U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Conceptual and Theoretical Issues in the Study of Deviance

NCJ Number
Deviant Behavior Volume: 9 Issue: 1 Dated: (1988) Pages: 55-76
R M Terry; D J Steffensmeier
Date Published
22 pages
The agenda for theorists of deviance remains as it has been for many years: adequate conceptualization of the phenomenon in combination with theoretical attention to the problems of how deviance is produced (deviance-making), how and why deviance occurs (theories of deviance) and how and why responses to deviance take particular forms (reactions to deviance). We argue that deviance is best conceptualized as differentially valuated phenomena.
Deviance-making is identified as an important, yet generally neglected area of concern. While we regard theorizing in deviance as relatively stagnant, some trends and issues are identified, with particular attention being given to the recent rise of structural and macro-level theorizing. Reactions to deviance are discussed under the rubric of a series of generalizations subject to additional empirical assessment and synthesizing. We conclude by noting that attention to the issues identified in our agenda is imperative if the sociology of deviance is to remain a viable and distinct sub-field within the discipline. (Publisher abstract)


No download available