Lecture 5 - Drug Crime - extra notes1

Lecture 5 - Drug Crime - extra notes1 - 1 Lecture 5: Drug...

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Lecture 5: Drug Crime – extra notes Social Constructionist and Labeling Theory – Moral Entrepreneurs (Hackler – Chapter 11 - pp.135-136) Society is made up of a conflicting plurality of groups dominated by the most powerful, who use their power, mainly through law to stigmatize the less powerful. “Moral entrepreneurs” and control agents determine which behaviours are criminalized and which are not ( Becker , 1963). Legislators, lobbyists and interest groups create laws or suggest that various behaviors be criminalized. They have the power and authority to impose their judgements on others. Control agents determine which behaviours are criminalized and which are not. Law is the expression of the power of some people to defend their interpretation of reality over that of others. Law polices the boundaries of socially constructed definitions of reality. Crime and deviance are some people’s definitions of what they find offensive. Crime is a category, defined in law, that is relative to cultures, historical period, group, social status, social context, and those who hold the power to criminalize. Some crime is statistically deviant, such as murder, while other crime is statistically typical, such as tax evasion. Some activities that were formally crimes are now defined as legal, while others which were formally legal, such as cocaine consumption, and more recently cigarette smoking, are now illegal in many contexts. Whether a particular activity is judged criminal or not depends upon the context or situation. Those who have the power can offend and not be subject to legal definitions, whereas those who do not have the power became the subject of legal processing. The labelling process is not always fair because some people who have deviated escape public detection and some who have not deviated are nonetheless labelled as having done so. Moral entrepeneurs define conditions as offensive and harmful, so they have sought to eliminate drug abuse, discourage the abuse of alcohol, reduce the availability of pornography, and stop the exploitation of women in the workplace. They also enforce rules and the entrepreneurs’ legislated rules provide the enforcers (police) with jobs and justifications for them. The least influential members of society (i.e. the poor or certain ethnic groups) are often caught in the web of social control and labelled deviant out of proportion to their numbers, so deviance is, in part, created by people in society. Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label. To discover why only certain groups of people are labelled deviant, labelling theorists also study those who make the laws that deviants violate and the ways those laws are applied. Why do People Become Drug Addicts and Drug Dealers?
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Lecture 5 - Drug Crime - extra notes1 - 1 Lecture 5: Drug...

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