Analysis of the Article 'Understanding and Improving Labeling Theory'

2188 Words9 Pages
Understanding and improving labeling theory Rogers and Buffalo's "Fighting back: Nine modes of adaptation labeling theory" (1974-1975) provides a comprehensive taxonomy of the varied manifestations of labeling in contemporary culture. Prior to outlining the nine modes of labeling theory, the authors issue a framework of traditional labeling theory, including the relationship between labeling theory and deviance and whether labeling reflects more heavily on the labeler or the labelee. This paper considers the ways in which Rogers and Buffalo progress beyond traditional labeling theory and which mode corresponds most closely with traditional labeling theory. The paper then concludes with a detailed examination of how three of the modes manifest in contemporary society, as well as ways in which an understanding of the modes can improve public understanding of the accordant societal issues. According to Rogers and Buffalo, traditional labeling theory views the labelee as an inherently deviant agent who exists at odds with the dominant culture. Accordingly, labeling theory has always relied upon a fixed definition of deviance centering around the individual ascribed the "deviant" label rather than the greater societal structures who supply the pejorative title. Indeed, Rogers and Buffalo invoke Scherivsh's argument that labeling has historically considered the labelee as either a passive individual or as existing in a vacuum that does not acknowledge the fact that the
Open Document