The Case Studies covered in-class as influences on interactionism/labelling theory; useful for inclusion in your essays:
Stephen Box and the Naughty Jury
Box was selected for jury duty in a trial for a woman accused of theft. The money alleged to have been stolen was, Box thought, a relatively small amount. After a short deliberation, the jury found her guilty. Having finished their duty as good citizens, the members of the jury relaxed and started to discuss in a matter-of-fact way how they were going to fiddle their travel expenses and out-of-pocket expenses (the money jury members get through missing work etc. and having to travel to court) by claiming inflated amounts. Box pointed out that many members of the jury ended up ‘fiddling’ more money than the women they had just convicted had stolen.
Edwin Lemert and the Stuttering Boys
Lemert found a community of Native Americans on the Pacific Coast within which speech impediments were very common, particularly among young males. Lemert observed that public speaking was valued within the community; in order to attain the status of ‘manhood’, a boy had to show that he could master public speaking. Therefore if, at a young age, a boy showed any signs of speech defect, the parents reacted with such horror that the child was made aware of the problem and started worrying about it. Lemert argued that the child was made so nervous that it caused him to develop a stutter.
Bronislaw Malinowski and the Incestuous Tribe
Malinowski was investigating the suicide of a young man on a Pacific island. Prior to his suicide, the man had been publicly accused of incest and the islanders appeared to be shocked by the accusation. However, Malinowski soon discovered that incest was very common on the island and, even though it broke the rules, tended to be ignored as long as the people involved were discreet. It was only when an affair become public that the ‘offenders’ were ostracised and potentially driven to suicide.
Crime & Deviance
A2 Unit: G673