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4 pages/≈1100 words
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APA
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Social Sciences
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English (U.S.)
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Labeling Theory & Sex Work (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
This assessment asks you to apply a theory to a particular kind of criminal offending. What this means is, how would Becker's labelling theory explain sex work? Your demonstration of an understanding of each theory is best done by using your own words as much as possible. If you use any words of other authors, you must use quotation marks and give the appropriate citation. Show the number of words in each analysis. Maximum length: 1000 words. Marks will be deducted for lateness (unless accompanied by relevant documentation) and for over-length essays. Due Monday Week 11 at 4.00 p.m. source..
Content:

Labeling Theory & Sex Work
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Labeling is central in understanding how individuals and the society at large react towards criminalization of behaviors. Across the globe, societies assign certain labels to individuals suspected of engaging in socially disapproved behaviors. For instance, individuals engaging in socially proscribed behaviors are considered to be engaging in law breaking, and the society may label them with tags that befit their conduct. As such, individuals involved in such law breaking tendencies as use of illicit substances such as marijuana or participating in prohibited trades such as prostitution may be labeled deviant. Such labeling may compel them to assume identities consistent with the label and subsequently associate with similar others. Accordingly, this form of societal reaction to deviance serves to reinforce the unwanted behavior among the victims, further producing career deviants CITATION Kup03 \l 1033 (Kuper, 2003). Based on this background, this paper seeks to explain sex work variously referred to as prostitution using the theory of labeling by Howard Becker. Negative reaction of the society to sex work and subsequent labeling of sex workers as criminals entrenches prostitution as victims isolate themselves from the mainstream society and fully assume their new master status.
Labeling theory variously known as the social reaction theory was developed and advanced by Howard Becker. Unlike other social deviance theories, the approach concerns itself with the study of the manner in which individuals react towards deviance as opposed to the analysis of the deviant person. The theory perceives deviance as a rule-breaking tendency which is considered deviant by a social group as it contradicts the rules or the expectations of the majority in the society. The theory recognizes that while rule-breaking tendency is regular, labeling of the tendency differs and usually depends on the reaction of the society. Interestingly, the theory also explains how deviance contributes to the formation of subgroups in a society. Rule breakers usually recognize they are morally different from the rest of the society and view themselves as outsiders, an outlook that signifies acceptance of the deviant label and departure from primary deviance to secondary deviance. According to the theory, the people labeled as deviants become outsiders who belong to a social group or subculture different from that of the mainstream society. Thus from their subgroup, the labeled deviants view the rest of the society as outsiders CITATION How63 \l 1033 (Becker, 1963).
Basically, the theory divides deviance into primary and secondary deviance. Primary deviance encompasses the first instance when the individual engages in the proscribed behavior either deliberately or by chance and is labeled deviant CITATION Mar031 \l 1033 (Slattery, 2003). According to Becker (1963)...
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