Lecture 17

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Information about Lecture 17
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Published on November 22, 2007

Author: Woofer

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Labeling Theory:  Labeling Theory Quiz # 3 What is a gang? (academic definition):  What is a gang? (academic definition) Walter Miller (1975) interviewed law enforcement personnel and social service professionals who dealt with youth gangs He brought together some of the major variables into one of the better working definitions of the term ‘gang” What is a gang? (academic definition):  What is a gang? (academic definition) “A gang is a group of recurrently associating individuals with identifiable leadership and internal organization, identifying or claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent or other forms of illegal behavior” James Short (1987) :  James Short (1987) Set of definitional criteria Recurrent congregation outside the home; Self-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria and continuity of affiliation; A territorial basis consisting of customary hanging and ranging areas, including self-defined use-and-occupancy rights; A versatile activity repertoire; Organizational differentiation, e.g., by authority, role, prestige, friendship, or special interest cliques Members have their own definitions:  Members have their own definitions A 16-year-old gang member in Hartfold, Connecticut was able to summarize the camaraderie, mutualism, and male bonding in his definition: “What is a gang? You look out for me and I look out for you – that is what makes a gang” (Ramos, 1987) Symbolic Interactionism:  Symbolic Interactionism There is no “reality “out there Do you agree with this assumption? What we have is different interpretations of reality Do you have a different perception of the reality than most of the people? Slide7:  Who is the most beautiful actress/actor in Hollywood? Who is the most prominent musician of all times? What is the best movie of all times? What is the best place for having dinner in Pullman? Symbolic Interactionism:  Symbolic Interactionism Focus on the subjective aspects of social life, rather than on objective Humans are pragmatic actors who continually must adjust their behavior to the actions of other actors We can adjust to these actions only because we are able to interpret them, i.e., treat the actions and those who perform them as symbolic objects Symbolic Interactionism:  Symbolic Interactionism Social construction of reality People created the “reality” and then forget about this People treat “constructed” reality as something real and powerful Which is the “real presentation” of you vision of a book?:  Which is the “real presentation” of you vision of a book? There is no “book”, only various images of it from different points of view. And all the different images are equally “true” Let’s apply this logic to a social situation:  Let’s apply this logic to a social situation Husband’s point of view Let’s apply this logic to a social situation:  Let’s apply this logic to a social situation Wife’s point of view Alcohol :  Alcohol Power of symbols :  former US embassy in Tehran (Iran) Power of symbols Different people – different “realities”:  Different people – different “realities” Cultural differences Money vs paper Different “realities” within your own culture:  Different “realities” within your own culture All misunderstandings and problems happen because people have different interpretations of reality Take 5 minutes and think of any examples of different “realities” within your culture? Symbolic Interactionism:  Symbolic Interactionism Symbols are very powerful (they represent something else to more than one person) We use symbols to convey a particular meaning Symbolic intercationists have developed labeling theory that focuses on significance of labels (names, reputations) given to people Power of labels:  Power of labels Society creates deviants through a labeling process When we label something/someone we see them differently Any examples? Labeled people might also see themselves differently Power of labels :  Power of labels Who is an actor and who is a killer? :  Who is an actor and who is a killer? The power of Labels: The Saints and the Roughnecks:  The power of Labels: The Saints and the Roughnecks Both groups were “constantly occupied with truancy, drinking, wild parties, vandalism” Not one Saints had been arrested (no arrest , no negative label) (”Headed for success”) Roughnecks had been in a constant trouble with police (“headed for trouble) Why? (social class allowed Saints to be less visible, to be more sophisticated in interactions) The power of label and expectations :  The power of label and expectations The Pygmalion Effect (1960’s) Teacher’s expectations influence children’s performance 20 percents of the students were labeled “blooming” academically A year later the same intelligence test shown that labeled students gained much more points Labeling Theory:  Labeling Theory It's not the harm that makes an act "criminal", but whether the label is conferred on the act The audience, not the actor, determines when certain behavior becomes defined as crime Labeling Theory of Deviance:  Labeling Theory of Deviance All people break rules and engage in deviance at one time or another They even break serious rules for which they could be jailed (vandalism, rape, drinking and driving, tax violations) Yet, only some people get the label of deviant... Labeling Theory (political view):  Labeling Theory (political view) "rule breaking does not make a deviant" deviance is created through a political process certain groups have the power to define others as deviant these groups have the power to force rule breakers to play the role of deviant and to think of themselves as deviant... Key Premises of Labeling Theory :  Key Premises of Labeling Theory Most people engage in some rule breaking behavior that falls under the category of primary deviance Primary Deviance is nonconformity that is temporary, exploratory, trivial or easily concealed... This kind of deviance typically goes undetected. Key Premises of Labeling Theory:  Key Premises of Labeling Theory However, the situation changes significantly if a person's deviant acts are discovered and made public The person may then be officially labeled as "deviant" (e.g., as nut, weirdo, pervert, criminal, etc ) Key Premises of Labeling Theory:  This application of a label is a crucial event A label is particularly powerful and "sticky" when applied to a person Labels can become a "master status" - i.e., a status through which all other behavior and characteristics become interpreted Ex-convicts rarely can find a good job or friends Key Premises of Labeling Theory Secondary Deviance:  Secondary Deviance Secondary deviance is the process that occurs when a person who has been labeled a deviant accepts that new identity and continues the deviant behavior (Kendall, 1998) Labeling someone as deviant tends to force him to identify himself as deviant and to associate with other deviants, which in turn reinforces his deviance and leads him down the path of a deviant "career" Becker’s theory :  Becker’s theory Primary deviance is the first "step", and this primary act may be either intentional or unintentional (Becker 1963) The second "step" on the way to secondary deviance and a career in crime involves the acceptance of the deviant label The final step in the creation of a career delinquent involves the movement of a rule breaker into a deviant subculture (differential association) Becker’s theory :  Becker’s theory Institutions of social control--(police, courts, corrections) create public stereotypes that force individuals into criminal roles: fear of recidivism inability to find work deprivation of basic rights Becker’s theory :  Becker’s theory Law and social control institutions differentially applied on basis of race, power, status, wealth over-representation of minorities in arrests and prosecutions white-collar crime Becker (1963):  Becker (1963) Focuses on those in positions of power and authority that make and enforce the rules Rules are created by a “moral entrepreneur”, a person that takes the initiative to crusade for a rule that would right a society evil Four types of citizens (Becker, 1963):  Four types of citizens (Becker, 1963) The members of society that are rule-abiding and free of labels are described as conforming citizens Those who are labeled without breaking a rule are termed the falsely accused Those citizens that exhibit rule breaking behavior and are labeled deviant are referred to as pure deviants Those that break rules yet avoid labeling are called secret deviants Dance musicians (Becker’s study):  Dance musicians (Becker’s study) Participant observation study of the lives of Chicago dance musicians to illustrate the social life of a deviant subculture Although dance musicians as a group are law-abiding, their unconventional lifestyles lead them to feel as outsiders Becker (1963) describes how being a dance musician involves a change in attitudes and opinions in order to conform to the subculture Dance musicians (Becker’s study):  The culture of the dance musician is rich in its own language and gestures Many of the dance musicians live a conventional family life during the day and change into their role as musician at night Dance musicians (Becker’s study) Thomas Scheff’s research:  Thomas Scheff’s research A popular application of Becker's labeling theory is in the area of mental health He describes how people are labeled mentally ill in order to explain certain rule-breaking behavior that society can't categorize People labeled as mentally ill adopt the behaviors of the stereotypical mental patient as portrayed through the mass media Thomas Scheff’s research:  Thomas Scheff’s research Scheff argues that those who express the stereotypical behavior of the mentally ill are rewarded by enterprising psychology professionals everybody expresses the popular symptoms of mental illness at some point in their life and labels are attached to those without power Scheff provides empirical evidence in the form of several studies of the process of mental hospital commitment Quiz # 4:  Quiz # 4

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