Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective

Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective

Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective

Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective


This highly successful reader presents the interactionist approach to the study of deviance, examining deviance as a phenomenon that is constituted through social interpretations and the reactions of persons caught up in this social process. This book focuses on issues such as how individuals interpret and label people, how people relate to one another based on these interpretations, and the consequences of these social processes. This perspective helps students understand both social process in general and the sociology of deviance in particular.


The purpose of this book has been to present students with recent and important work in the sociology of deviance. We have, however, limited ourselves to one particular approach to this study. We call this approach the interactionist perspective.

The interactionist approach to the study of deviance is by no means new. But until the appearance of the first edition of Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective, students had to search for statements of the approach as well as for studies that exemplified it. The purpose of the first edition, then, was to present the interactionist approach to the study of deviance and to make readily available the excellent studies that set forth or illustrate it. In the succeeding editions, we have updated the readings and made special efforts to make our own text more readable.

We see this book as having two major uses. As a statement on the interactionist perspective on deviance and a collection of readings employing that approach, the book can be used in deviance courses that are taught from the interactionist point of view. The second use is that of adjunct to deviance courses that are organized around other points of view. Most of the papers presented in this book can easily stand on their own merits, and even if the book does nothing more than familiarize readers with these works, it will have served its purpose.

In this edition we have incorporated nine new readings and modified the book’s text. In this way, we have continued to update Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective.

E. R. M. S. W.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.