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12. Social Deviance

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Chapter Summary

The disciplines of sociology and criminology share a long history of dealing with the concept of social deviance, a history that, roughly speaking, moved through the layered phases of classicism, positivism/integrationism, pluralism and radicalism. To most of today's social scientists, who regard integrationism as rather outdated and assume either a genuine pluralist democracy or a set of unequal structured power relations to be the bedrock of society, social deviance is regarded as a "contested category". The strong version of universalism claims that all individuals, cultural groups and societies can and should agree to regard specific acts as deviant, and that all legal systems should regard the most serious harmful acts as criminal. Controlled deviance overheats and breaks through the control system at its weakest points to appear as plural forms of uncontrolled deviance.

Keywords: criminology; cultural groups; radicalism; social deviance



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