The Labeling Theory And Its Effect On Society Essays

1148 Words Nov 15th, 2015 null Page
Society is comprised of various types of people and groups who all have a particular role in their cultures. These groups and roles are a natural product of societal labeling. The labeling theory is the belief that individuals subconsciously notice how others see and label them, and their reactions to those labels form the basis of their identity over time. This theory questions who applies what label to whom and what happens as a result of this labeling. Once people accept these labels it is hard to change their opinion of the labeled person and the labeled person internalizes label they’ve been given. In the 1930s, Frank Tannenbaum noted the dramatization of evil of first offender youths. The theory really started to break ground in the 1960’s and 70’s based on work by George Mead and Charles Cooley. The two emphasized the importance of self and how it is constantly being constructed and reconstructed through social interactions. This theory is very interesting to the criminology field because it proposes that deviance is socially constructed. Most theories are formed around deviance being an action, not a reaction. Therefore, behavior is not inherently deviant by itself, but just a reaction to the label is. Once that label is applied, a stigma develops, or a powerful negative label that can be detrimental a person’s identity. The labeling theory is a never-ending cycle in society and it is impossible for society function without labels because they are unavoidable.…

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