StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Labeling Theory - Essay Example

Extract of sample
Labeling Theory

This theory deals with the relationship of the individual with the society. This theory is based on the concept of 'Dramatization of Evil" which argues that an individual must look at all stages of the deviant's life from childhood to adulthood, so that the individual can understand the nature of a crime.

Based on the works of Tannenbaum, Howard Becker developed the theory of labeling also known as social reaction theory. Labeling theory was outlined in his 1963 book "Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance". Labeling theory was evolved in a period when there was widespread social and political power struggle which was developed within the world of college campus (pfohl). During this period many of the college students and faculty embraced liberal political movements and Becker harnessed this political influence and associated it with the labeling theory and its symbolic interaction theoretical background of Lemert. Becker has shaped his theory based on the prevailing social reaction approach of Lemert, symbolic interaction foundation of Cooley and Mead and the labeling influences of Tannenbaum and Lemert.

Charles Cooley used the personal perception of individuals through studies of children and their imaginary friends to explain the human nature and the social order. The theoretical concept of Cooley was developed based on the idea of an imaginary sociability in which people are characterized to imagine the view of themselves through the eyes of other people living in the society. People based on such imaginary observations form judgments of themselves. "The main idea of the looking glass self is that people define themselves according to society's perception of them." Works of Mead combined with the ideas of Cooley formed the foundation for labeling theory and its approach to the acceptance of an individual of a label forced by the society.
Pfohl is of the view that the work by Mead is more focused on the macro-level process of distinguishing the conventional and the condemned, rather than a micro-level approach on studying the deviant. Wright has observed that Mead describes the "perception of self as formed within the context of social process." The self is identified as the product of social symbols and interactions of the perception of the mind. Wright points out that the self exists in objective reality and is then internalized in to the conscious. "The idea of shifting the focus away from the individual deviant and looking at how social structure affects the separation of those persons considered unconventional has a great influence on how Becker approaches labeling theory."
Frank Tannenbaum studied juvenile participation in street gangs for presenting his own approach to the labeling theory. Tannenbaum observed a different deviant behavior among the juvenile delinquents and conventional society. This different behavior causes the 'tagging' of juveniles as delinquent and separates them from mainstream society. This stigma of delinquency attached to the juveniles forces a person to move more towards deeper non-conformity. Even though Lamert does not recognize the influence of work of Tannenbaum in developing labeling theory, many other social reaction theories have been worked basing on the Tannenbaum's postulations.
Edwin Lamert not quite comfortable with theories that take the concept of deviance for granted has diverted his focus on the social construction of deviance. Lamert has considered deviance as "the product society's reaction to an act and the affixing of a deviant label on the actor." According to Lamert it is the initial incidence of an ...Show more

Summary

The term 'labeling theory' explains that human thought and behaviors are largely influenced by external factors and take its root from the works of Frank Tannenbaum who formulated a multi-disciplinary approach to crime causation. …
Author : krystina92
Labeling Theory essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Labeling Theory"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

Incorporating Scheff's Theory of Labeling
Poor health results in illnesses. Nonetheless, health Lauer and Lauer consider health care and illnesses as social problems (378). This is mainly because; the cause of illnesses and most issues in health care can be traced to major social factors. A good example is the case whereby, because of financial instability of a family, they fail to afford healthy food, and other essential needs, which forces them to live in unhealthy condition that can cause illnesses or other health issues.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Rist's Labeling Theory and Bourdieu's theory of Cultural/Social Capital
Some people are labelled as deviants by the other members of the society and in the end; they are forced to behave according to the label that is being attached to them. In a study by Rist, it can be noted that pupils were seated according to the teacher’s middle class standards (Haralambos & Holborn, 277).
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Labelling Theory on Crime and Deviance
A person who has been labeled deviant will assume that they are deviant and will be treated as a deviant person and therefore self-fulfills their own prophecy as to the role and the status that they fill within society. A similar theory was proposed by a study conducted by Edwin Lemert (Haralombos & Holborn 2004: 348).
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Theories of Deviance
Clearly, such macro factors as legitimate prevailing ideology maintained in a society by groups endowed with power, and means of attribution of deviant status to people are directly involved into the phenomenon of social deviance.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Sociology: According to Becker, deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and san
e we can understand how it was that Becker created a theory in which the labeling of a person who has committed deviant acts as being detrimental to the future of the person as well as the society in which the person is in as they will be morally judged and thus pushing them
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Labeling Theory, and Monster: Biography of an L.A. Gang Member
The narrator of the book goes through different phases, from a young man who doesn’t care about anything but gang life, to a prisoner who turns to nationalism and other ideologies to make sense of the world and his experiences. Scott’s book can be seen from the perspective
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Summary for Criminal Justice class chapter 7
It rejects the idea that criminality is inherent to some human beings. Furthermore, labeling theorists use the statistics of imprisoned minorities to describe racial disparity, which government intervention
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Write a chapter Seven SUMMARY for my Criminal Justice class
On the other hand, labeling theorists argues that the criminal justice system promotes establishment of criminal behaviors in certain fronts. For example, more than 58% of African American males aged between 20 and 29 years are either in prison or under the control of the
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Conflict and Critical Theory of Crime
Consequently, these problems raise the chances of criminal or deviant behaving becoming permanent. In other terms, deviant behavior can turn to be a means of adaptation, defense, or attack to
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Social Control Mechanisms, Labeling Theory, Social Stratification, Racial Profiling, Prejudice, White Privilege
The society structures are made to favor white women and disregard other immigrants. Therefore, the American society condone ‘Whites to Swim in
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
YOUR PRIZE:
Apply my DISCOUNT
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation