Tuesday, January 29, 2008

for students

i have stumbled across this letter from Howard Becker {labeling theory} to students. for some reason, i find the very need of such a letter fascinating. i tend to think of many of the theorists we learn about as old and dead (since many are), but forget that some are not at all so. since students in sociology and criminology learn about this guy and are assigned papers accordingly everyday, i'm sure he does get lots of emails. here's a bit:
I said everything I have to say about labeling theory in my book, Outsiders. I have nothing to add to what I said in that book.
Similarly, I cannot help you apply labeling theory to some special topic that your teacher has assigned to you. I suppose that your teacher did that as an exercise which would help you understand the ideas by applying them to some specific area.

If any of this seems strange or unfeeling to you, please talk to your teacher about it. Especially the people who have written me saying that they have no idea where to find the answers they are looking for. You should be able to get help with this from the teacher who gave you the assignment. Print this page out and show it to them.

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