This engaging introduction explores the meaning of social deviance in contemporary society, from criminal activity to alternative lifestyle choices. Stuart Henry traces the path by which we create deviance: how we single out behavior and appearances that differ from the ‘norm’, label them as offensive or unacceptable, and condemn them. It explains what kinds of behaviors are banned and who bans them, as well as exposing the important political influences on the social codes that lead to some people’s behavior being sanctioned and others’ being celebrated. Ultimately Social Deviance reveals the underlying process by which some people get sucked into deviant lifestyles from which there appears to be no escape, highlighting the central role of social stigma on a person’s identity.
At its core this book looks at who becomes deviant and why. It delves into the multiple motives that cause rule breakers to behave badly, at least in the eyes of those they offend, and it reveals the way deviants think about their actions, their moral identity and their fellow moral outcasts.