What assumptions does
society make? Can you also
Write down a prediction- how does
labelling lead to crime?
Can you remember any sociological ideas
about LABELLING theory?
Write down what you can remember in a
When is it deviant?
A man lives on his own.
He hasn’t left the house in 5 years, but
no one knows this because he has no
friends or family
He prefers not to wear any clothes
He sometimes sits in the back garden naked
when his neighbours are in their gardens
Labelling and Crime
• Labelling theorists are interested in how and why
certain acts come to be defined or labelled as
• They argue that no act is inherently criminal or
deviant in itself- in all situations and at all times.
• Instead, it only comes to be so when others label
it as such.
• It is not the nature of the act that makes it
deviant, but the nature of society’s reaction to
“Social groups create deviance by
creating the rules whose
infraction (breaking) constitutes
deviance, and by applying those
rules to particular people and
labelling them as outsiders”
A deviant is simply someone to
whom the label has been
successfully applied, and deviant
behaviour is simply behaviour
that people so label
For each key sociologist, read the text and
complete the task.
Cicourel- the negotiation
• Draw a picture of someone who fits the
typifications that the police hold.
• Label the characteristics
• Draw a picture of someone who would
be less likely to be prosecuted (the
middle class boy given in the example).
Label the reasons why
Lemert- Primary and Secondary
TASK1. Apart from the example given in the text,
think of three other examples of primary
2. Write a short story (paragraph) to show how
someone embarks on a deviant career.
Jock Young- hippy
Create a storyboard to describe the process of
labelling that the hippies went through
according to Young.
• How can we positively evaluate labelling
• Pick three evaluation points from the list on
page 84 and explain them
• How would Marxists criticise labelling theory?
• How might labelling theory be linked to ideas
about age, class, ethnicity and gender? (this
bit is not in the textbook- use your brain!)
• In pairs, take it in turns to verbally complete
- According to Becker, deviant behaviour is…
- The difference between primary and
secondary deviance is…
- Young’s study shows the ‘deviant career’
through the example of…