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What is the self fulfilling prophecy?

Labelling and the self-fulfilling prophecy explains criminal and anti-social behaviour in terms of societal factors, specifically the way others behave towards you.

The self-fulfilling prophecy shows how a belief or expectation of a person/group whether correct or not, affects the way a person/group will behave.

The concept of labelling is crucial. Labelling is using a generic and broad term to describe members of a minority group. The labels use inferior terms and imply negative connotations. The term is linked with the concept of stereotyping, which is a generalised and simplified view of an individual or situation that is based on limited evidence. E.g. most criminals are working class.

Labelling someone a criminal and then treating that person as such may produce criminal behaviour in the person who is subjected to this expectation.

This is because they see themselves in terms of the criminal label. The person fulfils the criminal label and becomes what the label says – a criminal. The prophecy fulfils itself.

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