Labelling theory is very useful in explaining criminal behaviour. Labelling theory is one of the theories which explain the causes of deviant and criminal behaviour in society. It gives an insight on what could make an individual be attracted to criminal behavior as opposed to morally desirable behavior. This is very important for criminologists, law enforcement bodies and health care professionals who try to rehabilitate criminals. This paper will discuss the labeling theory with respect to crime. Various theorists who discuss this theory will be studied in order to better understand criminal behaviour.
Labeling Theory Of Criminology - Words | Cram
Labeling theory says that individuals come to recognize and carry on in manners that reflect how others label them. This theory is connected to the human science of wrongdoing and aberrance. Naming and regarding somebody as criminally degenerate can cultivate deviant conduct. In response, that person is more likely to act negatively. Crossman stated in an article that the labeling theory is one of the essential approaches to understanding deviant behavior.
The Labelling Theory
In the sociology of deviance, the labelling theory of deviant behaviour is often used interchangeably with the societal reaction theory of deviancy. As a matter of fact, both phrases point equally to the fact that sociological explanations of deviance function as a product of social control rather than a product of psychology or genetic inheritance. Some sociologists would explain deviance by accepting without question definitions of deviance and concerning themselves with primary aetiology. However, labelling theorists stress the point of seeing deviance from the viewpoint of the deviant individual. This essay will firstly explore how labelling theory derived from action theories, followed by the consequences for the individual as a result of labelling including the contributions of the most influential labelling theorists namely Becker , Lemert
Through the examination of the scientific method, it is evident that labeling theory is all-inclusive; however understanding the process of labeling and the presences of criminal behavior is complex. In addition, there is a plethora of contributing theorists that have shaped labeling theory over time. The basic question for labeling theory has been asked even before the leading the theorists. If society labels an individual after they have committed deviant behavior or a criminal act, will that lead to further crimes from that individual? Simply put, does society guide individuals to commit deviant behavior after society has labeled the individual a criminal?