Assess the Views That Crime and Deviance Is as a Result of the Labelling Process.
The labelling theory believes that crime is a social construction and as Becker states ‘deviance is in the eye of the beholder’. Therefore a deviant act is only termed so when a label has been applied to it. Labelling theorists believe that crime is as a result of interactions between people, police and the justice system. Therefore disagree that that crime is as a result of social forces such as opportunity structures. They therefore believe that the labelling process does have a direct effect on crime and deviance.
Labelling theorists claim that not everyone who commits a crime is punished for it. As item A suggests, there is negative labelling on ethnic minorities such as Asians. Pilivan and Briar found that most youth arrests were made on physical cues, such as dress and appearance. They also found that anti-social behaviour order was biased against ethnic minorities. This means that crime rate would inevitably be higher among the ethnic minorities. Cicourel develops this idea and introduces the term ‘typification’ to describe the police stereotype of a typical delinquent. Therefore labelling theorists would argue that the labelling of ethnic minorities creates higher crime rates among these groups as a result of labelling.
Cicourell further argues that justice is negotiable. This means that labels attached to certain groups dictate whether or not they will be accused of deviance. He gives the example of the arrest of a middle class youth who if arrested is less likely to be charged than a working class youth. Therefore Cicourell challenges the official statics as those given in item A. He argues that they lack validity and should not be relied on as a resource for crime statistics. Therefore, Cicourell would argue that labelling exaggerates the extent of crime among minorities and working-class, by undermining white collar and middle class crime. However, realist...