Interactionist perspective

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PowerPoint summary of interactionist perspectives of crime from content at sociologytwynham.wordpress.com

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Interactionist perspective

  1. 1. Interactionism and labelling <ul><li>Interactionist perspectives of crime </li></ul><ul><li>By sociologytwynham.wordpress.com </li></ul>
  2. 2. Interactionist perspective <ul><li>Functionalist and subcultural theories are both seen as being “functionalist” because they both assume mainstream culture has a consensus about what criminal & deviant behaviour is </li></ul><ul><li>Subcultures form their own consensus </li></ul><ul><li>They also see deviants as something ‘other’; a group different to ‘normal’ society </li></ul><ul><li>Interactionists take a completely different view </li></ul>
  3. 3. Interactionism – labelling theory <ul><li>From an interactionist perspective there is no deviance, there are only acts which are labelled as deviant </li></ul><ul><li>Deviance is a process of relativity rather than absoluteness </li></ul><ul><li>Becker said:” social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance and by applying those rules to particular and labelling them as deviant” </li></ul><ul><li>Becker’s ideas came to the fore in the early 1960s and it was a very new approach </li></ul>
  4. 4. Interactionism – labelling theory <ul><li>Becker illustrated his point “injecting heroin into your arm is not deviant, because it’s fine if a nurse does it under doctors orders. It only becomes deviant when society defines it as such” </li></ul><ul><li>The same idea is applicable to other areas of social life. For example soldiers are allowed to kill in times of war but not in times of peace </li></ul>
  5. 5. Interactionism – labelling theory <ul><li>Labelling theory illustrates the way police target specific social groups </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnic minorities or working-class youths living in specific areas are targeted more by the police – Reiner (1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Cicourel’s (1976) study of police & juvenile officers in California found police were more likely to arrest people who fitted the picture of having – poor school performance; low-income backgrounds; ethnic minority membership. In contrast......... </li></ul>
  6. 6. Interactionism – labelling theory <ul><li>Cicourel found middle-class delinquents who were arrested tended to be counselled, cautioned and released by police officers </li></ul><ul><li>Labelling theory shows how authority figures have the ability to create the social characteristics of typical delinquents as being – young, working-class and male </li></ul><ul><li>This contrast significantly with functionalist/subcultural notions of crime & deviance </li></ul>
  7. 7. Primary and secondary deviance <ul><li>Lemert moved interactionism forward by arguing there’s a difference between primary and secondary deviance </li></ul><ul><li>Primary deviance are acts which haven’t been publically defined as deviant, while secondary deviance has been defined </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore this two stage process shows how deviance is a process. First it’s identified and then agents of social control get involved (this shows how labelling causes deviance) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Societal reaction <ul><li>Jock Young identified effects of being labelled as deviant </li></ul><ul><li>He argued that by simply being labelled as deviant it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby a labelled individual acts out the label given to them </li></ul><ul><li>He noted how in the 1960s hippies used dope as part of their lifestyle. However once they were labelled as dope users, they used dope as ‘the’ symbol rather than ‘a’ symbol of their difference </li></ul>
  9. 9. Societal reaction <ul><li>Stan Cohen – (mods and rockers) though has wasn’t an interactionist per se, his worked focused on the societal reaction to the Easter bank holiday </li></ul><ul><li>He discovered the media amplified and exaggerated the extent of the disturbances </li></ul><ul><li>Cohen termed this exaggeration as setting a ‘deviancy amplification spiral’ into action which perpetuated further disturbances into moral panic </li></ul>
  10. 10. Pros <ul><li>It identifies the significance of labelling in the judicial process </li></ul><ul><li>It shows how groups are identified and then labelled accordingly </li></ul><ul><li>It shows how once certain characteristics are identified with a particular social group, these subsequent attributes are identified and then acted on by agents of social control </li></ul>
  11. 11. Cons <ul><li>Is deviance really created by the label? People commit deviant acts irrespective of any definition. They know they’re doing wrong. Therefore interactionists seem to ignore the origins of deviance </li></ul><ul><li>It fails to account as why certain groups are labelled and not others </li></ul><ul><li>It also ignores who makes the rules/laws </li></ul><ul><li>Marxists looked for these answers </li></ul>
  12. 12. Synoptic link – symbolic interactionism <ul><li>In contrast to functionalist and subcultural theories interactionists’ emphasise the flexibility of individual responses to social situations </li></ul><ul><li>It owes these ideas to the philosophy of ‘subjective realism of Mead </li></ul><ul><li>Rather than view behaviour as determined by external forces, interactionism is more concerned with ideas of human agency </li></ul>
  13. 13. Synoptic link – symbolic interactionism <ul><li>This comes from Mead who argued the ‘self’ is a social construct and the way people act and see themselves is part of the way they react </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore if you’re told you’re thick in lessons, you start seeing yourself as thick and behave accordingly </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic interactionism moves the emphasis away from macro social structures to micro interactions </li></ul>

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