The Labeling Theory's Advantages Those who embrace the idea find its merits in making aberrant conduct simpler to explain. In this sense, the labeling theory contributes to the building of society's structure. It aids in making accurate forecasts. It also helps to create clear policies.
The main advantage of the labeling theory is that it makes abnormal behavior easier to understand. This advantage comes from the fact that it separates people into categories: those who behave normally and those who do not. This allows us to describe the first group as "those who should be left alone" and the others as "potential criminals." Obviously, only the latter category needs special attention.
Another advantage is that it helps us make more accurate predictions. If we know that a certain type of person is likely to commit a crime, then we can take measures to prevent him from doing so. This is how policing works in reality. But also according to the labeling theory, such measures would be necessary.
A third advantage is that it makes policy creation much easier. We need to define what normal behavior is, then let everyone know about it. If someone commits an act that violates this definition, then he/she has crossed the line into abnormal behavior. Measures should then be taken against this person.
According to labeling theory, people grow to identify and behave in ways that mirror how others label them. Because naming someone illegally aberrant might lead to bad behavior, this notion is most typically related with the sociology of crime. Labeling theory was popularized by George M. Wilson in his book The Man in the Addison Street Garage.
People will often name themselves after worthy institutions or individuals - for example, "I'm a doctor," or "I'm a student at Addison's School." This is done because they believe these names will be viewed as positive by others - which in turn will result in being treated like one too. If, however, the name given causes negative reactions from others, then people will try to remove it or alter it so others will view them more positively.
George M. Wilson used this concept to explain why some criminals end up in prison while others do not. He argued that since status depends on the perception of others, then those who find themselves without status tend to commit crimes to gain respect. Labeling theory also explains why some people will engage in criminal activities even though they could easily obtain money legally - because it provides them with a sense of power and control over their environment.
Labeling theory has been applied to understanding criminality across different cultures and time periods.
The Social Sciences According to labeling theory, people grow to identify and behave in ways that mirror how others label them. It is most usually connected with crime and deviance sociology: identifying and treating someone as criminally deviant might actually encourage deviant conduct. However, it has been applied to other topics such as employment screening and marriage counseling.
Labeling also plays a role in psychology. Psychologists have used labels to help people understand their own behaviors and those of others. For example, one may be labeled as "narcissistic" to describe a person who takes pride in achievement but lacks empathy for others. The term is not meant as a judgment; rather, it is an explanation based on behavior observed in many narcissists. Labeling also helps psychologists decide what treatment to provide for their patients. For example, a psychologist might label a patient as obsessive-compulsive if the patient exhibits several of the characteristic symptoms of OCD (as listed by the DSM-5). This would help the psychologist know what kind of therapy to recommend.
Labels are also important in the classroom. Teachers can use labels to group students according to ability or interest. This allows each teacher to focus on specific skills while still providing a broad range of material for all students.