Social drift is the gradual process of changing status relative to others. This often pejorative concept applies to individuals as well as groups and is used in criminology, psychology, sociology, and other disciplines. People are said to drift into criminal enterprise, drug addiction, poverty, alienation from society, or homelessness, for example. Social mobility (i.e., the ability to move within a stratified status structure in a society) influences social drift. If upward mobility is blocked or perceived to be, downward drift is more likely. This essay describes social drift theory, provides an overview of the history of criminology, and examines the relationship between drift in socioeconomic status (SES) and criminal behavior.

Defining Social Drift

Social drift refers to behavioral observations, such as drifting into delinquency, and the theoretical ...

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