Knife Crime Epidemic And Effects It Causes Criminology Essay

Britain is in the clasp of a knife offense epidemic. This is the feeling one gets from the media: every hebdomad seems to convey new narratives of knifing and slaying among metropolis young person. But why are these childs prosecuting in such activity? This quotation mark suggests that immature people who carry knives do so ‘protection ‘ , position and peer force per unit area. The media besides plays a portion by reenforcing the thought that everyone else is transporting a arm. Finally, the quotation mark claims socially excluded immature people from dysfunctional households are more likely to utilize knives. The first portion this essay will foremost give an overview of the labelling attack and societal building theory, it will so travel on to see whether immature people are in fact prosecuting in knife offense because of the above grounds, or whether it is merely a effect of the labelling procedure.

The labelling theory devotes small attempt in explicating why certain persons begin to prosecute in aberrance. Rather, it stresses the importance of the procedure through which society defines acts as pervert and the function of negative societal reactions in act uponing persons to prosecute in subsequent Acts of the Apostless. The labelling theoreticians shift their attending off from persons and their actions and toward the moral force of societal definition that peculiar Acts of the Apostless or histrions are aberrant.[ 1 ]

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The first labelling theoretician was Frank Tannenbaum ( 1938 ) , he suggested the individual who is labelled, later becomes the thing he is being described as. Whether that label be given by those who would penalize, or by those who would reform. In either instance the accent is upon the behavior that is being disapproved of. The harder the condemnable justness system works to reform the immorality, the greater the immorality will turn and the harder it will go to stamp down the bad behavior. He claimed the manner out was through a refusal to ‘dramatize the immorality ‘ . The lupus erythematosus said about it the better. The more said about something else, still better.[ 2 ]

Taylor et all ( 1973 ) reinforced the labelling theory by proposing that the manner a halt will be put to deviant behavior is: ‘to create a society in which the facts of human diverseness, whether personal, organic or societal, are non subjected to the power to criminalize ‘ .[ 3 ]

Sociologist Haword Becker ( 1963 ) , recognised aberrance is non a quality that lies in the behavior itself but in the interaction between the individual who commits an act, and those who respond to it[ 4 ]. A good manner to show this point is by mentioning to the survey of ‘opiate usage ‘[ 5 ]by the sociologist Alfred Ray Lindesmith, his findings demonstrated how a individual becomes cognizant of their dependence. In kernel it is non the drug that makes the individual an nut, the dependence is a consequence of societal definition. When others label them as nuts, so the individual excessively comes to specify himself as an nut. In other words behavior is non inherently aberrant or normal but is defined and labelled that manner. So how does the labelling procedure work?

Erikson ( 1975 ) , the laminitis of the labelling theory, describes two chief phases to the labelling procedure. The first phase involves ‘primary aberrance ‘ , which is the initial condemnable act, after which a individual may be labelled as pervert or condemnable, but does non yet accept this function. So the individual does non see himself as a felon. It is this deficiency of sing that separates primary aberrance from the following phase, 2nd aberrance.

Secondary aberrance involves a “ position debasement ceremonial ” This begins by a formal confrontation between the pervert and the functionaries, as in the condemnable test ; this is so followed by an proclamation of the finding of fact, and eventually the pervert is assigned with a particular function, like a captive which redefines his place in society. Harmonizing to Tannenbaum ( 1938 ) , formal proceedings signify the “ dramatisation of immorality ” , whereby the act is publicly announced and defined as immoral. News of the formal countenance will so distribute across the community taking to others besides labelling him as ‘deviant ‘ . The single eventually accepts the condemnable label ; their ego construct is changed from ‘normal ‘ to ‘deviant ‘ . Harmonizing to Lemert, ‘This becomes a mean of defense mechanism, onslaught, or adaptation to the jobs caused by social reaction to primary divergence ” .[ 6 ]This procedure can besides take topographic point in a more elusive manner every bit good. For illustration, the household of pervert may go withdrawn and distance themselves from him in letdown, irrespective of whether a formal charge has occurred.

Consequently, the labelling theory suggests: if the single accepts this negative ‘criminal ‘ label that has been applied, they are so more likely to go on prosecuting in the behavior that the label was ab initio meant to command. In other words the label leads the aberrant person to follow a self-fulfilling prognostication conforming to impute label, doing them to take aberrant callings.

For illustration, if a individual is caught transporting a knife, but is non apprehended or labelled as pervert, that individual is more likely to waive such behaviors in the hereafter. However, if the individual is apprehended and labelled as a “ condemnable ” , so the individual is later more likely to alter his individuality as a remainder of the exclusion felt by the person from “ normal modus operandis ” or ‘conventional chances ‘ , and increased contact with the pervert groups.

Having explained the theory, this essay will now complect the labelling theory with the quotation mark. The quotation mark itself suggests “ most ” immature people carry knives for: protection, position and peer force per unit area. The sensed demand for protection is compounded by the sense, reinforced by the media coverage of stabbings, that everyone is transporting a arm, every bit good as experience of exploitation. In footings of socially excluded immature people from dysfunctional households are more likely to prosecute in knife usage.

For immature people, the passage from childhood to adult can be instead confounding, their grownup individuality is non yet developed and so they frequently become bewildered as to their ain place within society. George Herbert Mead claimed an single develops a sense of ego through how others perceive them, he coined this as the “ looking glass ego ”[ 7 ]He suggested as kids develop, they become more cognizant of their ain societal place and others around them, and later become concerned about the demands and outlooks of others and of the larger society. To show this point, he used a hoops game as an illustration, to demo kids, like hoops participants, must take into history the functions of all participants, every bit good as see their ain function.[ 8 ]

This symbolic interaction to the survey of aberrance focal points on the procedure by which the wider societal audience creates aberrance and perverts by specifying the Acts of the Apostless and histrions that manner. The job with specifying immature people as either “ knife bearers ” or “ knife users ” is that the term “ knife offense ” encompasses a really wide scope of offenses, and makes no distinguish between existent carrying and utilizing. Furthermore, knife offense statistics are every bit as hard to quantify due to miss of lucidity. The offenses recorded involve ‘sharp instruments ‘ these might really mention to screwdrivers, broken bottles or glass, non a knife. Similarly offences listed as “ endangering another individual with a arm ” might affect sticks, stones or other objects every bit good as knives. Furthermore certain types of knife may be carried lawfully if the bearer has a good ground, for illustration if it is work related, or for faith intents. So there is some confusion as to who should be labelled when the definition itself is so wide, a clearer definition is required in order to forestall sensationalised usage of the term.

If aberrance is hence merely a label, where does the label semen from? And how does the label come to be applied to specific behavior and peculiar persons? Harmonizing to the sociologist Howard Becker ( 1963 ) , moral enterprisers are frequently 1s who create the regulations about what constitutes pervert or conventional behavior.[ 9 ]He believes that moral enterprisers use their ain positions on what they believe is “ right ” or “ incorrect ” to set up the regulations by which they expect the remainder of society to populate, normally for their ain political docket. Furthermore, it has been suggested that these regulations as to what is “ right ” or “ incorrect ” are non indiscriminately distributed across the societal construction, but are alternatively more likely to use to the powerless, the disadvantaged, and the hapless. Because of bing stereotypes, which portray felons as members of lower categories, minorities, urban inhabitants, and immature grownups, persons who belong to such groups are more likely than others to be labelled delinquent.[ 10 ]So the labelling procedure is a clear instance of dual criterion, one regulation for the rich and one for the hapless. A perfect illustration to demo this insufficiency is the recent MP disbursal row, those in power were stealing from the remainder of society, yet their power enabled them to set the issues of young person force, arm usage and packs at the bow forepart, directing out sensationalised messages of a ‘broken society[ 11 ]to work their ain dockets. So the offense of the powerful is slightly ignored by switching societies focus on offenses of the center and lower category.

So is the quotation mark correct in presuming knife users are by and large from dysfunctional households? A dysfunctional household is one who has really few values or subject within the family. An interesting theory to integrate here is the control theory ; this is concerned non with why people commit offense, but why so many refrain from making so. It suggests those kids who grow up with parents who exercise carnival and consistent subject are less likely to pique, and more likely to remain committed to conventional definitions of ‘right ‘ or ‘wrong ‘ behavior. Those kids who typically engage in knife offense or any other offense for that affair are said to come from broken places, where they have non experienced love or attention. Associating this dorsum to the labelling theory, which suggests the powerless, low category are more likely to take aberrant callings, because they lack bonds with society and jurisprudence. Subsequently, immature people who have dysfunctional households within these communities will more likely conform to stereotypes they face. More so, if their parents informally label them as pervert which is really likely in instances of minorities from lower category ; because they engage in more nonsubjective aberrance.[ 12 ]This assessment from the parent will act upon their farther delinquency.

The quotation mark besides suggests the mass media besides plays a portion in 1s determination to transport a knife, but is this true? Does the media ‘s public labelling have an impact on a immature individual ‘s determination to transport a knife around for ‘protection ‘ ? The media is one of the most persuasive characteristics of society. The messages and information society receives through the media plays a immense impact on act uponing their sentiments and understanding. It sends out an image of the universe as unrealistically distinct and apprehensible.[ 13 ]The media messages are in fact smartly selected and edited, in order to offer identifiable values, involvement and normative outlooks. Stanley Cohen researched the societal reaction of the Mods and Rockers perturbation in 1964 ; he claimed the media created a ‘moral terror ‘ by labelling them as ‘folk Satans ‘ and exaggeration the initial events.[ 14 ]The original incident merely became an chance to work and heighten the societal position of the ‘moral enterprisers ‘ .

In footings of knife offense or any other offense for that affair, the media is able to cultivate in their audience a belief that the larger societal environment is unsafe and terrorization, for illustration, when the mail shriek that “ Shock figures reveal no portion of Britain is safe as knife force spreads everyplace ”[ 15 ], “ Thugs perpetrating 350 knife assaults EVERYDAY, as blade threat spreads to rural countries ”[ 16 ], “ Britain on qui vive for lifelessly new knife with detonating tip that freezes victim ‘s variety meats ”[ 17 ], these are merely a few illustrations to show the media ‘s hyperbole. In the last headline, the knife was merely sold in America, designed to kill sharks and bears, so no hazard was being posed in Britain. But these types of sensationalised studies heighten societal control, because the scared audience are easy manipulated and easy accept what the media nowadayss, and stab offense becomes wider and endangering so it really is.

The media has its good elements excessively ; it helps raise knife offense consciousness and besides brings to the forefront runs against knife offense. The bad intelligence is that the immense promotion devoted to raising consciousness has the preserve consequence of normalizing it. The offense decrease charity Nacro, for illustration, argued: the suggestion that it is in any sense the norm to transport arms is likely to increase the figure of immature people who do so, merely because they fear onslaught and want to hold the agencies to protect and support themselves.[ 18 ]Furthermore the Mothers against Murder and aggression Wales found the manner knife offense is portrayed in the intelligence gives out the message that all adolescents are armed, which is a terrorization construct, “ Almost everyone transporting a knife does so because they feel they have to protect themselves as everyone else is making so ” .[ 19 ]So the media, like the labelling theory, labels certain groups of people, in this instance immature people, without any proper justification. Furthermore headlines such as “ war on immature hoods ” contributes to the construct that for some immature people there is a war being waged against them and they be contending back.[ 20 ]Furthermore the negative intensions of young persons, when the huge bulk are observant, can add their sense of being under onslaught. As a effect these labelled young persons may get down to believe stereotyped beliefs environing them, or they may believe that these beliefs exist based on their erudite perceptual experience of what people think about felons ; fearing rejection, they may retreat from interaction with conventional equals.

Goffman ( 1963 ) suggests labelling can do the interaction between “ normal ” people and stigmatized young person to be uneasy and abashing. These awkward experiences are felt by those who bear the stigma every bit good as those who do non. Harmonizing to Goffman ( 1963 “ the really expectancy of such contacts can take conventions and the stigmatized to set up life so as to avoid them ”[ 21 ]. Therefore non labelled striplings and labelled striplings may be given to avoid one another in order to avoid uncomfortable interaction kineticss.

Feeling isolated from the mainstream of society, and being locked within their ‘deviant function, they may seek others likewise labelled to organize aberrant subcultures.[ 22 ]The aberrant subculture will stand for a beginning of societal support in which aberrant activities are accepted. A societal shelter will be provided by the subculture off from those who react negatively towards the pervert position ; it will offer alternate values, wonts, involvements and attitudes. So if an person is labelled as pervert from society, so that labelled individual is progressively likely to go involved in societal groups that consist of societal perverts and unconventional others.[ 23 ]Tannenbaum and Becker highlight the function of aberrant webs in explicating how public labelling can increase the likeliness of aberrance. “ A concluding measure in the calling of a pervert is motion into an organized pervert group ”[ 24 ]. The aberrant group provides chances that encourage, support and facilitate aberrant behavior. These aberrant subcultures are made up of leaders and followings, solidarity of purpose, lucidity of intent. These features may look positive in an grownup universe, even necessary for accomplishing grownup individuality and ego regard. However this hierarchy proves to be negative in footings of delinquent groups. Those at the top of the hierarchy, the leaders are frequently given a prestigiousness position, one which would non be given in the mainstream society.

With respects to stab offense, these leaders of the packs side measure the hazard of being caught transporting a knife, by coercing the younger member of the packs to transport them, some every bit immature as seven, this is frequently referred to as “ golf caddy ”[ 25 ]. This frequently leads to an ‘arm race ‘ among immature people who feel progressively threatened by equals transporting blades and so carry knives to protect themselves. So as the quotation mark suggested, protection is truly a figure one motivation for knife bearers. Furthermore, immature people will transport knives, ‘out of regard, possibly seeking to do a name for themselves on the street ‘ and derive ‘respect ‘ ,[ 26 ]so the position which they lack from mainstream society is gettable within the subculture,

To reason, holding gone through the factors within the quotation mark, it apparently appears that the quotation mark is wrong. The factors listed within the quotation mark are merely all a effect of the labelling theory. Society itself is speedy to judge and set a label on everything, it was non so long so ago when gun offense was the cause of concern, and now it is knife offense. The term knife offense itself needs a clearer definition, so a differentiation can be made between knife usage and knife carrying. Furthermore, those who enjoy the power to label demand to set an terminal to category biasness, as the powerless appear disproportionately in official statistics on aberrance, which gives an inaccurate history of knife offense. Traveling on to the factors themselves, ‘status ‘ is something immature people crave in order to develop their ain grownup individuality. Once officially labelled through a “ position debasement ceremonial ” the person ‘s condemnable position becomes their maestro position. The ‘peer force per unit area ‘ elements falls into the equation once the person has united with aberrant subcultures, as equal force per unit area is portion of the gang civilization. The media besides plays a large portion, by publicly labelling certain subcultures as delinquent. So all the factors form one barbarous circle, which an person will hold to travel through one time labelled, This could be avoided, if the tribunals refused to ‘dramatise the immorality ‘ by implementing a system whereby minor offenses would non affect formal sentencing and the “ position debasement ceremonial ” that goes with it. Alternatively a rehabilitative therapy and out of tribunal colony could be introduced in order to give immature wrongdoers the chance to reform and incorporate back into society, non excepting them further.


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