Soc 233 October 24, 2011
Two different types:
1. Discredited stigma- the stigma is visibly known to the audience
2. Discreditable stigma- the stigma is not visibly known. Those who have a
stigma, try to hide the stigma.
Those with stigmas will use strategies to try keep the stigma hidden to
manage the impressions of others:
-they try to flip the stigma around and put it on others (ex. Someone is
stigmatized for not wanting to have children. When someone calls them
selfish for not wanting to have a baby, they turn it around and say that the
other person is selfish for having a baby just so they have someone to take
care of them in their old age)
-they try to justify why they have the stigma to explain that to others.
Individuals become deviant when two things occur:
1. A deviant label is applied to them
2. They adopt the label by exhibiting the behaviors, actions, and attitudes
associated with the label. (self-fulfilling prophesy) they begin to act in a
certain behavior because it is what is accepted.
However, this labeling can happen in the opposite way, where the
individuals’ behaviors make others look back at the past actions to label
Ex: Columbine High school shooting. Eric and Dylan were labeled after the
fact as loners and deviant. After the event, their past behaviors were looked
at and were only then labeled as deviants.
No act in itself is deviant until we label it as such. Labels impact self-identity,
and we need to understand that to understand criminal behavior.
Becker says that in order to understand deviance and specific forms of behavior
we need to determine their meanings and labels
Becker (in the 50’s) Did a study -“Becoming a Marijuana user” -Classic example of symbolic interactionism
-Personal interviews with 50 individuals
-Created a career model of marijuana users.
He argued that it was social
Applying Symbolic Interactionism Becker: Becoming a marijuana user
-A person can’t become a marijuana user and enjoy the pleasure of smoking up
1. Learning to smoke the drug in a way that produces real effects
-thru social interactions, the way we socialize and interact with others. We need
to learn how to inhale properly, thru interaction in order to feel the real effects.
2.Learning to recognize the e