Labeling Theory The labeling theory of sociology holds that deviance is not defined by the act itself, but by “the tendency of society to negatively label individuals who choose to step outside of cultural norms” (Becker). Inherent in labelling theory is the notion that deviance depends much upon who, what and how an act or individual is defined as deviant. Labelling theory was developed by Howard Becker and is most associated with the sociology of deviance. Social Reaction (Labeling) Theory: Pros, Cons, and Effects On Society The Social Reaction, or Labeling Theory as it is sometimes known, has developed over time from as early as 1938 (Wellford, 1975). These labels can be positive or negative and can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Meaning acts only become deviant when observers perceive it and define it as deviant. Once labelled as deviant, the individual faces all sorts of social reactions ranging from ostracism and ridicule to pity or anger. Labeling theory is a sociological theory that deals with various aspects of human behavior, especially with regard to how a person’s behavior is viewed by others and compared to social norms. Definition of Labeling Theory. It is applied to education in relation to teachers applying labels on their pupils in terms of their ability, potential or behaviour. Labeling Theory . Labelling Theories' Contribution to the Sociological Understanding of Crime and Deviance Becker is the main sociologist studying labelling theory on deviance, he argues that 'social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance.' It begins with the assumption that no act is intrinsically criminal. The fourth main sociological theory of deviance is labeling theory. Labeling theory is one of the most important approaches to understanding deviant and criminal behavior within sociology. Labeling Theory. Labeling theory is a theory to understand deviance in the society, this theory is focused more on trying to understand how people react to behavior that happens around them and label it as ‘deviant’ or ‘nondeviant’. Labeling theory was also applied to homosexuality by Evelyn Hooker and by Leznoff and Westley, who published the first sociological study of the gay community. Labeling theory provides a distinctively sociological approach that focuses on the role of social labeling in the development of crime and deviance. Erving Goffman and Howard Becker used the lives of gay-identified persons in their theories of labeling and interactionism. Instead, definitions of criminality are established by those in power through the formulation of laws and the interpretation of those laws by police, courts, and correctional institutions. Labelling theory sees deviance as … Currently the Social Reaction Theory proposes that when a person commits a crime; they will receive the label of "criminal". 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