Emile Durkheim 's Theory Of Anomie, Social Control Theory, And Labelling Theory

Emile Durkheim 's Theory Of Anomie, Social Control Theory, And Labelling Theory

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Emile Durkheim, considered to be the father of sociology, has had a major impact on the entire field of behavioral studies. However, his impact on criminology can be seen in almost all theories that have followed him. Using Durkheim’s incredibly dense work, many theorists have created their own theories using his arguments as a basis. He changed the field of criminology when he claimed that crime is a product of society not one of the individual himself. He shifted the focus from individual to society. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate Merton’s Theory of Anomie, Social Control Theory, and Labelling Theory from a Durkheimian perspective. In doing so, it will show how large of an impact Emile Durkheim has made on the field of criminology and what changes he may suggest if he were to evaluate the theories that followed him.
Emile Durkheim laid out two different types of what he calls, “social solidarity” (Topak, Lecture 4). The first he calls mechanical solidarity. This type of society mimics that of a traditional one. It is based on uniformity and a shared set of values. The people in the society conform to the norms in order to avoid a harsh judgement from fellow citizens as well as a repressive penal system. Harsh punishment in this type of society is believed to replenish the collective consciousness of the society. The collective consciousness refers to the beliefs, values and norms that are common to all in the society (Topak, Lecture 4). Durkheim also recognizes a society based on organic solidarity. This society is seen prominently in modern societies, post-industrialism. He says that there is a large and complex division of labour. The society relies on mutual dependency to survive. Here, there is less conformity to...


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...ll agree with the main ideas of Travis Hirschi and Social Control Theory. He would agree with their policy implications on integrating everyone into the society and making everyone apart of some sort of social bond. However, he would disregard their suggestion about implementing self-control in children as he would not see this as important.
The last theory that this essay will examine is Labelling theory. The main idea of this theory is that individuals will begin to accept the labels given to them by society. Therefore, labelling people as criminal is bad and may cause further deviancy where it would not have without the label. Howard Becker was one of the main labelling theorists. He wrote the book called Outsiders. This book explained that the social reaction to rule-breakers who are labelled as deviants or outsiders is what defines deviancy (Topak, Lecture 09).

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