For example, a 4.0 student who decides to steal a small snack from a gas station is classified under primary deviance because it is an initial isolated incident. Now, secondary deviance occurs when this isolated incident comes in contact with social interactions that may continue someone’s deviant behavior. To be more specific, secondary deviance, “affects their identity or conceptions of themselves and narrows their ability to choose conventional over wayward paths” (Lemert 1951). This type of deviant does affect someone’s life in a profound way. Using the same example, the student who stole the snack from the store might come in contact (social interactions) with those who may label them a thief.
Regardless of this fact, many people may still consider graffiti as vandalism. Some also continue to associate it with crime as many idle hands with artistic abilities do graffiti illegally. Despite this fact, many large recognizable companies such as Coca Cola and Microsoft have hired graffiti artists to do murals within their buildings. Many people have opted to hiring the artists so that they can do more acceptable graffiti artwork (TheArtCareerProject.com). With a change such as this shows that a graffiti artist can gain employment by doing this type of artwork.
Retrieved November 14, 2015, from http://www.sparknotes.com/sociology/deviance/section1.rhtml). Norms dictate what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior across cultures. One category of deviance is crime, which occurs when someone violates a society's formal laws. Criminal deviance include a wide range of behavior, from minor traffic violations to arson to murder. For instance, a man robbing a store and someone driving over the speed limit, both fit into this category.
Georgia Herbert Mead describes labeling theory as an deviant acts, which individuals are attached to based on their interaction and connection to their community. Symbolic interactionism implies that labeling a person will affect their identity. Once a label is attached to a person, it is mostly attached for a lifetime. Secondary deviance starts to occur when someone becomes aware of an individual’s primary deviance and has labeled the individual, such as criminal. There are three ways that labeling deviant behavior can lead to secondary deviant behavior: (1) by changing the way one may perceive themself or others, (2) by limiting a persons opportunities, and by encouraging deviant activities in a persons culture or
203). According to Becker, social groups are responsible for creating deviance: these groups tell their members what’s right and what’s wrong while labeling deviants as outsiders (Conley, pg. 204). Therefore, one becomes deviant by interacting with other social groups. An action may be recognized as a crime in one social group while the same action may be acceptable in another group.
For some, the societal strain becomes overwhelming to the point where they commit a deviant behavior as a way to manage the strain. The deviance is the result of their feelings of anomie -- meaningless due to not able to understand how the social norms are affecting them. This is usually because the norms are confusing, conflicting and weak. He believed that a deviant behavior of an individual or a group in the society emerges due to a strain or pressure regarding the “goal” of the society and the “means” to achieve
The social elites establish acceptable social norms and actively engage in the labelling process where powerless groups are unable to resist these imposed stigmatizations. An individual eventually accepts his or her deviant label and completes the self-fulfilling prophecy by participating in criminal activities. The labelling theory was once a predominant explanation of crime and deviance, but there is a lack of empirical support that directly correlates deviant labels with deviant behaviour, thus suggests that the theory still has flaws (Cartwright, 2011). The labelling theory emerges from the School of Chicago, with many theorists being members of the Chicago school, or simply influenced by Chicago School thinking. Frank Tannenbaum and Edwin Lemert are one of the first individuals to suggest a link between social reaction and delinquency.
Labeling Theory In general, labeling theorist focus on how and why certain acts are defined as criminal. Under labeling theory, nit everyone who commits an offense is punished for it. Becker (1963) stated that social groups create deviance by creating the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance and by applying those rules to particular people and labeling as outsiders. As a result, once a certain label is placed on an individual, he or she eventually accept the label as personal identity. In the book Nigger, Kennedy (2002) traces the history of the word “nigger.” Kennedy states the word nigger can be said in many ways (e.g.
Deviance can be broadly defined as the transgressions of social norms. It is a concept in sociology that has drawn many different analytical perspectives. This includes perspectives such as the reactivist, normative, statistical and absolutist. In his work, Liazos attempts to define the current state of the field of study by analyzing works of different authors in the field. Through this unconventional approach of studying deviance, Liazos attempted to bring light to the common approach sociologists take in studying more about the topic.