Interactionist Theories of CrimePresentation Transcript
What we will cover today: - What is Interactionism? - What role does the media play is labelling deviancy? http:// www.youtube.com /
Interactionists do not assume lawbreakers are different from law-abiding people.
They suggest that most people commit deviant and criminal acts but only some are caught and stigmatised for it.
Emphasis should be placed upon understanding the reaction and definition of deviance rather than the causes of the initial act.
“ Deviancy is not a quality of the act a person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.”
Howard Becker (1928-)
Labelling Theory - Actions are not intrinsically deviant, but rather they become deviant through the application of a label
Becker believed that once a label has been applied to an individual, it may be granted master status.
All other aspects of the individual’s life are no longer regarded as important as the label of deviant, and deviancy becomes a central activity.
A deviant career usually follows.
British Crime Survey statistics show that young black men are more likely to be stopped and searched than any other group.
It is argued that this is a result of the police officers belief that they are more likely to offend than any other social group and they therefore become subjects of routine suspicion.
Q. Who does the Labelling? Who reinforces the labels?
The interactionist approach recognises that crime and deviance is socially constructed by agencies of social control.
The media are a powerful agency of social control that shape views and perceptions of crime.
Most people see crimes committed by powerless groups as a bigger problem than crime committed by the powerful.
The media has a role in amplifying the extent of deviance through the way it reports crime (hence the media socially constructs crime and deviance).
Labelling theory is incredibly hard to prove, as we cannot know how deviant an individual was before they were labelled
Some acts will always be regarded as deviant whether they are labelled or not; for example, murder
Not everyone reacts to labels.
Some labelling theorists are criticised for ignoring the causes of deviance.