Coined by Edwin Lemert, it refers to he defining label in a person's life, the most prevalent ones around here being, geek, noder, waste of human flesh, etc. Sociologists and psychologists look at a person's master-status when trying to understand their behavior. Most often one's gender identity or socioeconomic status gives a master-status, though Lemert originally used the term to refer to either a gender status or a criminal status, saying that a community's label of a person as a deviant or criminal was powerful enough to replace their status as a man or woman.

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