Monday, August 3, 2009
The labelling Theory
Labeling Theory Labeling theory is associated with Howard Becket and was introduced in 1963. Labeling theory is the theory of deviance that views deviance as a label assigned to behavior and individuals by particular figures of authority. That means that no one is actually a deviant and no action is deviant unless specified by society. The acts that are considered deviant today, may be acceptable or even normal tomorrow or in another part of the world.
French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858 – 1917) used the term anomie to describe a state of normlessness in society, when many people are unclear as to the expectations others have of them (Durkheim, 1951). The importance of Durkheim’s study for an understanding of deviance is his focus on the way a society can actually create strains in the lives of its individual members. Anomie theory in essence states that deviant behavior is encouraged by strains builkt into the very fabric or society. Durkheim’s concept was borrowed from American sociologist Robert Merton in his study of deviance. Merton (1956) analyzed societal strains by pointing out the variety of ways that people might respond to such strain. As the strains occur in all walks of life so too do the (often-deviant) adaptations.
Posted by Tendai Mzingaizo at 7:56 AM