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Deviance in American Life

NCJ Number
J M Henslin
Date Published
418 pages
This book provides an understanding of some forms of deviance, insight into problems of social control, social policy, and other reactions to deviance.
The opening section presents an overview of sociological theorizing on deviance, examining deviance theory from the framework of structuralism and individualism. This is followed by a focus on the meaning of deviance, knowing what is or is not deviant, and the ideological shaping of current sociological approaches to deviance. The third section presents problems in measuring deviance, going from the ethical issues of research in deviance brought about by experiments on obedience to authority to the question of how to accurately measure deviance. The fourth section presents a pair of descriptions of urban gangs, providing an "inside" approach, as well as its "outside" sociological analysis of gang life. The fifth section focuses on cults, their attractions to youth and how to "mainstream" those who have left traditional religions. The sixth section examines ecological aspects of deviance, looking at the decline of skid row and the relationships where the boundaries of race and class cross. In the concluding section, dilemmas of social control and social policy are reviewed. 73 notes, 18 references, 3 tables.