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NCJ Number: 120849 Find in a Library
Title: Labeling Perspective and Delinquency: An Elaboration of the Theory and an Assessment of the Evidence
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1989)  Pages:359-394
Author(s): R Paternoster; L Iovanni
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 36
Type: Best Practice/State-of-the-Art Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The labeling theory of deviance was extremely popular during the 1960s and 1970s, was questionable by 1980 and pronounced dead by 1985.
Abstract: The application of the labeling perspective in relation to juvenile delinquency is examined. The general theoretical origin of labeling theory in both conflict theory and symbolic interactionism is discussed and used to present two main labeling hypotheses: 1) that status attributes are influential in determining who is labeled (the "status characteristics hypotheses") and 2) that labeling experiences are instrumental in producing problems of adjustment and in causing subsequent commitment to further deviance (the "secondary deviance hypotheses"). It is noted that what is often passed off as a critique of labeling theory itself is frequently a caricature of the theory. The major point of the paper is an elaboration of the full complexity of each labeling hypothesis, a suggestion for empirical research to test it, and a review of the extant literature. It is suggested that labeling theory is not as invalid as its critics have claimed, and that what is needed is a restatement and revitalization of a labeling theory of delinquency. Over 150 references. (Publisher abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Labeling theory
Index Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation; Juvenile delinquency factors
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