Labeling Theory of Deviance

2131 WordsJan 26, 20189 Pages
The Labeling Theory-also referred to as Social Reaction Theory- asserts that crime is a label attached to wrongdoing, and often the label becomes a stigma that increases criminality. The Labeling Theory became most dominant between the early 1960s and the late 1970s. The labeling theory says that deviant individuals are deviant mainly because they are seen deviant by society; individuals who are labeled as deviant may be likely to reject themselves and act deviantly because of the label. Labeled individuals could include prostitutes, former criminals, nerds, alcoholics, etc. The labeling process can be simplified into six steps: initial criminal act, detection by the justice system, decision to label, creation of a new identity, acceptance of labels, and deviance amplification. Individuals who are used to being labeled negatively have low self-esteem and are more likely to separate themselves from others; they may also act deviant as a result of the label. When someone is labeled by society it makes it difficult to return to label that they once had. Their identity is tampered and changed. Labeling can have a terrible effect on the lives of people and it is a social problem within society. (Hagan 2013) J Berburg states that the labeling of society can lead to them developing a career of a delinquent. After the crime is committed they are forever deemed a criminal; this is telling society that once they do something wrong they are not allowed to change. Scholars suggest
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