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Title: Labelling theory, the police, and juvenile delinquency
Author: Bennett, Trevor Hugh
ISNI:       0000 0001 3460 1304
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1977
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Labelling theory has not only fired the imagination of innumerable writers on deviance over the last decade or so at various theoretical and philosophic levels, but has inspired an expansion of empirical research directly or indirectly related to its principles. The present thesis is concerned with investigating both these areas of interest as they apply to criminal deviance. During the 1960's labelling theory emerged from the combined contribution of a number' of American publications, the substance of which seemed primarily to be focused on two major concerns. The first of these, referred to in the text as labelling as a 'dependent' variable, considers 'social labelling' as problematic and is directed towards the distribution of deviant/criminal labels. The second area of the approach, referred to as labelling as an 'independent' variable, considers the consequences of social labelling as problematic, and is concerned with the specific effects of labelling, and whether this might lead to deviant/criminal recidivism. Chapter One extracts, dissects, and rebuilds the details of these themes of the labelling theory literature, and attempts to formulate a number of testable propositions which might be used to direct the research to the dual issues of : "who gets labelled?', and the consequences of labelling. From this point the thesis is organised around the problem of how far contemporary research, and my own research, may offer some support or reject these propositions, and, in this operationa1 sense, examine the credibility of the basic assumption of labelling theory. Chapter 2 analyses recent research relating to labelling as a dependent variable and considers the results of both official data and observation studies with respect to the official labelling of adult and juvenile offenders. Chapter Three examines the epidemiology of juvenile crime through self-report investigations as a comparison to the results of Chapter Two, and as an alternative methodological approach to the problem of the social distribution of juvenile offenders. Chapter Four discusses the operation of the Metropolitan Juvenile Bureaux, the location for my own research, and Chapter Five examines the distribution of police disposition decisions for different types of offender processed by the Bureau. Chapter Six considers recent research relating to the consequences of official labelling for offender recidivism, and Chapter Seven compares this result to the Juvenile Bureau research data on multiple offenders. The final chapter, Chapter Eight, reconsiders the status of labelling theory in the light of recent criticism and research results, and questions the validity of various research methodologies for an examination of this kind.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: HV9069 Juvenile delinquency ; KD England and Wales