List the major assumptions underlying social labeling theories of delinquency. Identify and discuss several prominent sociologists and their concepts and contributions to the social labeling approach.
Assumptions underlying social labeling theories of delinquency
Firstly, list the major assumptions underlying social labeling theories of delinquency.
Secondly, identify and discuss several prominent sociologists and their concepts and contributions to the social labeling approach.
Thirdly, what are some of the weaknesses and limitations of the social labeling approach?
Labeling theory, in criminology, a theory stemming out of a sociological perspective known as “symbolic interactionism,” a school of thought based on the ideas of George Herbert Mead, John Dewey, W. I. Thomas, Charles Horton Cooley, and Herbert Blumer, among others. The first as well as one of the most prominent labeling theorists was Howard Becker, who published his groundbreaking work Outsiders in 1963.
A question became popular with criminologists during the mid-1960s:
Firstly, what makes some acts and some people deviant or criminal?
During this time, scholars tried to shift the focus of criminology toward the effects of individuals in power responding to behavior in society in a negative way; they became known as “labeling theorists” also known as “social reaction theorists.”
In 1969 Blumer emphasized the way that meaning arises in social interaction through communication, using language and symbols. The focus of this perspective is the interaction between individuals in society, which is the basis for meanings within that society. These theorists suggested that powerful individuals and the state create crime by labeling some behaviors as inappropriate. The focus of these theorists is on the reactions of members in society to crime and deviance, a focus that separated them from other scholars of the time.