Examining The Main Arguments In Outsiders Criminology Essay

“ Arguing that societal aberrance is a more common phenomenon than perceived and that conventional wisdom that societal perverts are pathological is wrong ” Howard S. Becker, born April 18th 1928, is a good known celebrated American Sociologist. Of all his many Hagiographas, ‘Outsiders ‘ , which was written in 1963, is one of his most imperative and outstanding plants, regarded as critical classical survey within the subject of sociology and aberrance. It can be said that it is one of Becker ‘s most celebrated pieces of work which offered one of the first and clearest accounts for the ‘labelling theory ‘ . ‘Outsiders ‘ continues to be a seminal text on the Interactionist ‘s attack to deviance in society today. He states that “ the foreigner – the pervert from group regulations – has been the topic of much guess, speculating, and scientific survey ” ( Becker 1997: 3 ) . Howard Becker elaborates the survey of aberrance specifically from a societal position, and considers the procedures by which people or different types of Acts of the Apostless come to be labelled as pervert. His thoughts and statements are based upon his impression that aberrance is non a quality of a bad individual but it is the consequence of person characterizing and labelling person ‘s activity as bad.

This essay asks one to critically measure the chief statements Becker puts frontward in Outsiders. Becker sets the foundations for his thoughts on ‘labelling theory ‘ in his book and furthers the impressions of other Sociologists such as Edwin Lemert. Lemert has been normally credited with being the laminitis and one of the number ones to discourse what has been called the “ Social Chemical reaction ” theory. In Lemert ‘s book ‘Social Pathology ‘ written in 1951, Lemert summarized an attack which has been regarded and considered to be an original version of the ‘labelling theory ‘ . In his book he focuses on the societal building of aberrance and explained aberrance to be the merchandise of society ‘s reaction to an act and the fond regard of the aberrant label to the person. The book explains the impression of primary and secondary aberrance. Lemert believed that primary aberrance is the initial incidence of an act doing person of authorization to label the histrion as pervert. This initial labelling of an act deemed aberrant would remain primary for every bit long as the histrion can apologize the procedure as a map of a socially acceptable function ( Lemert 1951 ) . Equally good as discoursing the theory of labelling, Becker appraises the procedure in where users of marihuana become labelled as perverts and negotiations about wind music. The chief aim is to try to critically measure and analyze the impression, thoughts and subjects contained within the book and to measure his statements.

The book was written in the sixties and as a effect it is rather outdated, and although some of his thoughts and theories are relevant in today ‘s society, some of them can non in context. In add-on he uses the term `Negros ‘ instead than African American to depict black people and he puts homosexualism into the same aberrant group such as alkies, gamblers and people who are on drugs.

In Becker ‘s book he coins and furthers the term labelling theory. It explains that “ if persons or groups are defined as pervert, there will be of import and frequently unforeseen effects at the degree of behavior ” ( Abercrombie et al. 1988: 132 ) .

Chapter one explains what aberrance is and Becker argues the restrictions of bing efforts to specify aberrance. He explained for behavior to be deemed aberrant, the behavior foremost has to be observed and so judged as pervert. Becker held that “ societal groups create aberrance by doing the regulations whose misdemeanor constitutes aberrance ; and by using those regulations to peculiar people and labelling them foreigners ” ( Becker 1997: 9 ) . Still, “ When a regulation is enforced, the individual who is supposed to hold broken it may be seen as a particular sort of individual, one can non be trusted to populate by the tiles agreed on by the group. He is regarded as an foreigner ” ( Becker 1997: 3 ) . Furthermore, Becker points out that what one may specify as a pervert ; another possibly in a different society would non. In add-on “ the individual who is therefore labelled an foreigner may hold a different position of the affair ” and may believe that those that have judged them non to be “ lawfully entitled to make so ” so so the regulation surfs may see those that judged as foreigners ( Becker 1997 ) . Becker stated that different societal groups created aberrance by doing the regulations whose misdemeanor constituted aberrance and by using those regulations to peculiar people and labelling them as “ foreigners ” . Becker stated that after one has been ascribed as a pervert, they so lead the life of a pervert and have a ‘deviant calling ‘ as that is what they have been labelled as. This so becomes difficult to acquire rid of. Becker claimed though that when we are analyzing people who are aberrant we should non take their aberrance for granted due to the fact we “ can non presume that these people have really committed a aberrant act or interrupt some regulation, because the procedure of labelling theory may non be infallible ” ( Becker 1997 ) . Furthermore, an person who has been labelled as a pervert may non hold committed the act deliberately believing that it was in fact pervert. In add-on, this does non intend that the person was even a pervert in the yesteryear which is a critical point of the book. When a individual is labelled as such by society, they so accept this label so because they now seem themselves as felons they so are likely to go on on their aberrant behavior ( Becker 1997 ) .A Deviant becomes a maestro position, it becomes the cardinal definition in the eyes of the wider society of who and what you are. One may be labelled as a pervert due to their position and category.

In chapter two Becker points outs and provinces that he is non “ here to reason that merely acts which are regarded as pervert by others are “ truly ” pervert ( Becker 1997: 19 ) . If we look at this in relation to homosexualism, in the 60s it was deemed as a condemnable offense but excessively those who were homosexual it was who they were. Becker explains two different theoretical accounts of aberrance ; the coincident and consecutive theoretical accounts. The coincident claims that peculiar behaviors occur as a consequence of a figure of variables originating at the same clip and the consecutive theoretical account contends that punctilious behaviors are caused by sequence of happenings. Becker criticises the inexplicit theoretical premise in criterion which attempts to explicate deviancy ; that all factor operate at the same time and seek to “ foretell ” behavior.

Becker studied and reflected on marijuana users in “ Foreigners ” and used it as an illustration to explicate theA labelling theory and different pervert groups. Becker observed that the aberrant behavior associated with marijuana is based on the given sort of behavior as an terminal merchandise of a sequence of societal experiences during which the individual acquires a comprehension of the significance of the behavior. One would merely be able to utilize marijuana for pleasance if they go through a procedure of larning to gestate of it as an object where they are able to recognize the effects and link them with drug usage. This includes inhaling it in such a manner that produces existent upshot and larning to bask the esthesis they receive from this. The person will go on to utilize marijuana once the ability to accomplish enjoyment is acquired. Thus, go oning to utilize marihuana becomes the secondary pervert.

Becker used juvenile delinquency as an illustration and explained and argued that coming from a broken place or in an environment with negative influences will non needfully take to juvenile delinquency but instead would be one of a series of consecutive events or circumstances.A The consecutive theoretical account in add-on is excessively evident in the undermentioned two chapters which item and explicate how one learns the techniques of how to utilize marijuana and this in the procedure assists the formation of an single individuality. This could include fall ining a societal group in which the drug is available and larning their techniques on how to smoke. There are peculiar ways to smoke and Becker noted that it would normally take legion efforts to acquire high if one is a novitiate. ( Becker 1997 ) . For case, “ most users agree that it can non be smoked like baccy if one is to acquire high ” ( Becker 1997: 46 ) . In add-on “ without the usage of some such technique the drug will bring forth no effects and the user will be unable to acquire high ” .

In relation to a musician calling, which is one of the subjects Becker discusses, he stated that members of the instrumentalist ‘s demographic spell from being `normal ‘ household work forces to dance instrumentalists, providing as they do so to the demands of that peculiar sub-culture. For illustration, a instrumentalist may experience pressurized and forced into playing commercialized music to run into sensed demand, even if that is non the type of music they wanted to play or bring forth. Musicians in general continuously adapt and provide their music to the demands of their hearers or market ; who are their sub-culture, even if it resulted in compromising the quality of their music. As a consequence they may hold been seen to be “ selling out ” , fring their “ unity ” and in add-on they would hold lost the regard from their musical counterparts.A In today ‘s society this may be evident in hip hop, with many people kicking that the unity of the genre has gone with record labels interested on what sells more, instead than good music. In relation to deviance, Becker linked it and explained that the procedures through which dance instrumentalists find work was aberrant. Even though their civilization may hold differed in comparing to that of an ordinary occupation, what they did appeared no where different to what occurred in the music industry today. A popular quotation mark used in show concern is “ it is non about what you know, it is all about who you know ” and it is merely as imperative and of import today as it was back in the sixtiess. However there is a contradiction when Becker talks about the loss of regard from the other dance instrumentalists. It leads to the inquiry though that how can esteem be lost if all dance instrumentalists are to be moving in the same manner and mode. Thus the inquiry is can it be so seemed as pervert.

In the last concluding chapters of “ Outsiders ” , Becker looks at jobs within the survey of aberrance, and notices and describes a deficiency of substance in the theory that exists, believing them to be unequal. Furthermore “ the most relentless trouble in the scientific survey of aberrant behavior is a deficiency of solid informations, a dearth of facts and information on which to establish our theories ” ( Becker 1997: 165 ) . Becker supposed that non adequate is known about aberrant groups such as homophiles, and that the spreads exist non merely with homophiles but with other aberrant groups excessively. In add-on, an account is offered and described on how entree to information and to the groups that are the focal point for survey is restricted, because those classed as foreigners in bend reciprocate that label to the remainder of society. In relation to juveniles he states that “ really few tell us in item what a juvenile delinquent does in his day-to-day unit of ammunition of activity and what he thinks about himself, society and his activities ” . He continues “ when we theorize about juvenile delinquency, we are hence in the place of holding to deduce the manner of life of the delinquent male child from fragmental surveies and journalistic histories ” instead that having the right cognition and information ( Becker 1997: 166 ) .

Questions were put frontward including as to how the research workers locate physicians who are drug-addicts themselves, or even homophiles of certain sorts. Many would desire to maintain their aberrance a secret. Becker even inquiries as to what stand-point the research worker will take, due to the many degrees of single features in any societal group ; more basically, how will a researcher remove any other factors that may act upon his survey beyond that which he intends to manipulate.A

“ Aberrant phenomena have long provided one of the focal point of sociological thoughtaˆ¦ our theoretical involvement in the nature of societal order combines with practical involvement in actions thought harmful to persons and society to direct your attending to the wide sphere of behavior diversely called offense, frailty, nonconformity, aberrance, eccentricity, or lunacy ” ( Becker 1997: 178 ) . Becker conveys how aberrance is shaped through the enforcement of regulations b those who define what aberrance is and so hunt for the wrongdoer or felon. It is form of institutional force ratified on the powerless outer groups to make an interior sense of solidarity.

Becker discusses a few unfavorable judgments of labelling theory. A farther unfavorable judgment mentioned is that interactionist theories of aberrance openly or covertly attack conventional morality. Becker ( 1997 ) acknowledges that his labelling theory is a theoretical attack, non a true theory. In add-on, Becker suggests that sociologists should try at set uping empirical trials for his attack. As good, Becker ( 1997 ) maintains that there are non adequate surveies and research on aberrant behavior ( Becker 1997 ) . He so further implies that there are non adequate surveies of adequate sorts of aberrant behavior. another lack of the labelling theory he puts frontward is that they do n’t hold adequate surveies in which the individuals making the research achieves close contact with those that they study, in order for them to go cognizant of the complex and multiplex character of the aberrant activity. Becker ( 1997 ) besides discusses the trouble affecting secretiveness. Numerous instances have shown aberrant persons to execute aberrant Acts of the Apostless in secretiveness and basically they do non wish or desire for their behavior to be known universally. This may be evident when we look at instances affecting homosexualism, with work forces in homosexual partnerships yet married as the society this book was written in did non O.K. of it.

In its entireness, the labelling theory has been imperative within the subject of Sociology. What is more, after extended critical analysis it appears to be apparent that the theory has been verified to be highly important in set uping a comparative organic structure of empirical research grounds on the sociological survey of offense and aberrance, and it is explained exhaustively in “ Foreigners ” . After an person has been labelled a pervert they so lead a life of offense and become perverts which is the chief focal point Becker stressed. They uphold for illustration their aberrant designation – the Organized Deviant Group – which is efficaciously a aberrant subculture in which the common facet is the shared committedness to a aberrant individuality.

Additionally Becker put forward that when analyzing and researching those who are aberrant, one should non take their aberrance for granted. This is due to the fact we can non presuppose that they had really committed a pervert or condemnable act therefore for the ground that the procedure of labelling theory may non be unfailing and dependable. In other words, merely because an person had been labelled pervert does non needfully intend that the person was one, or had been a pervert in the past.A

Some sociologists dispute the labelling theory and take a firm stand it is non truly a theory. Becker stressed the demand for more empirical research on his survey of it as he concluded Outsiders and many sociologists today have furthered his thoughts and accounts. However, the labelling theory will everlastingly stay utile every bit long as aberrant behavior exists in society. Critically, Becker focused on the manner society reacted to those that were labelled as “ felons ” . He insisted that this label became an person ‘s maestro position, which meant that this it was now a changeless label, impacting and over-riding their presentation and how others viewed them. No affair what other societal position the person may hold, they will ever be deemed as pervert. Critically analyzing the book, this was Becker ‘s chief focal point point. He declared that one may be from the upper category, possibly a sibling, parent or partner, a physician. Regardless of this the first and major position that everyone would concentrate on was the condemnable and aberrant label ( Becker 1997 ) .A

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