Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: March 31, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781446200926 | Print ISBN: 9781412920384 | Online ISBN: 9781446200926| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 7: Labelling, Social Reaction and Social Constructionism
Labelling, social reaction and social constructionism Deviance is not a property inherent in certain forms of behaviour; it is a property conferred upon these forms by the audiences which directly or indirectly witness them. Sociologically, then, the critical variable in the study of deviance is the social audience , rather than the individual person… . Deviance may be conceived as a process by which the members of a group, community, or society (1) interpret behavior as deviant, (2) define persons who so behave as a certain kind of deviant, and (3) accord them the treatment considered appropriate to such deviants. Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label. This is a ...