2
Self-Esteem and Deviance

Sociology as a social science is concerned with social action; in the words of Weber (see Parsons 1947, 88), it "is a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its cause and effect." Sociologists are concerned with deviance and have developed major theories of deviance to explain social action that deviates from society's norms. The six most important theoretical positions that have been advanced are : (1) the anomie theory of Durkheim, as developed by Merton ( 1938); (2) the differential association theory of Sutherland ( 1947); (3) the subcultural theory of Cohen ( 1955); (4) the labeling theory of Becker ( 1963) and others; (5) conflict theory, general and random, Sellin ( 1938) and others and (6) the classic Marxian position, set forth by Kennedy ( 1970), Chambliss and Seidman ( 1971), and others. These will be discussed briefly.

The focus, in sociology, is upon society and the group. In psychology it is upon the individual. The self-esteem theory is an attempt to meld the major sociological theories with self-esteem as developed from the Adlerian tradition. Steffenhagen presented his first paper on this theme, "An Adlerian Approach Toward a Self-Esteem Theory of Deviance" ( 1978). Steffenhagen ( 1983, ch. 4) presents an expanded version with an emphasis on drug abuse. H. Gilman McCann ( 1983, ch. 9) states: "In sum, self-esteem theory adds a psychological dynamic to social structural theories of deviance that helps account both for deviance on a large scale or by groups and for deviant individuals who seem to violate the norms of their associates as well as those of the dominant class." In the late 1960s, I devoted my time and energies to

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