Skip to content
May 10, 2018 / C H Thompson

Interactionist perspective of crime – revision notes with evaluative points

Therefore Becker is arguing deviant behaviour only becomes identified as deviant when an act it’s labelled as such.

Those groups able to label acts as deviant are agents of social control, such as the mass media (deviancy amplification spiral) explains the media’s role in labelling process) and the police.


  • Cicourel (1968) looked at how law and enforcers make sense and interpret what they see by studying juvenile delinquency.
  • He found that the police viewed middle – class and working-class delinquency differently, even when they both committed the same actions -> officer typifications lead the police focusing on certain social groups
  • This can then lead to a cycle of the police patrolling the areas that have a high concentration of these people, leading to more arrests of these groups, resulting in the arrest rates serving to confirm their stereotypes about what is defined as criminal


  • Lemert (1951) argued two types of deviancy are socially constructed: primary deviance and secondary deviance
  • Primary deviance are deviant acts that haven’t been publicly labelled as deviant, such as labels set by teachers or parents. A primary label often doesn’t hold that much significance to the individual’s status as it is the result of a minor deviant act
  • Whereas secondary deviance is defined as an act that has been publicly labelled as deviant, and the consequences of this labelling can lead to the recipient adopting the ‘master status’ of a deviant


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: