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CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORIES -labeling theory ch 8 Thinking about the labeling theory in terms of criminology as a dependent or independent variable one is met with many implications of the complex theory It is difficult to trace stigmatizing labels because to do so one must think of a society that is oppositional by nature as opposed to a core group of its inhabitants And it is also difficult to determine at times even through the ostensibly objective ocular of sociological and anthropological study which attempts in its own way to see its own nurturing culture as other whether the application of labels is simply a matter of socio- economic oppression Thinking about how labeling theory has implications in the present day one is drawn towards the intense media scrutiny that has been given in recent years to the issue of racial profiling among law enforcement officers This could be an instance of the agents of control who function on behalf of the powerful in society imposing the labels on the less powerful Akers 1994 p 24 In this case the label is furnished to designate and limit an individual as a criminal whether they are guilty or not The second main point of labeling theory that deviant behavior may be spawned by such labeling seems more suspect under close scrutiny It is doubtful that deviant labeling would in all cases cause the labeled to become anything but oppositional to the force behind the labeling rather than compliant In my opinion labeling theory is valuable in evaluating crime but I believe that a shift of focus is necessary from evaluation to prevention and education Thinking of racial profiling as labeling it seems to be less of
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