Show Menu

interactionalists view of crime Cheat Sheet by

A2 WJEC paper 1 Crime&Deviance


intera­cti­onalist reject the idea that a criminals are bad or good or the hereos of a working class revolu­tion. They focus on the circum­stances of committing crime and the effects on their future. Other altern­ative theories such as functi­ona­lists critique the views of intera­cti­ona­lists. A key theinker who supports thr intera­cti­ona­lists view is howard becker.


intera­cti­ona­lis­tsfocus intensely on labelling and how stereo­types or social reactions can affect crime and deviancy. Functi­oalists such as Cohen may critue this view and intera­cti­ona­lists such as Cicourel are in favour of this view.

No such thing as a deviant act

-Becker suggests that there is no such thing as a deviant act.
-An act only becomes deviant when perceived as such.
-If young people are defined as deliquent and convicted, then they are more likely to become deviant. this is called a self fulfiling prophecy.
-Whether or not these labels are applied depends on societal reaction.
-He argues polic have precon­ceived ideas of what consti­tutes as ‘trouble.’ For example the stereo­types of black males being muggers. Thus, explaining how deviancy is asserted by labelling and the views of others. However, Becker over-r­oma­nti­cises accounts of deviance, which in their concern for the underdog' can distort the reality of crime.

Becker also coins the idea of a deviant career.

-This process involves people accepting a negative or stigma­tised social status. This means people who have been labelled as deviant continue to act deviantly.
-This is known as a self-f­ulf­illing prophecy. Box identifies four reasons as to why ex-cons or inmates continue to remain as offenders, rather than change their way of life, atrophy of social skills, social discri­min­ation, job rejection and police survei­llance.
-There­fore, accepting labels placed by others leads to more crime. However, Triplett claims that the harsh punish­ments of offenders are linked to increased offending rates in the UK.

Matza introduces this idea of drift theory.

-this is where he believes many people drift in and out if crime.
-Many deviants have the same norms and values as others and often recognise that their behaviour is proble­matic. He states that everyone has two sets of values; conven­tional values and roles where they are much the same as everyone else, and subter­ranean values of greed and aggression which we normally keep well in check, but everyone will give in to now and again.
-This can be seen through techniques of neutra­lis­ation, as young people are more likely to go into subter­ranean values inappr­opr­iately and often justify their actions using these techni­ques.
-Thus, explaining many people go in and out of crime and how people are not confined to one set of norms and values. However, some believe that this is too determ­inistic and focuses too much on the on social backgr­ounds.

Beckers idea of master status.

-He argued that when a label of lawbreaker has been placed on a person, this label becomes seen as a defining charac­ter­istic. If others are aware of this, then everything that the deviant person does will be seen as being a result of that master status.
-Rosenhan found evidence of this in his experiment involving asking sane people to become voluntary patients in a mental hospital. He discovered that even normal behaviours like chatting or reading were interp­reted by staff as evidence of madness. If a deviant master status becomes part of a person's self-i­den­tity, then that others like themselves and form a subcul­ture.
-There­fore, explaining how Becker views master status and labelling define people as deviants. However, Becker over-s­imp­lifies the process of labelling, and partic­ularly they minimise the role of the deviant in the defining process.

Lemert idea of primar­y&­sec­ondary deviancy.

-Primary deviancy is when an individual has committed an act of deviancy but has not been publicly labelled as a crime.
-Secondary deviancy occurs once an offender is discovered and publicly exposed and the label of 'deviance' is attached. This follows the public identi­fic­ation of a person as deviant, and the indivi­dual's response to this negative societal reaction.
-Triplett argues that recent studies have shown the attempt to control and punish young offenders are making the situation worse. Therefore, Lemert explains how the public­ation of labelling leads to increased crime and deviancy amplif­ica­tion. However, there is a disregard for the origins of deviant behaviour. Hence it is claimed, too much emphasis is placed on the impact of social reaction.

Cicourel states that justice not fixed negotiable

-This means that it is not the charac­ter­istics of people that make them deviant, it is the conviction and labelling of law enforc­ement that make them criminals.
-During his research of police and social workers in California 1970, Cicourel discovered that many police officers 'typif­ica­tions' or assump­tions led them to concen­trate on certain 'types' of people, mainly the working class. This resulted in law enforc­ement showing a class bias.
-In turn, this leads to police patrolling working class areas more intens­ively, resulting in more arrests and confirming their stereo­types of what is a deviant, for example ethnic minorities and poor educat­ional backgr­ounds.
-There­fore, the treatment of police reinforces class bias and give into stereo­types of the working class causing more deviancy. However, cohen believes that the charac­ter­istics of indivi­duals lead them to deviancy, and it is not the result of police intera­ctions with young people.


No comments yet. Add yours below!

Add a Comment

Your Comment

Please enter your name.

    Please enter your email address

      Please enter your Comment.

          Related Cheat Sheets

          SOC 344 Midterm Cheat Sheet

          More Cheat Sheets by asweetnam673

          feminist views of the family Cheat Sheet
          New Right view of the family Cheat Sheet
          functionalists view of the family Cheat Sheet