Deviance and Control

Deviance and Control

Deviance and Control

Deviance and Control

Excerpt

This book looks toward a general theory of deviant behavior-- i.e., a system of propositions that are applicable to all the manifold varieties of deviance. Such a theory should account not only for the occurrence of deviance but also for the particular forms that it takes. Whether such a theory is possible or how closely it can be approached only time and hard work can tell. We have many theories about particular kinds of deviance--e.g., crime, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism, prostitution, and so forth, but only a very modest literature that deals systematically with issues that cut across the whole field.

I have made no effort in this book to compile an inventory of the leading theories about this kind of deviance and that. One must, of course, build upon the literature that we have, and much of this book consists of summaries of theories and research about particular kinds of deviance. However, my intention is to offer these as examples of more generalized ways of thinking about deviance, and to emphasize their possible implications for more comprehensive theories of deviance and control.

Again, since we must build upon what we have, this book deals more than I should have wished with those kinds of deviance--crime and delinquency leading the field--that are popularly regarded as serious social problems; these are the kinds that the literature is mainly concerned with. However, it is important that the reader understand (and I have tried to make this clear throughout the text) that deviance, as I use the term, is just as much concerned with the violation of the normative rules or under-

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