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I recently saw a video (unfortunately can't remember where), where someone claimed that the use of labels to identify social groups produced or increased prejudice. So the labels of nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. influence the perception of such groups by others, and result in segregation and discrimination rather than a desired effect of acceptance or unification.

I believe the context is described as "identity politics", where social groups label themselves, or are labeled, in an attempt to promote awareness of their social status / plight / cause, etc. My impression was that the labels promote an "us vs. them" mindset, potentially by reinforcing differences rather than shared traits. (Tribalism?)

Does this theory regarding the 'negative' consequences of the use of labels have a name?

Are there studies demonstrating such behavior?

I found the term "labels" used in the context of symbolic interactionism, but the articles I've found so far seem to describe that as the tendency of a person to act in a way that conforms to the label (e.g. a person labeled as "deviant" will adopt behavior to meet the definition of the term). I'm interested in how the self-adoption of a label by a group may produce a negative perception or separation / isolation of the group, such as producing discrimination that might not otherwise occur.

UPDATE: I saw this discussion of ingroup / outgroup behavior, which sounds relevant. Are labels one mechanism by which ingroup / outgroup associations developed? Is the discrimination a reliable / consistent result of identifying people as outgroup?

What is the primary mechanism behind nationalism, sports-team-ism, product-ism etc.?

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closed as too broad by AliceD, Robin Kramer, Seanny123, user3116, queenslug Mar 9 '17 at 14:46

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ This question is currently too broad as it seems to ask many questions about the relation between labels, groups and discrimination/perception. If you could break up this question into separate posts, it would make it much easier to answer. $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Feb 20 '17 at 6:09
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It seems like ingroup-outgroup stereotyping / bias / discrimination is the concept I'm looking for. This article seems to sum it up well.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201012/in-groups-out-groups-and-the-psychology-crowds

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