Labelling theory and Self Fullfilling prophecy

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  • Labelling theory works on the basis of self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • E.g: If enough people put a label on an individual, eventually they begin to recognise themselves in terms of the label.
  • In order to rid themselves of that label they must act like saints.
  • The media are very powerful label marker, for example, they labelled the activities of football hooligans as animal behaviour.
  • Those who represent the forces of law and order, or are able to impose definitions of conventional morality on others, do most of the labelling.
  • Labelling processes:
  • Wealthy to poor/ Men to Women/ Elders to Young and Ethnic Majority to Ethnic Minority 
  • Howard Becker:
  • Identities are produced through labelling processes rather than through deviant behaviour / motivations.
  • Argued that deviant behaviour is behaviour that people label so.
  • Deviant…


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