This section has explored how sociologists have studied the social reactions to disorderly behaviour, beginning from Becker’s view that ‘deviance’ is not an intrinsic property of an act, but a label applied to it. This view enables the study of how:
- some behaviours (and some types of people) come to be defined and labelled as deviant
- the media play a role in defining deviance and creating social anxiety or moral panics about some types of behaviour (and some types of people)
- agencies of social control (the police and the criminal justice system) may act in ways that concentrate on some types of people rather than others
- crime and the fear of crime may play a significant role in politics, including as a displacement of other problems and crises.