• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In this Second Edition of his investigation into the relative nature of social deviance and how the public perceives it, author John Curra demonstrates that what qualifies as deviance varies from place to place, time to time, and situation to situation. Through thought-provoking examples that include the blue people of Kentucky, a woman who believes she is a vampire, autoerotic asphyxiators, and others, Curra illustrates that deviance cannot be explained in terms of absolutes, nor can it be understood apart from its social setting. This insightful book approaches sex, violence, theft, suicide, drugs, and mental disorders in such a way that definitive or objective judgments become impossible.

Mental Disorders
Mental disorders
Introduction: Medicalization on 34th Street

A 1947 novel by Valentine Davies described what could have been the trial of the century: the time that Santa Claus was hauled into court and his sanity questioned. The story really begins at the Maplewood Home for the Aged in Great Neck, Long Island. An elderly and kind gentleman, in the peak of health, whose name was Kris Kringle, spent his time making toys and smoking his pipe. One November, the resident physician at Maplewood (Dr. Pierce) gave Kris the bad news that he was being evicted. The reason was that state laws and Maplewood's charter allowed only people who were in good physical and mental health to live there. Kris's claim that he was the one ...

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