Labeling Theory is an oldie but a goodie. It was very popular in the 80’s and 90’s not to
label the person by their behavior. ie. Sexist, racist, pessimist, pervert, etc etc.
This was based on such labeling theories from Frank Tannenbaum, Edwin Lemert,
Erving Goffman and many others. Basically stating that “Labeling theory holds that deviance is not inherent to an act, but instead focuses on the tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen as deviant from standard cultural norms”.
And “…satisfies society’s need to control the behavior”.
Tannenbaum found that “This initial tagging may cause the individual to adopt it as part of their identity. The crux of Tannenbaum’s argument is that the greater the attention placed on this label, the more likely the person is to identify themselves as the label.
More form Wikipedia:
“While society uses the stigmatic label to justify its condemnation, the deviant actor uses it to justify his actions.”
“They do what they do with an eye on what others have done, are doing now, and may do in the future. One tries to fit his own line of action into the actions of others, just as each of them likewise adjusts his own developing actions to what he sees and expects others to do.”
“Central to stigmatic labeling is the attribution of an inherent. fault. It is as if one says: ‘There must be something wrong with these people. Otherwise, why would we treat them so badly?’ ”
So where am I leading from all of this? Well it seems like in 2014 we seem to have forgotten this simple premise. Since the Ted talk given by Susan Cain, on The Power of Introverts, it seems like everybody that has ever felt shy in their past are now labeling themselves as introverts, as though it is a great badge of honor to carry this or any other label.
I believe that we label to form sides and it then allows to take one side or the other and to be member of a club. Democrat – Republican, Extrovert – Introvert, Victim – Perpetrator, and the disorders such as ADHD and PTSD. The last two labels are a way, in my view, to
fail to look at the cause of parents that are poor at parenting and governments that are
poor at governing (need to send soldiers off to war).
We all seem to want to find our place and now if we don’t want to be part of this labeling caper we can end up the deviant or heretic.
“…refusing to be classified it is him they blame the most” Dire Straits, Industrial Disease.
Well I am saying it here that I refuse to agree to classifying or labeling either myself or others. I may do it in error or habit at times, which is understandable, but still not acceptable to me.