Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.

Deviance

Deviance
Deviance

In his book The Lost Continent the travel writer Bill Bryson reported meeting an old friend in Iowa City (a committed drug-taker when a student, but now a respectable pharmacist) who had complained bitterly of the difficulty he encountered in buying marijuana: his regular supplier had suddenly stopped dealing when a law was introduced giving lengthy prison sentences for selling ‘dope’ within a thousand yards of a school:

So one night under cover of darkness, he goes out with a hundred foot tape measure and measures the distance from his house to the school and damn me but it's 997 yards. So he just stops selling dope, just like that. (Bryson, 1989: 238)

In American society, smoking marijuana is (or was) seen as quintessentially deviant behaviour. But ...

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