Interactionism and Labeling Theories

Interactionism and Labeling Theories

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Interactionism and Labeling Theories

Crime is considered a negative force in any society. There are different theories and approaches to explain crime and how to do away with it and some of these include interactionism and labeling theories. Interactionism tries to explain the link that exists between crime itself and the social forces which a person has no control over (Williams & McShane, 2018). On the other hand labeling theories view crime from the point whereby the society labels individuals are deviant and therefore commuting crimes.

Interactionism theories hold that crime is as a result of societal structures and formations like patriarchy, consensus and class. The theory brings out its arguments through feminism theory, Marxism and functionalism (Greer, & Reiner, 2014). Therefore these three theories explain how a crime can be considered a crime due to the social conventions for example under patriarchy that a woman is supposed to behave in a certain way and not the other way.

Labeling theory states that the society has the power to govern itself and they always do away with what they feel is not appropriate for them (Brownfield, & Thompson, 2008). Therefore what happens is that the society gives labels to different people who do different things which are against the social conventions in place. For example if a person steals they are labeled as thieves since stealing is a negative vice undesired in that community and society.


Brownfield, D., & Thompson, K. (2008). Correlates of Delinquent Identity: Testing Interactionist, Labeling, and Control Theory. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 3(1).Greer, C., & Reiner, R. (2014). Labelling, Deviance and Media.

Williams III, F.P., & McShane, M.D. (2018). Criminological theory (7th ed.). New York: Pearson.

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