Essay On Labelling Theory

779 Words 4 Pages
Introduction
A deviant act is the disassociation from what is considered normal, and legal in society. The labelling perspective has shaped the way society determines what is a crime, and what constitutes criminal behaviour. This case study will emphasise the labelling perspective in society in relation to the violent crime of homicide and the related offence of murder. This case study will use contemporary examples of labelling in order to establish that the determination of what the consequences are, of being labelled, and how deviant behaviour, is determined by the criminal justice system, as Plummer suggests (Plummer 1979).

Explanation of Labelling Theory to Murder
The labelling theory argues that crime is a social process, because it derives perceptions from society to what is considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour (White 2012: 94). Charles Wellford writes, “labelling is a process that produces, eventually, identification with a deviant image” (Wellford 1975: 333). This can be related to the violent crime of murder in the way that, murder is considered a deviant act in society because it is a form of wrongful and criminal behaviour, against social norms and lawful authority. Deviancy is conferred upon an individual, and labelled, by society. For example, in contemporary society, Gerard Baden-Clay’s label of ‘murderer’ suggested that he committed
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This is because those who have the power to determine what behaviour is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in essence determine what the social norms are in society. Therefore they present what is expected of the greater individuals in a social context. Further, the labelling theory is distinct from classical theories in explaining criminal behaviour, such as murder, and alludes to the reactions of society to give meaning and label to the

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