Labeling Essay Sociology

Topics: Gang, Label, Record label Pages: 5 (1988 words) Published: March 29, 2011
When a person is labeled as something he or she has become part of that particular sub-culture, and although that person might not consider themselves to be that particular label, society has the majority rule. If society considers a person with tattoos a rebel, that person is now a troublemaker in society’s eyes; he or she carries the characteristics of that certain label, and that title sticks. Labeling in society is a natural human property. Humans label sub-consciously in order to organize the people they may come in contact with in society day-to-day. This action takes place because having a label does not stop at the face; it runs much deeper. Labels carry characteristics, properties, and key traits that can give a person an idea of what someone is like before they even say “[H]ello”. Every person has a label or title, but how does the labeling of people and groups affect others around them and society as a whole?

In the article Decent into Madness: The New Mexico State Prison Riot written by Mark Colvin labeling plays an extraordinary role in the events leading up to the 1980 riot and the events that occurred during the riot. In the prison system being labeled something negative like a snitch can be potentially deadly. The guards would use labeling to coerce inmates into spilling useful information. The labeling in this prison system effects inmates greatly causing amalgams of emotions and an inner battle between what they believe is right and the what they pledged to their gangs. The labeling in a prison system effects directly affects the other inmates, not just a singled out victim. Others might feel betrayed which could lead to a whirlwind of other consequences, actions, and emotions. Another article that shows how society is affected by labels is The New Tattoo Subculture by Anne M. Velliquette and Jeff B. Murray. People with tattoos are constantly being titled rebels, troublemakers, and delinquents, when in fact people with tattoos usually have a very heart-felt story or reason why they ink themselves. To these people, they feel that they are being labeled unfairly and that society is making quick and senseless judgments. When it comes to school, nobody wants to be labeled the school nerd, slut, or anything negative. People only want to be labeled positively, something that gives them perks in school and applies to their own self-interest. The Peer Power: Clique Dynamics Among School Children written by Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler, talks about the school structure and how labels can either make or break a student’s school career. The article talks about how cliques are labeled by the students who make them, almost like the saying people are what they eat, and school cliques are made by the people who are involved in them. School cliques carry pressures that not only affect the overall environment of the school but, labeling and clique involvement also effects staff and teachers as well as peers not involved in cliques. A hierarchy system is a clear cut way to put people into a certain class. Being at the top involves large amounts of power that effects society around them, while being at the bottom can allow for zero power and their actions hardly effect the environment around them. In the article Gang Business: Making Ends Meet by Martin Sanchez Jankowski the hierarchy system is used organize levels of a gang and individual players. This hierarchy system is one of the most clear cut ways to label an individual, because if a person is labeled a pusher he or she is basically stuck in with that title and the labels responsibilities until they have earned themselves increased respect from their peers. Gangs, governments, militarist and political parties use the hierarchy system to put people in certain ranks, and each rank brings its own traits and characteristics that person must follow or they will suffer the consequences.

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