Chapter 11 Notes.docx - Chapter 11 u2013 Labeling Theories...

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Chapter 11 – Labeling Theories & Conflict Criminology - Consensus theorists place a consensus of values at the very center of human societies – shared beliefs about what is goof, right, just, important o Agree that there will be at least some value conflicts in society, but role of the state is to mediate & represent the common values/interests - Conflict theorists place conflicts of interest at the very center of human societies – competitions over money, status, and power o Interests ultimately determine values, the state represents the interests of those with sufficient power to control its operation == more powerful are legally freer to pursue self-interests - Different implication for the role of the organized state & for the nature of crime Labeling Theories - 1938: Frank Tannenbaum created a “labeling theory” that arises from the conflicts between youths & adults in urban neighborhoods o The youth see themselves participating in play groups on the streets as they have done since children their “definition of the situation” o They become teens & increasingly engage in adventurous, threatening activities – adults define the sit as “good kids” doing “bad actions” o Eventually the kids themselves are labeled as bad, and the kids begin to identify with it *** Person becomes the thing he is described as being ***** - 1951: Lemert – general theory of deviance o Criminal/deviant behaviors originate in biological/psychological/social factors in the person’s life Tannenbaum described delinquency as originating in juvenile playgrounds; Lemert called them “primary deviants” ^ behavior a negative reaction from other people transforms from a negative behavior of the act into a negative definition of the person Those who can’t stop the behavior reorganize their self-images to incorporate the negative definitions of themselves (Tannenbaum) o “secondary deviant” a person who has taken on a deviant self-image Redefinition of self gives them the opportunity to make a commitment to a deviant career Here the behavior is generated by the person’s self-image - Many people who commit criminal behaviors don’t think of themselves as criminals: Yochelson & Samenow, Cameron - Cressey analyzed embezzlers as people who hold positions of trust, and therefore define their actions as only borrowing the money - 5 “techniques of neutralization” o Denial of responsibility “wasn’t my fault” o Denial of injury “they can afford it” o Denial of victims “they had it coming”
o Condemnations of condemners “everyone is crooked anyways” o Appeal to higher loyalties “did it for the gang” How they often justify their behavior. - Chambliss & Seidman – every person arrested for crime seem themselves as innocent bc there are always circumstances to which to him seem to place his action outside of the appropriate definition of the crime - People don’t see themselves as criminals bc they define the situation, rather than changing their behavior Process of informing others that a person is a criminal is a technique of social control.

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