Deviance in American Life
Our participation in groups imparts to us far more than mere practical solutions to problems of living. By jointly working out solutions to their circumstances, people develop shared understandings that serve as the basic framework by which they interpret reality. They also develop perspectives on life that color what they see and help determine the meaning they give to what happens to them.
In this book on deviance in American Society, the significance of group membership is seen as paramount to understanding the phenomena. Although some authors in this collection present perspectives from "within" the deviant group while the perspectives of others originate from "without," for all of them, group membership underlies the perspective. Chapters emphasize the importance of group support in departures from dominant norms, the profound effects that deviant life-styles have on those who lead them, the dissatisfaction of mainstreamers with deviants and their quandry about what to do with them, and the basic issue of the proper relationship between conformists and deviants. In addition, there is the fascinating theme of what properly constitutes deviance, a reflection of changes in the sociological orientation.
This lively collection provides an understanding of some forms of deviance, insight into problems of social control, social policy, and other reactions to deviance, as well as sympathetic understanding of some of the ideological and measurement dilemmas facing researchers in their constructive efforts to analyze deviance.
James M. Henslin is professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Among the books he has authored or edited are Down to Earth Sociology, Marriage and Family in a Changing Society, Social Problems (with Donald Light), The Sociology of Sex (with Edward Sagarin) and Introducing Sociology