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Labelling Theory

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Examine and asses the usefulness of a theory of crime and deviance in terms of explaining crime and or social problems in modern society.

This essay is going to examine and asses the usefulness of labelling theory in our understanding of crime and social problems in modern society. This essay is going to firstly look at what labelling theory is and also look at the key writes that have influenced and help to develop the term labelling theory. The essay will then go on to look at empirical research that has been carried out such as Jock Young’s study of marijuana users and their experience of labelling which in turn led to further deviance and also different examples that will help illustrate the key points being put forward in the essay. Finally it will look at some of the criticisms labelling theorists face. This essay will draw information from academic books, websites and articles to illustrate and support the points of few being put forward in the essay.
Interactionist generally sees society from the point of view of individuals. They believe that individuals are creative free thinking people who are able to choose their own behaviour and the also believe that behaviour is self-directed based on the interactions we have with one another. The labelling views on deviance is generally grounded in what is now known as labelling theory which emerged in the 1960’s from the work of American sociologist Howard Becker. Labelling theorists are mainly concerned with how and why certain people and actions are labelled as criminal or deviant, and they also look at what effects this has on those who are labelled as such. Edwin Lemert is regarded by many sociological theorists as the founding father of the labelling theory. Lemert theorised labelling theory as the process through which a person may well become classed as a social deviant due to public reaction. He…...

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