The Labelling Theory

Question 1

Social constructionists suggest that suggests social problems arise from the views and values of the society and its context. For example, murder is seen as wrong and is illegal in everyday life; however, when it comes to wars killing other people is seen as heroic and necessary. This is an example of how the social problem can change because a lot of the time it comes down to context. Another example is that not all actions seen as deviant are illegal. It is legal to get a tattoo or a facial piercing but some people would raise an eyebrow at that as a form of informal punishment. Informal punishment is anything that is stigma that is face-to-face rather than taking place in a court room. A court gets involved when the deviance
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The labelling perspective views that emerges from social interaction which is always changing on its own. Labelling theorists feel rule breaking behaviour and deviance need to be separated. Becker argues that deviance is not in the act itself but in the reaction to the act and the consequences that follow. Labelling theorists argue that sociological understandings of deviance should go beyond rule-breaking activities. More focus should be applied to reactions and consequences to an action rather than the severity of the action itself. Becker claims deviance only occurs when society can put a label onto it, such as ‘thief’, ‘murderer’, ‘vandal’, etc. There are acts that are not illegal that are frowned upon; for example, cheating on your partner is frowned upon is most societies but it is not illegal. However, the person who cheated would receive judgment and ridicule for their action, even though no charges can be pressed against it. This would be informal judgment, leading to a lot of gossip rather than a court room case. A deviant can be considered to be a ‘secret deviant’ if no one knows about their rule-breaking behaviour, and therefore has no one to label them for their actions. Only when someone who has broken social rules and is perceived as a deviant is a ‘true deviant.’ If someone is obedient in a society and is not perceived as a deviant they are ‘conforming’, while those who aren’t deviants but are perceived to be are ‘falsely

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