Sociology 2234E Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Labeling Theory, Symbolic Interactionism, Social Stigma

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
School
Western University
Department
Sociology
Course
Sociology 2234E
Professor
Labeling theory and deviance
History
Origins in Symbolic interactionism
Arguably the biggest impact SI has had on sociology is deviance
Cooley: Looking glass self
1) People imagine how they are viewed by other people
2) How people believe others will judge them
3) We develop feelings of shame or pride.
- All of these are a guide to inner behavior and development of the self.
- Individuals use other peoples actions towards them as the mirror in which
they see themselves
- If you have a negative looking glass you are more likely to engage in deviant
behavior according to Cooley.
W.I. Thomas: The Self fulfilling prophecy
- people often become their label
- If they think they are dumb they probably will not study and therefore they will
do poorly.
Labeling theory focuses on those who make the labels not just those who are
labeled
Labeling has to do with societal reactions to particular behaviors and the
subsequent reaction of the labeled person to the label
Labeling is a process involving interpretation, meaning, and the attribution of
deviance.
Interpretation is how a behavior is viewed, which depends on the standpoint
and the characteristics of those involved.
Meaning is important in SI, Meaning we put on people, acts and events.
Attribution categorizes people. We attribute things to people based upon their
label.
What is deviant depends on time, place, and culture.
Deviance is not inherent according to labeling theory.
Labels stick especially if an agent of social control is the one who provides the
label. (like a doctor or a police officer)
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Document Summary

Arguably the biggest impact si has had on sociology is deviance. Cooley: looking glass self: people imagine how they are viewed by other people, how people believe others will judge them, we develop feelings of shame or pride. All of these are a guide to inner behavior and development of the self. Individuals use other peoples actions towards them as the mirror in which they see themselves. If you have a negative looking glass you are more likely to engage in deviant behavior according to cooley. If they think they are dumb they probably will not study and therefore they will do poorly. Labeling theory focuses on those who make the labels not just those who are labeled. Labeling has to do with societal reactions to particular behaviors and the subsequent reaction of the labeled person to the label. Labeling is a process involving interpretation, meaning, and the attribution of deviance.

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