HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 11, 2010 ? Dr. Terrell A. Hayes, associate professor of sociology at High Point University, published in the most recent edition of “Deviant Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal.”
The article, titled “Labeling and the Adoption of a Deviant Status” explores, through in-depth interviews, the role social- and self-labeling play in the process by which 46 members of Debtors Anonymous came to recognize their personal indebtedness as indicative of a deviant status. Particular attention was paid to the respective roles one’s informal social network and self-help groups play in promoting the transformation from a non-deviant to a deviant identity.
Hayes’ findings have important theoretical implications for both labeling theory and identity change processes. Among these, that individuals often go through several iterations of labeling episodes before the transformation from a self-perceived non-deviant to a deviant status is complete.
“My findings also point to the need to revisit some of the original assumptions made by early labeling theorists in order to account for particular circumstances like the conditions under which an individual is more likely to be a passive recipient of others’ labeling efforts,” Hayes says.
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