Chuck Essay

1419 words - 6 pages

W.I. Thomas who, in 1928, wrote, "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, labeling theory or social reaction theory came to be out of a rejection of consensus theory or structural functionalism. Sociologists were beginning to study the aspects of different kinds of behavior. Labeling theory was just a theory until 1966 when Thomas J Scheff published his book called, Being Mentally Ill. His book stated that there are certain behaviors and actions that society views as deviant and those who engage in these types of behaviors are considered mentally ill or having a mental illness. Another labeling theorist was Frank Tannenbaum. His ...view middle of the document...

The deviant individual is then likely to accept the label that has been attached, seeing himself or herself as deviant, and act in a way that fulfills the expectations of that label. Even if the labeled individual does not commit any further deviant acts than the one that caused them to be labeled, getting rid of that label can be very hard and time-consuming. For example, it is usually very difficult for a convicted criminal to find employment after release from prison because of their label as ex-criminal. They have been formally and publicly labeled a wrongdoer and are treated with suspicion likely for the remainder of their lives.

In the case of Chuck, Ted father who comes home and finds his friends son going through kitchen drawers while on the table next to him lays his wife’s earrings, some money and a screwdriver. Immediately chuck is labeled and is assumed that he was in the process of robbing them. A police report was filed because the evidence was clear. He was labeled as a thief. Upon leaving my job last evening I noticed my coworker had something large and bulky underneath his jacket. Having known him for quite some time, the way he was carrying himself and his reaction to me, I immediately assumed he had stolen something. I labeled him as a thief. Upon closer examination he admitted he had taken a loaf of bread because he did not have any money to buy any. Afterwards, I began to think how much more has he taken. “Once a thief always a thief.”
Individuals who are arrested, prosecuted, and punished may be labeled as criminals. These people are viewed by others as criminals, and this increases the likelihood of subsequent crime for several reasons. Labeled individuals generally have trouble obtaining legitimate employment, which increases their level of strain and reduces their stake in conformity. Labeled individuals also find that conventional people are reluctant to associate with them, and they may associate with other criminals as a result. This reduces their bond with conventional others and fosters the social learning of crime. Labeled individuals may eventually come to view themselves as criminals and act in accord with this self-concept. Labeling and reacting to offenders as "criminals" has its negative consequences, aggravating the criminal behavior and making the crime problem worse. Criminal justice system could be "casting the net" (net-widening) of social control too widely. Net-widening, or state intervention, is inherently criminogenic. Being a "criminal" becomes a person's master status. It controls the way they are identified in public. People who are labeled deviant tend to lose contact with their conformist friends and start associating with similarly-labeled deviants.
As chuck makes his way through the justice system, he will experience many emotions and feelings such as shame, guilt, embarrassment, and will be stigmatized not only by his family but by his friend’s family as well as his own friend whom...

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