Labelling theory Essay

Labelling theory

            Many scholars have been wanting to know about various approaches to problems affecting the society especially on matters concerning the society by use of labelling theory.  Many scholars have been wanting to know about various approaches to problems affecting the society especially on matters which involve the use of definitions of the cases which are considered in the deviance list.  Edward (2004) observed that labelling has affected many people any most people end up engaging in critical actions.  There are several debates which critic labelling theory with some scholars having a bias for the development of this particular theory and others looking at it as subjective. It is seen that instead of viewing people who have been involved in any type of crime as normal people, labelling encourages the individual to enhance the use of the assigned label.

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            Collins and Martin (2005) stressed that people who engage in deviance activities should be viewed as any other individual especially if they have been taken through justice where their acts are judged.  This brought the argument whether such people should continue being called criminals or there should be a theory which would help to identify them just as other people.  The main argument remain when all people continue to refer to people who commit any deviance as criminals as this will cause the particular individuals to indulge further in criminal acts.  As has been noted earlier, there are a lot of rejections portrayed by the labelling theory by the way it deals with the individuals who have defiled as compared to those who have not.  Most times the theory has been observed to lack the precise notion that any individual could have different characteristics which could the main cause for the individual to act as a deviant or otherwise.

            Labelling theory therefore, has been found to ignore several issues dealing with individual differences and even failed to identify the arising individual characteristics.  Most parents who are in high and even those in the medium class have the ability and the requirements to negotiate justice which lead to the avoidance of labelling theory to any of these classes.

            This therefore, show how labelling theory on its own would be applied to oppress the individuals who are in the lower class.  There are expectations that those individuals involved in social theories should endeavour to seek for various remedies for matters that are seen to affect the society.  This has not been observed in the labelling where sociologists are in fact expected to criticise this theory and preferably come up with another theory.  Individuals who are in power have been observed to avoid justice and hence have no feel for the labelling theory which they take to be operating to those who are lowly ranked and who experience unfair treat.  It has been argued about how most people become deviants especially after they have been labelled as deviants even after they had not done so.  This therefore lead us to note that there are many people who have engaged in several deviant actions due to the way they are being taken by the people around them or even by the society. The various cases which have been identified led most sociologists to be able to look out for the loop holes and more so be concerned with how to come up with a more justified way of removing any unfair treatment which may arise in the society.  This therefore lead to the great oppression of the individuals who are labelled especially those from low class.

            Collins and Martin (2005) observed that there are great hindrances which are obtained whenever a society wants to reject the use of the labelling theory in the specific countries.  This has been observed to be brought about by the way the society view and even on the way they name the various crimes as either deviant or not to be considered as deviant.  In most cases there is the association of the individuals who involve in deviance to the lower class who are perceived not to understand or even be involved in  any formulation of the required definitions of any possible deviances.  There are many cases which involve the individuals who come from the low class who end up being referred to using the different types of labels which therefore led to the argument that the labelling is being done to the poor people.  The individuals who come from the rich families who also seem to form the upper and even the middle class happen to experience very few cases of labelling and hence they do not mind a lot on what labelling does to the individuals.  There have been observations that most individuals who are in power protect themselves from being affected by the theory where they evade justice.  Another observation which can be pointed out is that the individuals who come up with the definitions as well as the inclusion of various issues in the policy to be treated as deviance are the people who emerge from high class and even others from middle class.

            United States is one of the countries which have been identified to fight for justification of all deviant issues which appear in the country.  The first application was observed in the use of juvenile policy especially while dealing with children.  It was found out that it was unfair to treat the young ones as criminals.  Leonard (2004) argued that the young kids are being spoilt when they are referred to as criminal for they need to grow up as bright individuals who are responsible of their own actions.  Most cases, children obtain various concepts on issues cutting across the societal way of living.  Other people have been seen to act as mirrors to the children and this lead the sociologists to always work hard and come up with ways of allowing the children to learn through the right people and using the right channel.  Leonard (2004) found out that there are many ways that people can get to understand their true self and one of the most obvious is the way people view themselves according to how other people view them who they live with in the society.

            This therefore lead many sociologists to deeply think of the ways to secure children who came from United States.  True labels have been found to follow the the same label for long unless there appear any intervention from friends or experts who can assist the deviant to stop the deviance behaviour.

            Scholars who aimed at reducing the use of labelling theory in most case made a great participation in the exemption of the young ones in the United States.  It has been noted that there is a lot of influence which is received by individuals who have been labelled in that they tend to apply the label they receive to show the society that the society is true in its labelling.  In fact, the greatest percentage which has been observed in deviants especially who have been labelled end up involving deeper in the actions which they tend to be labelled for.  There are many ways on how the deviants are supposed to be identified and on how the society should deal with those who portray the actions which lead to their labelling.

            However, it was observed that even after deep search for the necessary information on the proper and anticipated use of the right theory instead of labelling theory in United States, this dragged until in the centenary that there has been observable some change.  Some scholars aimed at placing the labelling theory for all people and this further dragged the application of the right policies in the country.  The use of juvenile policy to be able to rescue children was only made active by the start of the century which hence was found to have taken long than it was expected.  Children who would be caught involving in defiant actions were therefore required to be treated in a different manner than the adults.  Here the children would be assisted not to experience the harsh treatment which was seen to prevail in the way the children were being treated.

            Labelling theory has received several critiques from several scholars who find it to be affecting only a group of people especially who are not in control of emerging conditions.  Individuals who come from low class have been identified to lack people to stand for them when justice is required to be put into place.  David and Gordon (2006) pointed out that there is great extension of the deviance as a career by all individuals who are labelled and this therefore denies the individuals involved in the actions of deviance the required chance to change their actions.

            This has lead to the discussion by many sociologists who argues in the line of that the society should aim at helping individuals to improve and preferably help the individuals to change any acquired habit that may seem to be deviant.  There still seem to be great debate especially in the area of how the process which in most cases labelling is usually identified is conducted and great queries on who should be involved in the identification of all the required issues which are labelled.  Marshall (2007) argued that labelling as a theory is supposed to be showing the apparent and visible differences between any individual who is involve in crime and the upright individuals.  Therefore in most of the arising situation, labelling has always been used the other way where the individuals who are normally labelled are usually the ones who do not have any ways of claiming for the required justice.

            According to Fredrick (2003), labelling in most cases deals with issues which in his observation are too general and which he require to be improved to be able to capture all human beings and include the various achievements of the individuals involved.  At this point we therefore note that, deviance is always observed in the individuals especially after stress has been put to them by labels which do not even show the positive point of the concerned individuals.  This has made many sociologists as has been seen, to work towards amendment of this specific theory so that it can aim at helping the society to experience a change.  This brings about the need to know if labelling should in all societies be equal and not having some actions being labelled in some given societies and not in some others.  It is paramount to point out that the various observations made by all scholars are raising a need for labelling theory as has been seen to be revised and be used for the good of each and every individual and not chosen few.

            On the other hand, there are great concerns especially on how radical criminology as viewed in most cases has brought about the over use of labelling and this has created further need for new policies.  Edward (2004) expounded on the need for the society to create new ways of dealing with individuals who are labelled and further noted that there is need for law interpretation.  It has been seen that many individuals especially those in the upper and even those in the middle class have been rejecting most definitions which are identified by the law so that they can be favoured.  There are raised cases which involve conflicts which happen due to the increase of inequality of economics.

            This lead to the conclusion that  labelling together with radical criminology need to be checked for further revision.  It is the role of the sociologists to make sure that all individuals in the society are treated well especially in matters that require justice.  There is need for the scholars to raise the required information so that all policy makers can come up with the definite ways of law interpretation.  It has been noted that there is need for  reduction of any type of  discrimination which may appear in the society following the increase of criminology and even due to labelling theory.  This is where the society and all the members of the society should come together to create the required diversion in the area of dealing with labelling.

            This factor concerning the inequality observed in the society, and which has been seen to lead to increased crime levels in the society should be observed and more research done in this area.  Scholars are therefore invited to perform in-depth studies of the various arising issues which are affecting the society which will help in reduction of crimes which happen in the society.

            Finally the society should endeavour to treat the various individuals in the same way and not treat between the ones who are rich better than the poor.


Collins, M., and Martin, D., (2005). Sociology: A Global Introduction. Harvard: Harvard            University Press.

David, G. and Gordon, A., (2006). Critical Criminology: Europe Version. London: Routledge.

Edward, J., (2004).  Making a Difference in Diverse Settings. Oxford: Oxford University           Press.

Fredrick, D., (2003). Human Behaviour Theory: Critical Perspective of Social Work. London:    Arrow Books.

Leonard, J., (2004). Crime and Society: Critique of Theoretical Criminology. Chichester:            John Wiley & Sons.

Marshall, B., (2007). Sociology: Key Ideas. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

William, H. and Edwin, W., (2006). Deviance in Criminology. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s           University Press.