Teenage Pregnancy and Crime

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teenage pregnancy and crime

Lecture One
Theoretical perspectives: early beginnings to present day
Lecture Two
Feminist challenges to youth and trouble: focus on teenage pregnancy and crime
The academic literature on `delinquent youth’ arises in part from official concern over young people’s activities outside direct adult supervision by parents, teachers or employers.
Griffin, C. (1993) Representations of Youth: The Study of
Adolescence in Britain and America, Cambridge: Polity
Press.
and:
A set of concerns about the activities of young people and their supervision by institutions or individuals representing the social order.
Johnston, L. (1993:96) The Modern Girl: Girlhood and Growing Up, Sydney: Allen & Unwin
Youth and trouble: theoretical perspectives
Biological determinism
Psychological theories
Sociological theories
Blumer’s symbolic interactionism rests on three premises: humans act towards things on the basis of meanings that the things have for them the meaning of things is derived from, or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with one’s fellows these meanings are handled in and modified through an interpretative process used by the person in dealing with the things he encounters.
Hester & Eglin, 1992.
In relation to criminal behaviour, symbolic interactionists concentrate on processes of social interaction in which: certain behaviour is prohibited by law, i.e. the process of crime definition through legislation certain acts and persons become subject to law enforcement, i.e. the process of crime selection by the police certain acts and persons become fitted with the label `criminal’ i.e. the process of crime interpretation by the courts criminal identity is developed, maintained and transformed (e.g.notion of careers).
Labelling theorists interpret deviance not as a set of characteristics of individuals or groups, but as a process of interaction between deviants and non-deviants.
Giddens, 1997: 178
Deviance is not the quality of the act a 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.
Becker, 1963:9
Critique of labelling theory
Some acts are intrinsically wrong, such as murder.
There are differences e.g. people from a deprived background may shoplift more than rich people; although deviant behaviour may increase after conviction, there may be other prior explanations for this.
Labelling theory did not fully explain how what came to be seen as deviant was defined – the questions whose definitions, whose interests and why were not explored.
Mainstream vs radical
The mainstream perspective is positivist, empiricist and conservative, presenting itself as an apolitical and objective project.

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