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Criminology Theories. A glimpse into the future - Case Study Example

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Labeling theory described by Becker (1963) was based on certain groups within society behaving in a way that was considered an act of primary deviance and accordingly these people became isolated from mainstream society…
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Criminology Theories. A glimpse into the future
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Criminology Theories Assignment Two A glimpse into the future Affiliation] May 2007 The world looks pretty bleak in 2057 as gas resources are no longer available and people get around in slower and more eco-friendly methods of transport. Global warming has pushed populations away from the coasts and inland because of rising tide lines and from a personal perspective the smoking of nicotine and other tobacco related products has been illegal for the past thirty years. So what does this do to the concepts of criminology
Labeling theory described by Becker (1963) was based on certain groups within society behaving in a way that was considered an act of primary deviance and accordingly these people became isolated from mainstream society. However, because of the stigma attached to the primary deviance, these same people often consciously considered a form of secondary deviance behavior that reinforced the beliefs of the same mainstream society that shunned them in the first place. It is my contention that with smoking outlawed, that the people who had been addicted to the substance before it was made illegal would have continued to smoke, but the process would have involved a number of illegal activities and hidden behaviors given the social condemnation of the act. These would include behaviors such as growing tobacco plants, harvesting and selling the substances, much in the same way marijuana is being grown and distributed in society today.
It is clear that the changes mentioned in this case scenario would impact the types of laws that are of importance to society. For example it would appear that traffic offences and deaths would be substantially reduced due to the changes in transportation, and that inner urban areas would become more crowded as people moved from high population areas such as Florida for example, inland to where they were less likely to be affected by flooding. Whether this would cause problems in terms of law enforcement or criminal behavior is difficult to ascertain as it is anticipated that the society alive in 2057 is going to be very different than the society we live in today. People will have to be more environmentally careful and this could result in an increase in legislation designed to protect living beings and habitats. Businesses too would have to be more environmentally accountable and this too would cause changes within society itself.
Subculture theory is similar in some ways to labelling theory but under subculture theory groups of individuals make a conscious choice to act differently that the mainstream. Brake writes, "Subcultures exist where there is some form of organized and recognized constellation of values, behavior and actions which is responded to as differing from the prevailing set of norms" (Brake, 1985, p. 8). In our current society people who do care for the environment or are considered activists because of their beliefs could be considered a subculture of our society. However given the scenario for the future it is equally likely that those individuals who are considered part of a subculture now, would in fact become mainstream in future societies. This would suggest a shift in thinking among lawmakers, which could of course have ramifications on all areas of life that the legal system impacts today.
Is it possible that from a criminology perspective that society as we know it could so radically change so as to ignore the concepts of decency and ethics that our original legal system was based on It is not only possible but it has been proven to be historically plausible. The only difference in future societies could simply be that the labels, or methodology we categorize people with today will have changed parameters, but while rehabilitation rather than retribution and common decency rather than anarchy pervade mainstream society, it is unlikely that the model of society seen in the Mad Max movies for example, will ever actually come to pass.
Becker, H. (1963). Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. NY: Free Press
Brake, M. (1985). Comparative youth culture: the sociology of youth cultures and youth subcultures in America, Britain, and Canada. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Read More
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