July 12 - Notes Constructionist theories(con't Labeling...

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Notes: July 12, 2007 Constructionist theories (con’t) Labeling theory- 2 questions *Who gets to apply the label to whom? Who interprets whose behavior is deviant? ~Labeling theorists believe that the people who represent the forces of law and the people who represent conventional morality are usually the labelers. They decide what is right and wrong. They believe that labelers are typically rich, powerful; they represent the dominant group in society and/or the represent or have some legitimate authority. The people who are labeled tend to be poor, powerless, and of various minorities. *What consequences does the application of the label have for the person labeled and for the people who labeled them? How does this interpretation affect all the parties involved? ~For the labeled there are negative consequences. Once you have been labeled as deviant, you come to see yourself as deviant. This sets up a cycle where you continue to act deviant. It is hard to break free from the stigma of being labeled deviant and becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. It could be that you embrace the label and that you don’t care, so you run with it and continue doing what you do. Or, someone could label you as something, and you could run the other way just to prove them wrong. ~For the labeler, the consequences are mostly positive. When we label and punish deviance, we set an example of how not to be. This means we can say “don’t be like that person.” It encourages you to conform and not to deviate.
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