Unformatted text preview: Labeling theory A type of symbolic interaction, labeling theory concerns the meanings people derive from one another's labels, symbols, actions, and reactions. This theory holds that behaviors are deviant only when society labels them as deviant. As such, conforming members of society, who interpret certain behaviors as deviant and then attach this label to individuals, determine the distinction between deviance and non-deviance. Labeling theory questions who applies what label to whom, why they do this, and what happens as a result of this labeling. Powerful individuals within society—politicians, judges, police officers, medical doctors, and so forth —typically impose the most significant labels. Labeled persons may include drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals, delinquents, prostitutes, sex offenders, retarded people, and psychiatric patients, to mention a few. The consequences of being labeled as deviant can be far-reaching. Social research mention a few....
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- Fall '09
- Labeling Theory, Saints, nondeviance. Labeling theory