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4 Tutorials that teach Labeling Theory
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Labeling Theory

Labeling Theory

Author: Sadie Pendaz

This lesson will analyze and explain labeling theory, stigma, medicalization of deviance, and retrospective labeling.

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Terms to Know
Erving Goffman

Famous sociologist who contributed to developing the symbolic-interaction perspective and gave us the idea of social "stigma."

Labeling Theory

The idea that deviance results from the meanings and labels that people give to our actions.

Medicalization of Deviance

The transformation of deviance from labels of good and bad to labels of sick and well.

Projective Labeling

Labeling into the future in response to deviant behavior in the present.

Retrospective Labeling

Labeling back into the past in response to deviant behavior in the present.


A highly negative label that signifies the status of a deviant outsider, having profound effects on self-image, identity, and worldview.