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Labelling of People as Deviants - Essay Example

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At the heart of this concept is the self perception that determines how people perceive themselves. Self-image is a self picture through which an individual perceives him/herself. Incidentally, self image is a function of several factors including speech and nurturing. It has been proven that negative comments of people may influence how they perceive themselves and end up with destructive habits. Labelling plays a very significant role in shaping self-perception and could definitely become a self fulfilling prophecy through which individuals resort to the behaviours described in labelling. Several studies have been carried out on adolescents more so regarding their indulgence in delinquency. Majority of these studies opine that young people indulge into criminal activities as a result of poor self-image, which partly emanates from labelling. Such labelling may be from parents, family members, friends, peers and wider society. Therefore, it becomes apparent that society is directly responsible for the ills that bedevil it. Labelling people negatively affects their self-image and leads them to become devious in the long run. To counter labelling people as devious, society ought to develop positive labelling techniques which will produce good behaviour from people in society, thus, reducing the incidences of delinquency and crime. This paper discuses the statement ‘Labelling of people as deviants creates a self-fulfilling prophesy,’ this discussion will be accomplished through the application of the symbolic interactionist perspectives, in addition to at least one illustration of such labelling. A perfect example of labelling and its corresponding effects on behaviour is the research findings presented by William J. Chambliss through the article “The Saints and the Roughnecks” in which two categories of young people engage in similar activities but are labelled differently by society resulting into their behavioural change. Effects of Labelling William J. Chambliss in his publication “The Saints and the Roughnecks” recounts a study conducted on adolescents regarding their motivation to indulge in delinquency (Chambliss, 1978, 43). Throughout the article, the author discusses the direct relationship between self-image and delinquency. In essence, the author opines that young people participate in crime as a result of poor self-perception. Yet poor perception is a function of several dynamics, which include upbringing and nurturing, social environment along with circumstances. However, Chambliss discovered something quite different from which he categorically stated that is behind the increasing chances of crime and delinquency not only among young people but also in general society. Therefore, he developed two phrases that describe the underlying concept of labelling and how it influences behaviour in society. These expressions are the Saints, in addition to the Roughnecks; the saints are described as those individuals who received better treatment by family and society when growing up. Therefore, they grew up with positive influence went to school and succeeded in careers making them lead better lives and society celebrates them as good people who are well-mannered. On the contrary, the roughnecks represent a lot that was never treated well during the upbringing making them drop out of school engage in drugs and crime. Hence, society scorns them, and they form a majority of those in prison. According to Chambliss, both saints and roughnecks ...Show more
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Running head: Labelling Labelling Insert Name Insert Grade Course Insert 25 July 2012 Labelling of people as deviants creates a self-fulfilling prophesy in the sense that people eventually become what they are portrayed as being (Ritzer, 2008, 369-380)…
Labelling of People as Deviants
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