Critically assess the primary arguments in Outsiders

Arguing that sociable deviance is a more common sensation than perceived and that conventional intelligence that public deviants are pathological is incorrect

Howard S. Becker, delivered April 18th 1928, is a well known renowned American Sociologist. Of all his many writings, 'Outsiders', which was written in 1963, is one of his most imperative and prominent works, thought to be critical classical research within the self-control of sociology and deviance. It could be said that it's one of Becker's most well-known bits of work which offered main and clearest explanations for the 'labelling theory'. 'Outsiders' is still a seminal content material on the Interactionist's approach to deviance in society today. He claims that "the outsider - the deviant from group rules - has been the subject of much speculation, theorizing, and study" (Becker 1997: 3). Howard Becker elaborates the study of deviance specifically from a interpersonal point of view, and considers the techniques by which people or different types of acts come to be labelled as deviant. His ideas and arguments are based after his idea that deviance is not really a quality of any bad person but it's the result of someone characterizing and labelling someone's activity as bad.

This essay asks one to critically assess the main arguments Becker puts forward in Outsiders. Becker models the foundations for his ideas on 'labelling theory' in his book and furthers the notions of other Sociologists such as Edwin Lemert. Lemert has been commonly acknowledged with being the creator and one of the firsts to discuss what has been called the "Societal Response" theory. In Lemert's booklet 'Public Pathology' written in 1951, Lemert summarized an approach which has been viewed and regarded as an original version of the 'labelling theory'. In his publication he targets the social construction of deviance and explained deviance to be the merchandise of society's reaction to an take action and the affixing of an deviant label to the actor. The booklet explains the concepts of principal and extra deviance and relating to Lemert; main deviance is the initial incidence of any act causing someone of power to label the actor as deviant. This first labelling of any act deemed deviant would stay primary for as long as the actor can rationalize the process as a function of any socially appropriate role (Lemert 1951). Aswell as discussing the idea of labelling, Becker appraises the process in where users of marihuana become labelled as deviants and discusses jazz music. The primary objective is to try and critically assess and analyse the ideas and themes or templates contained within the reserve and examine his quarrels.

The publication was written in the 60s and as a consequence it is quite out-of-date, and although some of his ideas and ideas are relevant in the current society, some of them cannot in context. Furthermore he uses the term `Negros' somewhat than African American to describe dark-colored people and he sets homosexuality into the same deviant group such as alcoholics, gamblers and people who are on drugs.

In Becker's book he cash and furthers the word labelling theory. It points out that "if individuals or organizations are thought as deviant, you will see important and often unanticipated repercussions at the level of behaviour" (Abercrombie et al. 1988: 132).

Chapter one clarifies what deviance is and Becker argues the limitations of existing makes an attempt to identify deviance. He described for deviance to can be found, the behaviour should be first observed and then judged to be deviant. Becker stated that "social categories create deviance by causing the guidelines whose infraction constitutes deviance; and through the use of those guidelines to particular people and labelling them outsiders" (Becker 1997: 9). "Whenever a rule is enforced, the person who is likely to have broken it could be regarded as a special kind of person, one can't be trusted to live by the tiles agreed on by the group. He is regarded as an outsider" (Becker 1997: 3). Furthermore, Becker highlights that what one may determine as a deviant; another perhaps in another society wouldn't normally. Furthermore "the individual who is thus labelled an outsider may have a new view of the problem" and may believe those that have judged them never to be "legitimately entitled to do this" so then the rule breakers may see those that judged as outsiders. Becker stated that different interpersonal groups created deviance by causing the rules whose infraction constituted deviance and through the use of those rules to particular people and labelling them as "outsiders". Becker stated that after you have been ascribed as a deviant, they then progress down the road of a 'deviant career' as that is what they are labelled as. This then becomes hard to get rid of. Becker stated though that whenever we are studying individuals who are deviant we ought to not take their deviance for granted because of the fact we "cannot believe that these folks have actually determined a deviant action or destroyed some rule, because the process of labelling theory might not exactly be infallible". Furthermore, an individual who has been labelled as a deviant may well not have devoted the action intentionally believing that it was in simple fact deviant. In addition, this does not indicate that the individual was even a deviant before which is a critical study of the book. When a person is labelled so by society, then they recognize this label so because they now seem themselves as criminals then they will probably keep on their deviant behavior (Becker 1997). Deviant becomes a grasp position, it becomes the key definition in the eye of the wider society of who and what you are.

In chapter two Becker tips outs and expresses that he is not "here to argue that only functions which are regarded as deviant by others are "really" deviant (Becker 1997: 19). If we understand this in relation to homosexuality, in the 60s it was regarded as a unlawful offence but too those who have been homosexual it was who they were. Becker clarifies two the latest models of of deviance; the simultaneous and sequential models. The simultaneous cases that one behaviours occur because of this of a number of variables arising at the same time and the sequential model contends that one behaviours are brought on by collection of occurrences. Becker criticises the implicit theoretical assumption in standard which makes an attempt to describe deviancy; that factor operate all together and seek to "predict" behaviour.

Becker used juvenile delinquency as an example and discussed and argued that from the busted home or within an environment with negative affects will not always lead to juvenile delinquency but rather would be one of some sequential situations or circumstances. The sequential model in addition is too visible in the next two chapters which detail and explain how one learns the techniques of how to use marihuana which along the way assists the forming of an individual individuality. this may include getting started with a communal group where the drug is offered and learning their techniques how to smoke. For example, "most users agree that it can't be smoked like tobacco if the first is to get high" (Becker 1997: 46). Furthermore "without the utilization of some such strategy the medication will produce no effects and an individual will struggle to get high".

In regards to a musician job, which is one of the subject areas Becker discusses, he explained that Customers of the musician's demographic go from being `normal' family men to dance musicians, adapting to the needs of that sub-culture as they actually so. For example, a musician may feel pressurized and pressured into participating in 'commercial' music to meet identified demand, even if that is not the sort of music they wished to play or produce. Musicians in general constantly adjust their music to the needs of these sub-culture, even if this means compromising the grade of their music. Because of this they may have been seen to be "selling out", loosing their "integrity" and in addition they might have lost the value off their musical counterparts. In today's society this can be apparent in hip hop, numerous people complaining that the integrity of the genre has truly gone with record product labels interested on what sells more, somewhat than good music. In relation to deviance, Becker linked it and described the processes through which dance musicians find are deviant. Even though their culture may be different compared to that of an ordinary job, what they do is no different to what occurs in the music industry today. A favorite quote found in show business is "it's not what you understand, it's who you know" and it is merely as imperative and important today as it was back in the 1960s. Nevertheless there is a contradiction when Becker talks about losing the respect of other boogie musicians. It causes the question though that how do esteem be lost if all dance musicians act in the same way and manner. Thus could it be looked like deviant.

The final section talks about problems and sympathies within the study of deviance, where Becker describes too little substance in the theories that exist, believing those to be faulty or inadequate. He believes that not enough is well known about deviant communities such as homosexuals, and spaces exist not simply with homosexuals but with other deviant categories. He also explains how usage of information and to the groupings that are the focus for research is restricted, because those classed as outsiders subsequently reciprocate that label to the others of world; this sorts part of element of safety on the deviant's part. Questions are posed, such as `how do research workers find doctors who are drug-addicts themselves, or even homosexuals of certain types? Becker even asks what stand-point the researcher will need, because of the many degrees of individual characteristics in virtually any public group; essentially, how will a researcher remove other factors that could influence his research beyond that which he intends to control.

The work analysing how deviance is socially built is revelatory. This has pure occurrence. Becker shows how deviance is established through the appliance of rules by people who determine deviance and then search for the miscreants. It is form of institutional assault enacted on the powerless outer groups to build an internal sense of camaraderie; the socially included.

Becker examines some of the criticisms and seems that labelling theory was created as a means of taking a look at a general portion of real human activity (1963). Furthermore he shows that it was created as a way of taking a look at a general section of individuals activity (1963).

However, it isn't a theory, with all the achievements and commitments that select the title, neither is it focussed exclusively on the action of labelling as some have thought. Furthermore, Becker does talk about some of the criticisms given to labelling theory. For instance, he declares how interactionist theories have been accused of presenting help and comfort to the enemy, be the enemy those who upset the stableness of the prevailing order of the Establishment. In essence, we have already mentioned the advice of Erikson that deviance is a necessary part of society, displaying the difference between right and incorrect, and encouraging the majority of world to toe the brand at the trouble of the deviant minority. A further criticism stated by Becker is the fact that given by many conservative critics (although other non-conservative critics also have noted this) that is, that interactionist theories of deviance openly or covertly assault typical morality. Becker acknowledges this, suggesting that intentionally or otherwise, these are corrosive of typical settings of thought and proven establishments. Becker (1967) goes as far as to state that the labelling theorist must part with the deviator, as it is up to the sociologists to remedy unfair situations. However, not all theorists would start to see the work of Becker and the other labelling theorists as quite so radical. As a matter of fact, many sociologists view labelling theory as an untestable and untrue theory. Furthermore, Becker (1963) acknowledges that his labelling theory is a theoretical approach, not a true theory. Aswell, Becker shows that sociologists should attempt establishing empirical exams for his strategy. Aswell, further criticism is given because of the fact that, following behaviour habits is the mere consequence of the behaviour habits being ascribed to it. Second of all, he suggests that while considering a lot more usual, each day types of deviance, such as homosexuality, prostitution, and juvenile delinquency, the labelling theorists have totally ignored a far more dangerous and malevolent kind of deviance, what Liazos himself terms covert institutional assault. He suggests that this kind of violence causes specific things like poverty and exploitation, the conflict in Vietnam, unjust duty laws, racism, sexism, etc. . . (1972). However, it is doubtful whether labelling theorists should even try to discuss kinds of deviance such as this in the same way as more commonplace individual crimes, or if the two should be placed totally split, being so different in subject material. Liazos also criticises the labelling theorists as they don't consider the magnitude of the value of electric power in their substantive analysis, although all stress its importance. He says that the truly powerful, the upper classes and the energy elite, the ones that could be referred to as the most notable dogs, are not considered in any great fine detail by the labelling theorists. A further criticism of the labelling theory is that of Jack Gibb (1966). He questions the success of the labelling theorists in conditions of how they interpret the defining of behaviour as deviant, as well as, how much research is really done in this area. Furthermore, Becker (1963) is out of his way to clarify the main problems of labelling theory. First of all, he suggests that there aren't enough studies of deviant behaviour. He further means that there aren't enough studies of enough varieties of deviant behaviour. Finally, he insists that another deficiency of the labelling theory is that they don't have sufficient studies where the persons doing the study achieve close connection with those that they study, to allow them to become aware of the complicated and manifold character of the deviant activity. Becker (1963) also talks of the issue with secrecy. As a matter of known fact, oftentimes the deviant individual performs deviant works in secrecy and will not wish this behavior to be known universally. For instance, in the results found by Humphreys in his study of the `Tearoom Trade`, lots of the individuals partaking in homosexual behaviour were hitched with children. When asked later in questionnaires about their views on homosexuality, very few admitted to browsing the tearooms.

In its entirety, the labelling theory has been crucial within the discipline of Sociology. Furthermore, after comprehensive critical analysis it appears to be evident that the theory has shown to be very significant in establishing a member of family body of empirical research information on the study of crime and deviance. After an individual has been labelled a deviant they then lead a life of crime and become deviants which is the key focus Becker pressured. Nevertheless, Becker also remarked that when learning deviant people you need to not take their deviance for awarded, as you cannot presuppose that they had actually determined a deviant or legal act for the reason that the procedure of labelling theory might not exactly be foolproof and reliable. In other words, to be labelled deviant will not necessarily mean that the individual is, or has been deviant before.

Some sociologists dispute the labelling theory and insist it isn't really a theory. Becker pressured the need to get more detailed empirical research on his study of computer as he concluded Outsiders and many sociologists today have furthered his ideas and explanations. Nevertheless, the labelling theory will permanently remain useful so long as deviant behaviour is accessible in modern culture. Critically, Becker focuses on the way culture reacts to people with "criminal" product labels. He proposes that this label becomes someone's master status, meaning that this is a frequent label, impacting and over-riding how others will view them. The position people use to identify and classify a person will be that of a unlawful and no matter what other social status the average person has, they will always be deemed deviant. He announced that one may be someone high in class, perhaps a sibling, parent or guardian or spouse however the first and major status that everyone would give attention to was the unlawful and deviant label (Becker 1963).

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