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Deviant Behavior

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Deviant Behavior

Erich Goode

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Overview

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Deviant Behavior offers an engaging and wide-ranging discussion of deviant behavior, beliefs, and conditions. It examines how the society defines, labels, and reacts to whatever, and whoever, falls under this stigmatizing process thereby providing a distinctly sociological approach to the phenomenon. The central focus in defining what and who is deviant is the audience members of the influential social collectivities that determine the outcome of this process. The discussion in this volume encompasses both the explanatory (or positivist) approach and the constructionist (or labeling) perspectives, thereby lending a broad and inclusive vista on deviance. The central chapters in the book explore specific instances or forms of deviance: including crime, substance abuse, and mental disorder, all of which share the quality that they and their actors, believers, or bearers may be judged by these influential parties in a negative or derogatory fashion. And throughout Deviant Behavior, the author emphasizes that, to the sociologist, the term “deviant” is completely non-pejorative; no implication of inferiority or stigma is implied; what the author emphasizes is that specific members of the society – social circles or collectivities – define and treat certain parties in a derogatory fashion; the sociologist does not share in this stigmatizing process, but observes and describes it.

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