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Labelling, Deviance and Media

Greer, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-8623-702X (2014). Labelling, Deviance and Media. In: Bruinsma, G. & Weisburd, D. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. (pp. 2814-2823). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_181


Labelling theory is a perspective that emerged as a distinctive approach to criminology during the 1960s, and was a major seedbed of the radical and critical perspectives that became prominent in the 1970s. It represented the highpoint of an epistemological shift within the social sciences away from positivism – which had dominated criminological enquiry since the late-1800s – and toward an altogether more relativistic stance on the categories and concepts of crime and control. It inspired a huge amount of work throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and still resonates powerfully today. This short chapter maps out some of the ways in which labelling, deviance, media and justice interact at the levels of definition and process. It presents an overview and analysis of key mediatised labelling processes, such as the highly influential concept of moral panics. It discusses how the interconnections between labelling, crime and criminal justice are changing in a context of technological development, cultural change and media proliferation. The conclusion offers an assessment and evaluation of labelling theory’s long-term impact on criminology.

Publication Type: Book Section
Publisher Keywords: labelling theory, labelling perspective
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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