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Discovering disorder: young people and delinquency
Discovering disorder: young people and delinquency

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3.7 Summary

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.