The Deviant Mystique: Involvements, Realities, and Regulation

By Robert Prus; Scott Grills | Go to book overview

3
Theaters of Operation
Deviance as Community Enterprise

If one is to permeate the deviant mystique in a more adequate sense, it will be necessary to consider the ways in which the many people involved in the production of deviance at a community level engage their activities at hand.

In what follows, we identify the major sets of players in the various theaters of operation that constitute "deviance in the making."1 Clearly, only some people (and perhaps only one) may be involved in any "instance of deviance," but an attentiveness to this broader set of interactive arenas is essential for comprehending (and studying) deviance as a consequential and generic feature of community life.

Because it draws attention to the fuller set of roles that people may engage with respect to deviance as a community phenomenon, this statement on people's theaters of operation serves to set the stage for the chapters that follow. For purposes of presentation, the "players" are located within three major arenas of involvement: (1) experiencing deviance; (2) managing trouble; and (3) participating in public forums. These distinctions are not mutually exclusive and we should expect some overlap of people's involvements across these realms of endeavor. Although people often engage single roles in specific instances of deviance, it should be recognized that some people may assume multiple roles in single settings and frequently become involved in a variety of theaters of operation as they move from one context to another.


EXPERIENCING DEVIANCE

When discussing people's involvements in what are allegedly deviant enterprises within the community, it may be instructive to delineate five forms of participation. We refer here to those who may be envisioned as practitioners, supporting casts, implicated parties, vicarious participants, and targets. Thus, in addition to those who directly engage in activities designated as deviant, however tentatively or intensively they may pursue these roles, we should also

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