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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sociological Crime Theories III


Sociological Crime Theories III
The above theory examine how the social environment causes
individuals to engage in crime, but they typically devote little attention
to the official reaction to crime, that is, to the reaction of the police and
other official agencies. Labeling theory focuses on the official reaction
to crime and makes a rather counterintuitive argument regarding the
causes of crime.
According to labeling theory, official efforts to control crime often have
the effect of increasing crime. Individuals who are arrested, prosecuted,
and punished are labeled as criminals. Others then view and treat these
people as criminals, and this increases the likelihood of subsequent
crime for several reasons. Labeled individuals may have trouble
obtaining legitimate employment, which increases their level of strain
and reduces their stake in conformity. Labeled individuals may find that
conventional people are reluctant to associate with them, and they may
associate with other criminals as a result. This reduces their bond with
conventional others and fosters the social learning of crime. Finally,
labeled individuals may eventually come to view themselves as
criminals and act in accord with this self-concept.
Labeling theory was quite popular in the 1960s and early 1970s, but then
fell into decline—partly as a result of the mixed results of empirical
research. Some studies found that being officially labeled a criminal
(e.g., arrested or convicted) increased subsequent crime, while other
studies did not. Recent theoretical work, however, has revised the theory

to take account of past problems. More attention is now being devoted to
informal labeling, such as labeling by parents, peers, and teachers.
Informal labeling is said to have a greater effect on subsequent crime
than official labeling. Ross Matsueda discusses the reasons why
individuals may be informally labeled as delinquents, noting that such
labeling is not simply a function of official labeling (e.g., arrest).
Informal labeling is also influenced by the individual's delinquent
behavior and by their position in society—with powerless individuals
being more likely to be labeled (e.g., urban, minority, lower-class,
adolescents). Matsueda also argues that informal labels affect
individuals' subsequent level of crime by affecting their perceptions of
how others see them. If they believe that others see them as delinquents
and trouble-makers, they are more likely to act in accord with this
perception and engage in delinquency. Data provide some support for
these arguments.
John Braithwaite extends labeling theory by arguing that labeling
increases crime in some circumstances and reduces it in others. Labeling
increases subsequent crime when no effort is made to reintegrate the
offender back into conventional society; that is, when offenders are
rejected or informally labeled on a long-term basis. But labeling reduces
subsequent crime when efforts are made to reintegrate punished
offenders back into conventional society. In particular, labeling reduces
crime when offenders are made to feel a sense of shame or guilt for what
they have done, but are eventually forgiven and reintegrated into
conventional groups—like family and conventional peer groups. Such
reintegration may occur "through words or gestures of forgiveness or
ceremonies to decertify the offender as deviant" (pp. 100–101).
Braithwaite calls this process "re-integrative shaming." Re-integrative
shaming is said to be more likely in certain types of social settings, for
example, where individuals are closely attached to their parents,
neighbors, and others. Such shaming is also more likely in
"communitarian" societies, which place great stress on trust and the
mutual obligation to help one another (e.g., Japan versus the United
States). Braithwaite's theory has not yet been well tested, but it helps
make sense of the mixed results of past research on labeling theory.
Frank Tannenbaum and Howard S. Becker created and developed
labeling theory. Tannenbaum's "dramatization of evil." Becker said that
"social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction
constitutes deviance." Labeling theory suggests that deviance is caused
by the deviant person being negatively labeled, internalizing the label,
and acting according to the label. As time goes on, the "deviant" takes
on traits that define what a real deviant is supposed to do and takes on
the role of such a label by committing deviations that conform to the

label. Individual and societal preoccupation with the deviant label leads
The above theory examine how the social environment causes
individuals to engage in crime, but they typically devote little attention
to the official reaction to crime, that is, to the reaction of the police and
other official agencies. Labeling theory focuses on the official reaction
to crime and makes a rather counterintuitive argument regarding the
causes of crime.
According to labeling theory, official efforts to control crime often have
the effect of increasing crime. Individuals who are arrested, prosecuted,
and punished are labeled as criminals. Others then view and treat these
people as criminals, and this increases the likelihood of subsequent
crime for several reasons. Labeled individuals may have trouble
obtaining legitimate employment, which increases their level of strain
and reduces their stake in conformity. Labeled individuals may find that
conventional people are reluctant to associate with them, and they may
associate with other criminals as a result. This reduces their bond with
conventional others and fosters the social learning of crime. Finally,
labeled individuals may eventually come to view themselves as
criminals and act in accord with this self-concept.
Labeling theory was quite popular in the 1960s and early 1970s, but then
fell into decline—partly as a result of the mixed results of empirical
research. Some studies found that being officially labeled a criminal
(e.g., arrested or convicted) increased subsequent crime, while other
studies did not. Recent theoretical work, however, has revised the theory
to take account of past problems. More attention is now being devoted to
informal labeling, such as labeling by parents, peers, and teachers.
Informal labeling is said to have a greater effect on subsequent crime
than official labeling. Ross Matsueda discusses the reasons why
individuals may be informally labeled as delinquents, noting that such
labeling is not simply a function of official labeling (e.g., arrest).
Informal labeling is also influenced by the individual's delinquent
behavior and by their position in society—with powerless individuals
being more likely to be labeled (e.g., urban, minority, lower-class,
adolescents). Matsueda also argues that informal labels affect
individuals' subsequent level of crime by affecting their perceptions of
how others see them. If they believe that others see them as delinquents
and trouble-makers, they are more likely to act in accord with this
perception and engage in delinquency. Data provide some support for
these arguments.
John Braithwaite extends labeling theory by arguing that labeling
increases crime in some circumstances and reduces it in others. Labeling
increases subsequent crime when no effort is made to reintegrate the
offender back into conventional society; that is, when offenders are
rejected or informally labeled on a long-term basis. But labeling reduces
subsequent crime when efforts are made to reintegrate punished
offenders back into conventional society. In particular, labeling reduces
crime when offenders are made to feel a sense of shame or guilt for what
they have done, but are eventually forgiven and reintegrated into
conventional groups—like family and conventional peer groups. Such
reintegration may occur "through words or gestures of forgiveness or
ceremonies to decertify the offender as deviant" 
Braithwaite calls this process "re-integrative shaming." Re-integrative
shaming is said to be more likely in certain types of social settings, for
example, where individuals are closely attached to their parents,
neighbors, and others. Such shaming is also more likely in
"communitarian" societies, which place great stress on trust and the
mutual obligation to help one another (e.g., Japan versus the United
States). Braithwaite's theory has not yet been well tested, but it helps
make sense of the mixed results of past research on labeling theory.
Frank Tannenbaum and Howard S. Becker created and developed
labeling theory. Tannenbaum's "dramatization of evil." Becker said that
"social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction
constitutes deviance." Labeling theory suggests that deviance is caused
by the deviant person being negatively labeled, internalizing the label,
and acting according to the label. As time goes on, the "deviant" takes
on traits that define what a real deviant is supposed to do and takes on
the role of such a label by committing deviations that conform to the

label. Individual and societal preoccupation with the deviant label leads

2 comments:

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