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The SociologicalQuarterly (Spring1982):157-169 23
Deviance Rules: Creating A Macroscopic Model*
RonaldJ. Troyer,Drake University GeraldE. Markle,Western MichiganUniversity In this paperwe proposea macrolevel the modelfor analyzing creationof deviance rules.We begin by placingthe phenomenon withinthe contextof the social factist and social definitionist the sociological traditions, identifying insightsand difficulties the socialproblems We rule creation. sugliterature for deviance presents explaining difficulties be resolvedby placingthe processwithina can gest that the theoretical The consequent dialecticalmodel of deviance framework. sociologyof knowledge is that society is composedof a numberof designation based on the assumption in of definitions deviance generalinterests varying degreesof conflictwithprevailing outcomes previous of This balanceor accommodation contests. becomes representing vulnerable with the introduction increasein strainwhich is a potentialresource or for interest a The groupsdesiring new definition. outcomeof the ensuingconflictis seen as dependent the abilityof the combatants employresources the battle. in on to We concludeby identifying advantages model has for studying deviance the the the rulecreation process. of This is how I treat theory: it is somethingto guide our understanding the social world; it helps us throughthe labyrinthof the buzzingconfusion of conflictingideologies, and, most of all, theory liberatesus from dead facts and worn-out myths. (Davis 1980:xv) But since those sociologistswho espouse a strong and explicit determinism,and those who practice the techniquesof "verstehen," "empathy,"and "takingthe actor'spoint of view," differ upon so very many issues, technical and otherwise, the present suggestions are more likely to be treated as a pollution of the boundarybetween schools of thought than as a pathway to agreement. (Barnes, 1974:83-84) For decades the sociology of deviance focused on rule violation. This approach produced works on rule violators, described which rules were violated and how they were violated, and, arguably, why they were violated. Largely neglected in this work was the process by which rules were created; that is, the process by which deviant categories and designations were constructed. Recently scholars have begun to focus attention on this issue, resulting in...