Labeling Theory Of Deviance Essay

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In our society the way we perceive things is at times considered more defining than how we actually are; hence the importance of how we construct our labels and who defines them. Not only do these labels affect how others see us but also they influence how we view ourselves. They can be beneficial in how we construct our self-identity, but damaging when inaccurately applied. There are many ways in which to define people, but a crucial one is the way we define deviance, which more often than not boils down to whether or not someone is a part of a society. With this in mind it is important to recognize that what may be considered deviant to some is acceptable to others; for those in power are the ones defining deviance, at times to their own advantage. One way to…show more content…
This theory centers on primary and secondary deviance; the first deviant act committed before being labeled as a criminal or deviant and the ones committed after being labeled as such. For this reason labeling theorists ask the question; does the labeling of someone as deviant increase the likelihood for deviant actions? We can see this in cases of ex-prisoners who return to criminal activity once released, but it is important to determine if this happens because people simply cannot change their actions or because being labeled as deviant to outside society cuts them off from opportunities to achieve socially approved goals through acceptable means. Many businesses may not want to hire ex-cons for fear of recurring criminal behavior, but if someone has resorted to criminal activity in order to achieve their goals then it is more likely than not that they had few opportunities in the first place. Denying them that opportunity would be a likely way to send them straight back to participating in deviant
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