Essay on Sociology: The Power of a Label

Essay on Sociology: The Power of a Label

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In the film “The Outsiders” and the “The Saints and the Roughnecks” article there are two types of classes; a lower class viewed as deviant and a middle class viewed as perfect. These two classes are defined by different statuses, titles, and symbols. They are also labeled differently by government officials, police, and by their respective social classes. Putting a “deviant” label on a certain social class almost always causes the labeled class to complete their “fulfilled prophecy. The tension between classes further reinforces what happens when we apply labels to groups in society, labels that will cause pain, suffering, and unequal treatment of other classes.
The movie “The Outsiders” takes a look at the life of the two social classes of the era (mid 60’s) the socs and the greasers. The socs are snooty and view themselves as superior to the other classes (especially the greasers, they are part of the upper classes). “You guys know what greasers are? Rednecks with long, Greasy hair” (movie). The socs have a hatred/rivalry with the greasers, probably due to the differences in their perceived status, as well as their different values and sociological niches. The socs seem to be able to get away with almost anything, they are held in higher regard by important societal judges like the police and the schools. They often are found drinking and causing more of a disturbance then the Greasers, they also like to fight, especially their rivals.
The greasers are labeled as deviant by the police and the public, they are part of the lower/working class. They are often discriminated against because of their lower education, income level, and family stability. Sadly at times the greasers seem to accept their “fate” and keep reinforcing th...


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... church and rescues several children, performing a nondeviant act and showing the potential of his class. The socs/saints seem to be more deviant in the fact that they do the same or even more amount of deviant activities as the greasers, but are able to get away with it due to their high social statuses. Social class had much to do with the public’s perception of them and the ways the public perceived their acts of deviance. The roughnecks/greasers had heard for so long that they were never going to amount to anything and they behaved in accordance with the negative expectations others had of them.



Works Cited

Henslin, James M. "Ch 6." Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-earth Approach. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2006. 141-42. Print.

The Outsiders. Dir. Francis Coppola. Perf. Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Carlos Estevez. Zoetrope Studios, 1983. Videocassette.

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