Labeling Theory

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LABELING THEORY Sociologyindex, Sociology Books 2008 Labeling theory arose from the study of deviance in the late 1950's and early 1960's and was a rejection of consensus theory or structural functionalism. Tannenbaum was among the early labeling theorists. His main concept was the dramatization of evil. He argued that the process of tagging, defining, identifying, segregating, describing, and emphasizing any individual out for special treatment becomes a way of stimulating, suggesting, and evoking the very traits that are complained of. A person becomes the thing they are described as being. Labeling theory or social reaction theory, focuses on the linguistic tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen…show more content…
An Empirical Test of Labeling Theory Using Longitudinal Data MELVIN C. RAY, WILLIAM R. DOWNS This article uses panel data and multiple regression of follow-up on baseline variables to test direction of causality among drug use behavior, informal labels, and formal labels. Baseline and follow-up data were collected on a random sample of 100 adolescents (54 males) and a clinical sample of 88 adolescents (49 males). Separate regressions were performed on male and female respondents using both samples. Slope differences across samples were tested using interaction terms computed by multiplying sample type (coded as 0 = random, 1 = clinical) by each regressor. Results partially supported by the labeling theory proposition of secondary deviance among males, although changes are suggested in this proposition. Among females, drug use behavior was causally prior to labels, which contradicts secondary deviance. Further research is needed to clarify reasons for this sex difference in causal processes over time. An implication for research is to use panel data where possible in testing direction of causality. An implication for theory in the social sciences is that theories may be sex-specific. Thus theories must be tested separately on each sex as well as on samples including both sexes. - Official Labeling, Criminal Embeddedness, and Subsequent Delinquency A Longitudinal Test of

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