Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Julie L. Globokar
Labeling theory is a critical theory which argues that the application of a deviant label can have the effect of solidifying a deviant identity for the labeled, thus potentially exacerbating the problem that it purports to address. Labeling theory, therefore, prioritizes the study of social and legal processes by which certain behaviors and individuals come to be labeled as deviant, as well as the impact of such labels. One of the greatest contributions of labeling theory has been its challenge to the traditional notion of deviance as a fixed, objective category of study, suggesting instead that the application of the ...