Labeling theory and stigma

Goffman talks to us about the ¨Labeling theory:  which is defined as how public labeling, or branding, as deviant, has adverse consequences for further social participation and self-image. Labeling theory is based on the notion of behaviors and whether they are deemed deviant in society. Labeling theory has the power to give individuals in society to place labels on other individuals within society. People such as Judges or police officers are primarily the ones who do much of the labeling in society today. When is comes to cases regarding someones future, if you are labeled as a deviant person in society such as a drug addict, prostitute, or anything outside the norms, you may have to put up with the consequences we believe are fit for people whom belong in this deviant category. Labeling theory affect many individuals self-image, because of this, people may not want to better themselves because to others they are simply what they did or what they are known for doing. Those who are labeled have a hard time changing their perception of themselves just as much as people who label them, they too believe that this person will always be known for that, and nothing more or less. Goffman believes that Labeling may be a self-fulfilling prophecy for many. Though they may be excluded from many groups in society, their primary concern is to be known for what it is that they are known for. Stigma is another point Goffman emphasis on. For example, a man who has just been released from jail will automatically be thought of a criminal. Nonetheless, the person may receive this kind of negativity from everyone and have a high chance of going back to their usual ways. Labeling and Stigmatizing someone has a great effect on the person who is being labeled and stigmatized.

This video shows the negativity shown to someone who has mental illness. This video portrays words like “you’re an attention seeker, you are weak, FREAK” words that should not be said to someone who simply needs the help to go forward in life. Negativity only worsens the situation and makes the persons illness seem more severe because they exclude themselves and are stigmatized even more as “weird” or “attention seekers”. 


One response to “Labeling theory and stigma

  1. caribprincess188

    The video shows how stigmas start at an early age. How bullying and name calling can affect how an individual views themselves. No one person should have to deal with the harsh words of society just because you are different or because you stand out or even when you have a disability or a physical impairment that you can’t control. Life isn’t perfect, so why does an individual have to be the perfect reflection of what society wants and accepts….

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