Labeling theory or social reaction theoryfocuses on the tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen as deviant from norms. The theory of symbolic interactionism has the closest affinity with labeling theory, and symbolic-interaction analysis. Labeling theory or social reaction theory is closely related to social-construction of reality. Labeling theory is concerned with how the self-identity and behavior of an individual is influenced by how that individual is categorized and described by others in their society.
Originating in the mid- to lates in the United States at a moment of tremendous political and cultural conflict, labeling theorists brought to center stage the role of government agencies, and social processes in general, in the creation of deviance and crime.
The theory represented both a theoretical and methodological break from the past, and it could reasonably be argued that it was one of the dominant theoretical perspectives in the study of crime and deviance from the late s until the early s.
It was also responsible for spurring countless empirical studies over this time period. Although there were periods when interest in labeling process was in decline, particularly afterlabeling theory has had a bit of a resurgence in recent years. Labeling theories of crime are often referred to as social reaction theories, because they focus primarily on the consequences of responses or reactions to crime.
These responses or reactions typically focus on three sets of actors: All of these very diverse actions have one thing in common: First is the status characteristics hypothesis, which states that labels are imposed in part because of the status of those doing the labeling and those being labeled.
The second is the secondary deviance hypothesis, which essentially argues that deviant labels create problems that the one being labeled must adjust to and deal with, and that under certain conditions labels can lead to greater involvement in crime and deviance.
Whether the causal factors are biological e. Labeling theorists are generally uninterested in the causes of crime, and are more interested in the reactions to crime. These reactions to crime, or labels, occur in processes at different levels of aggregation—the individual, the institutional, and the macro state or national rule making —and how labeled persons respond to those labels.
In the early- to mids, labeling theorists published numerous theoretical works and influenced a great deal of empirical work. By the s, however, critics began to seriously question the validity of labeling theory, primarily on the grounds that the empirical research did not seem to confirm the two major labeling propositions.
Tittle is illustrative of this position; Tittle argues that if labeling theory claims only that status characteristics have some effect, then the theory is unimportant, and if it fails to be clear about the magnitude of the effect, then it is imprecise.
Although the dominance once enjoyed by the theory waned considerably, theoretical and empirical work in the late s and early s revitalized the theory and integrated labeling propositions into more general theories of crime. See also Paternoster and Iovanni and Braithwaite Studies in the sociology of deviance.
Crime, shame and reintegration.
Cambridge, UK, and New York: A systematic approach to the study of sociopathic behavior. Primary deviance is that which occurs without the person committed to or performing out of a deviant role. Primary deviance has any number of causes. Secondary deviance occurs as a response to the problems created by the imposition of a deviant label.
Paternoster, Raymond, and LeeAnn Iovanni.
The labeling perspective and delinquency: An elaboration of the theory and an assessment of the evidence. For example, they argue that the secondary deviance hypothesis includes many probabilistic contingencies that link labeling to identity changes, or changes in the routine activities of the labeled person and other experiences.
They also remind the field that interest in racial and class discrimination could be directly linked to the labeling tradition.
In The labeling of deviance: Edited by Walter R.Policy implications and programs Based on the largely qualitative and relatively recent research on school rampage shootings, researchers have made several policy . Four elements of labeling theory (Becker; Lemert) 1. Social label attached to certain behaviors Policy Implications.
Impact of labeling according to labeling theorists; Reintegrative Shaming (Braithwaite) Criticisms? Discussion Question. Think of an instance in which you were labeled. The object of the label doesn't have to be a crime (for.
In A General Theory of Crime, Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi () argue that self-control is the principal cause of criminal and analogous activity over the life course. According to the theorists, self-control is formed via a three-pronged.
Labeling theory has been accused of promoting impractical policy implications, and criticized for failing to explain society's most serious offenses.  Some offenses, including the use of violence, are universally recognized as wrong.
The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further . Jul 17, · Labeling theory contends that an acquisition of a criminal status can be very problematic for offenders navigating into adulthood.
This article examines this assertion with the life story of 23 juvenile delinquents. The objective of the study was to gain insight into how the negative reactions of friends, families, and society worked to change and reinforced their offending behavior.