that by asking questions, the interviewer causes people to question their own actions. Ethical issues linked to this need to be carefully considered by the researcher, and in the wording used. There is also an ethical question concerning the legality of the drug. Obviously, to force people to smoke the drug during the study would be ethically wrong, but as the study looks at people who have already chosen to smoke cannabis, there seem to be few ethical considerations. 303 words ...read more.

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