Do negative labels cause crime, or do people who commit crime become negatively labeled? Are labels a cause of crime or a result?

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There is an argument by the celebrated French philosopher Michel Foucault that the birth of the modern-day penitentiary system and the emergence of new classifications of crime created new, professionally-generated ways of defining the criminal population. These definitions became a part of the new criminal identity, and criminals in the nineteenth century engaged in an affective behavior that legitimated these very definitions. In his most famous work, Discipline and Punish, Foucault comments:

He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.

Foucault here was talking about the layout of the modern penitentiary; prisoners in courtyards were surrounded by guard towers and kept under round-the-clock surveillance. Because these prisoners knew...

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