Epigrammatic Sociology

Epigrammatic sociology: 100 little wisdoms for sociologists

In the book, there was only room for a short selection of 10 ‘wisdoms’. In the first edition there was room for 25.

Here are one hundred – a starter pack of 100 ideas for you to discuss and analyse.


Part One: The First Ten as listed in Sociology 2

1    Dare to think. (Immanuel Kant’s Enlightenment challenge, 1784.)

2    How is society possible? (A disturbing little question posed by Georg Simmel in an essay with that title, 1910.)

3    Man was born, free but everywhere he is in chains. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s challenge in The Social Contract, 1762.)

4    Society is a contract, a partnership between those who are living, those who are dead and those who are to be born. (Edmund Burke’s conservative attack on the French Revolution in Reflections on the Revolution in France (a best-seller in 1790; Oxford edition, 1993.)

5    Things are not what they seem. (Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology,1966.)

6    Things are what they seem. (Zen saying.)

7    The sociologist is a destroyer of myths. (Norbert Elias, What is Sociology?, 1978.)

8    Defamiliarise the familiar. (Zygmunt Baumann. Thinking Sociologically, 1990.)

9    Treat social facts as things. (Émile Durkheim, The Rules of Sociological Method, 1982.)

10  Consciousness does not determine life, but life determines consciousness. (Marx, German Ideology, 1845.)

Part Two: The Next 15 – as listed in the 25 of Sociology: Basics 1


11 We are mere bundles of habits. (William James, Principles of Psychology, 1890.)

13 We live in the minds of others without knowing it. (Charles H. Cooley, Human Nature and Social Order, 1902.)

14  All science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and essences of things directly coincided. (Marx: Capital, III.)

14  Human beings cannot live together without acknowledging and, consequently, making mutual sacrifices … Every society is a moral society. (Émile Durkheim, Division of Labour, 1893.)

15  Be a good craftsman: Avoid any rigid set of procedures … Avoid the fetishism of method and technique. Let every person be their own methodologist; let every person be their own theorist. (C.Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, 1959.)

16  The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise. (C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, 1959.)

17  Objectivity is the term that men have given their own subjectivity. (Liz Stanley and Sue Wise, Breaking Out, 1983.)

18  There is no best way to tell a story about society. Many genres, many methods, many formats – they can all do the trick. Instead of ideal ways to do it, the world gives us possibilities among which we choose. Every way of telling the story of a society does some of the job superbly but other parts not so well. (Howard S Becker, Telling About Society, 2007.)

19        Every human is in certain respects

  1. like all other humans.
  2. like some other humans.
  3. like no other human.

(The Kluckhohn–Murray aphorism from Clyde Kluckhohn and Henry Murray, Personality in Nature, Culture and Society, 1953.)

20  When people define situations as real they are real in their consequences. (W. I. Thomas, The Unadjusted Girl, 1925.)

21  There is no way out of the game of culture. (Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction, 1986.)

22  From now on nothing that happens on our planet is only a limited local event. (Ulrich Beck, What is Globalization, 2000.)

23  Civil society is a project. It inspires hope for democracy. (Jeffrey Alexander, The Civil Sphere, 2006.)

24  I define postmodernism as incredulity towards metanarratives. (Jean-François Lyotard, The Post-Modern Condition, 1979.)

25  We only become what we are by the radical deep-seated refusal of that which others have made of us. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, 1968.)


Part Three: Another 75

So here are 75 more!

Society and the social (Chapter 2)

  1. God is society writ large.   Durkheim Elementary Forms of religious life
  2. Human beings cannot live together without acknowledging and, consequently, making mutual sacrifices… Every society is a moral society”. Durkheim , in Division of Labour
  1. Societies slowly augment in mass; they progress in complexity of structure; at the same time their parts become more mutually dependent…. Spencer Man versus the state
  2. Social facts are things… they are ways of acting, thinking and feeling, external to the individual & endowed with a power of coercion, by reason of which they control him…   While institutions bear down upon us, we nevertheless cling to them; they impose regulations upon us, and yet we love them; they place constraints upon us, and yet we find satisfaction in the way they function and in that very constraint”… Emile Durkheim The Rules of Sociological Method , p47).
  3. Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an nightmare on the brains of the living. Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonoparte (1852)The Self
  4. The imaginations which people have of one another are the solid facts of society.. and to observe and interpret these must be a chief aim of sociology’ Charles H. Cooley Jacobs: 150…
  5. We live in the minds of others without knowing it.  Charles H. Cooley
  6. The self has the characteristic that it is an object to itself…it is reflexive, and indicates that which can be both subject and object”. George Herbert Mead : Mind, Self and Society.On Societies (Chapter 3)


  1. The evolutionary point of view encourages us to believe that life is a creative process, that we are really building up something new and worth while and that the human will is a part of the creative energy that does this. Every individual has his unique share in this work, which no one but himself can discern and perform. Although his life flows into him from the hereditary and social past, his being as a whole is new, a fresh organization of life. Never anyone before had the same powers and opportunities that you have, and you are free to use them in your own way/ Charles Horton Cooley on Self and Organization   p140


  1. The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the technique of life. Georg SimmelGlobalisation


  2. “From now on nothing that happens on our planet is only a limited local event… Beck
  3. Globalisation has something to do with the thesis that we all now live in one world . . . . Anthony Giddens, A Runaway World 1999: 7
  4. Globalisation is the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary life, from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to the spiritual. David Held et al., Global Transformation 1999: 14–16
  5. Globalisation . . . denotes the processes through which sovereign national states are criss-crossed and undermined by transnational actors with varying prospects of power, orientations, identities and networks. Ulrich Beck, What is Globalization? 2000b: 11)
  6. The Global Age involves the supplanting of modernity with globality . . . [this includes] the global environmental consequences of aggregate human activities; the loss of security where weaponry has global destructiveness; the globality of communication systems; the rise of a global economy; and the reflexivity of globalism, where people and groups of all kinds refer to the globe as the frame for their beliefs. (Martin Albrow, The Global Age, 1996: 4)

Post modern

  1. “The Post-Modern Age is a time of incessant choosing. It’s an era when no orthodoxy can be adopted without self-consciousness & irony, because all traditions seem to have some validity….. (It) is fundamentally the eclectic mixture of any tradition with that of the immediate past… Its best works are characteristically doubly-coded & ironic, making a feature of the wide choice, conflict & discontinuity of traditions…(It is a) double coding : the combination of Modern techniques with something else in order…(for architecture) to communicate with the public and a concerned minority…”   Jencks [1987]p 7
  2. “completely indifferent to questions of consistency and continuity. It self consciously splices genres, attitudes, styles. It relishes the blurring or juxtapoistion of forms (fiction-non-fiction), stances (straight-ironic), moodes (violent-comic), cultural levels (high-low). It disdains orignality and fancies copies, repetition, the recombination of hand me down scraps. It neither embraces or criticises, but beholds the world blankly, with a knowingnness that dissolves feeling and comittment into irony. It pulls the rug out from under itself, displaying acute self consciousness about the work’s constructed nature. It takes pleasure in the play of surfaces, and derides the search for depth as mere nostalgia…” Todd Gitlin, p53
  3. For Baudrillard, the postmodern is:”the characteristic of a universe where there are no more definitions possible. It is a game of defintions which matters…. It has all been done. The extreme limit of ..possibilities has been reached. It has destroyed itself. It has deconstructed its entire universe. So all that are left are pieces. All that remnians to be done is play with the pieces. Playing with the pieces – that is postmodern”.
  4. Finally, for Lyotard, it is the “loss of master narratives” (Jencks. p 30 after Lyotard). ” I define postmodernism as incredulity towards metanarratives..” (Jean-Francois Lyotard [1979/1984]The discipline of Sociology (Chapter 4)
  5. Our science came into being only yesterday. It must not be forgotten….   Durkheim, 1900.
  6. Sociology is ..first and foremost a way of thinking about the human world… … Its questions ‘defamiliarise the familiar’. (Zygmunt Bauman, Thinking Sociologically,1990:8, 15)
  7. The sociologist … is someone concerned with understanding society in a disciplined way. The nature of this discipline is scientific. (Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology, 1963: 27)
  8. The ‘human world’, or the ‘world of humans’, is the distinctive realm of human experience and existence ..and the subject matter with which sociology is concerned’ (Richard Jenkins: Foundations of Sociology, 2002: 3)

Questions (Chapter 5)
Key Ideas in Sociology (Chapter Five)

  1. The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise’. C. Wright Mills
  2. Every human is in certain respects
    like all other humans.
    b. like some other humans.
    c. like no other human.
    The Clyde Kluckholn-Henry Murray Aphorism from their Personality in Nature, Culture and Society (1953)


  1. All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits,—practical, emotional, and intellectual,—systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be… Ninety-nine hundredths or, possibly, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandths of our activity is purely automatic and habitual, from our rising in the morning to our lying down each night…. We are mere bundles of habits    William James The Law of habits Ch 8 of his Talks to Teachers (accessible at http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/tt8.html


  1. History does nothing, it ‘possesses no immense wealth’, it ‘wages no battles’. It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights; ‘history’ is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims. Marx, The Holy Family (1845)

Symbolic interactionism

  1. rests on three simple premises…that human beings act towards things on the basis of the meanings that the things have for them… the meaning of such things arises out of the social interaction that one has with one’s fellows… meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretative process” Herbert Blumer: Symbolic InteractionismSelf fulfilling prophecy
  2. The Thomas Dictum : “When people define situations as real they are real in their consequences”. W.I.Thomas. (The basis of much that is now called “Labelling theory”.)


  1. Once humans create social structures, or institutions, these emergent structures have imperatives or needs, as vital and real as those of the individual organism, that must be met if the ‘social organism’ is to survive”..
    Turner & A.Maryanski, Functionalism, (1979): p50


  1. Structure is always both enabling and constraining, in virtue of then inherent relation between structure and agency (and agency and power)’ (Anthony Giddens 1984: 169

  2. Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning . . .Clifford Geertz Thick description: toward an interpretive theory of culture,  in: The interpretation of cultures: selected essays (1975)
  3. ‘Culture as a ‘tool kit’ of symbols, stories, rituals and world views, which people may use in different configurations to solve different kinds of problems.. it focuses on strategies of action, persistent ways of ordering action through time, and its sees culture’s causal significance not in defining ends of action but in providing cultural components that are used to construct strategies of action’ Ann Swidler ‘Culture in action: symbols and strategies’ American Sociological Review 1986 Vol 51
  4. Culture is ordinary: that is the first fact. Every human society has its own shape, its own purposes, its own meanings. Every human society expresses these, in institutions, and in arts and learning. The making of a society is the finding of common meanings and directions, and its growth is an active debate and amendment under the pressures of experience, contact, and discovery, writing themselves into the land. The growing society is there, yet it is also made and remade in every individual mind. The making of a mind is, first, the slow learning of shapes, purposes, and meanings, so that work, observation and communication are possible. Then, second, but equal in importance, is the testing of these in experience, the making of new observations, comparisons, and meanings. A culture has two aspects: the known meanings and directions, which its members are trained to; the new observations and meanings, which are offered and tested. These are the ordinary processes of human societies and human minds, and we see through them the nature of a culture: that it is always both traditional and creative; that it is both the most ordinary common meanings and the finest individual meanings. We use the word culture in these two senses: to mean a whole way of life–the common meanings; to mean the arts and learning–the special processes of discovery and creative effort. Some writers reserve the word for one or other of these senses; I insist on both, and on the significance of their conjunction. The questions I ask about our culture are questions about deep personal meanings. Culture is ordinary, in every society and in every mind……Raymond Williams: From his essay Convictions, and reprinted in his Responses of Hope (1989)
  5. The interpretation of cultures as hermetic, sealed, internally self consistent wholes is untenable and reflects the reductionist sociology of knowledge. Seyla Benhabib:2002:36)
  6. There is no way out of the game of culture….. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction Chapter 1

    Boundaries and identities
  7. I want to defend the strong thesis that doing without frameworks it is utterly impossible for us; otherwise put, that the horizons within which we live our lives and which make sense of them have to include these strong qualitative discriminations. … The claim is that living within such strongly qualified horizons is constitutive of human agency, that stepping outside these limits would be tantamount to stepping outside what we would recognize as integral, that is undamaged, human personhood. Charles Taylor, 1989:27
  8. If the modern ‘problem of identity’ was how to construct an identity and keep it solid and stable, the postmodern ‘problem of identity’ is primarily how to avoid fixation and keep the options open Zygmun Bauman, 1996:18
  9. We only become what we are by the radical deep –seated refusal of that which others have made of us. Sartre Preface to the Wretched of the earth 1968:17

Materialism and idealism


  1. Consciousness does not determine life, but life determines consciousness’ Marx : German Ideology 164
  2. In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)
  3. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)
  4. IdealismIdeas have consequences ( title of a book by Richard Weaver (1948) which critiques nominalism… and the decline of the West through materialism and commodification)



  5. Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power…. Foucault/ Sexuality   p95 / Lukes, 95

Method – doing sociology (Chapter 6)

  1. Every scientific fulfillment raises new questions; it asks to be surpassed and outdated.  Max Weber (in From Max Weber


  1. All science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and essences of things directly coincided. Marx: Capital,III


  1. b e a good craftsman: Avoid any rigid set of procedures.. Avoid the fetishism of method and technique…Let every person be their own methodologist; let every person be their own theorist…… C.Wright Mills The Sociological Imagination 1959 Appendix
  2. The first and most fundamental rule is: Consider social facts as things” (Rules of Sociological Method : Ch 2, opening line) This “is a category of facts with very distinctive characteristics: it consists of ways of acting, thinking and feeling, external to the individual & endowed with a power of coercion, by reason of which they control him” (p3, Durkheim Rules)


  1. Sociology is a science concerning itself with the interpretive understanding of social action and thereby with a causal explanation of its course and consequences…. Max Weber


The Chicago School

  1. The first things that students in sociology need to learn is to observe and record their own observations; to read, and then to select and record the materials which are the fruits of their readings; to organise and use, in short their own experience’ Park and Burgess, 1921 Introduction to Sociology p45

On Art

  1. How different things would be … if the social sciences at the time of their systematic formation in the nineteenth century had taken the arts in the same degree they took the physical science as models (Robert Nisbet, 1976: p. 16).Male Objectivity
  2. Objectivity is the term that men have given their own subjectivity ..Stanley and Wise, Breaking Out p49

Plural methods

  1. There is no best way to tell a story about society. Many genres, many methods, many formats – they can all do the trick. Instead of ideal ways to do it, the world gives us possibilities among which we choose. Every way of telling the story of a society does some of the job superbly but other parts not so well……Howard S Becker     Telling About Society 2007 : 285Becoming intimately familiar!
  2. You have been told to go grubbing in the library, thereby accumulating a mass of notes and a liberal coating of grime. You have been told to choose problems wherever you can find musty stacks of routine records based on trivial schedules prepared by tired bureaucrats and filled out by reluctant applicants for aid or fussy do gooders or indifferent file clerks. This is called ‘getting your hands dirty in real research’. Thos who counsel you are wise and honourable; the reasons they offer of great value. But one thing more is needful: first hand observation. Go and sit in the lounges of the luxury hotels and on the doorsteps of the flophouses; sit on the Gold Coast settees and on the slum shakedowns; sit in the orchestra Hall and in the Star and Garter Burlesque. In short, gentlemen , go get the seat of your pants dirty in real research’….. Robert Park, cited in Bulmer The Chicago School of Sociology 1984 p97…

The Sociological Task

  1. Always keep your eyes open to the image of man – the generic notion of his human nature – which by your work you are assuming and implying; and also to the image of history – your notion of how history is being made. In a word, continually work out and revise your views of the problems of history, the problems of biography, and the problems of a social structure in which biography and history intersect. Keep your eyes open to the varieties of individuality, and to the modes of epochal change. Use what you see and what you imagine as the clues to your study of the human variety . . . know that many personal troubles cannot be solved merely as troubles, but must be understood in terms of public issues – and in terms of the problems of history making. Know that the human meaning of public issues must be revealed by relating them to personal troubles and to the problems of individual life. Know that the problems of social science, when adequately formulated, must include both troubles and issues, both biography and history, and the range of their intricate relations. Within that range the life of the individual and the making of societies occur; and within that range the sociological imagination has its chance to make a difference in the quality of human life in our time. (Mills, 1967: 3–5, 225–6; orig. 1957).
  2. In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispendable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitute the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness”. Karl Marx Preface,A Critique of Political Economy, 1859.

Inequalities (Chapter 7)


Social class


  1. The history of all human society, past and present, has been the history of class struggles. Marx Manifesto of the Communist Society.
  2. The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas. Marx, German Ideology (1845)


  1. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other.
    1. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1997 introduction


  1. Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.
    1. Margaret Mead


  1. Ain’t I a woman? Title by Soujouner …
  2. Gender is always a relationship, not a preformed category of beings or a possession that one can have. Gender does not pertain more to women than to men. Gender is the relation between variously constituted categories of men and women (and variously arrayed tropes), differentiated by nation, generation, class, lineage, color, and much else.
    Donna Haraway
  3. The counterpart to discrimination against women in society is sexism in sociology. In much sociology, women as a social group are invisible or inadequately represented : they take the insubstantial form of ghosts, shadows or stereotyped characters”. (Ann Oakley, 1974).
  4. .”the deeply rooted popular mythology that casts objectivity, reason and mind as male, and subjectivity, feeling and nature as female..!” Keller, Gender & Science p7)

Race and ethnicity


  1. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. E. B. Du Bois
  2. One ever feels his twoness-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. E. B. Du Bois

Social Capital


  1. By ‘social capital’ I mean features of social life – networks, norms and trust- that enable participants to act together moiré effectively to pursue shared objectives. (Putnam 1996: 56

Social Role of Sociologist (Chapter 8)

  1. The philosopher’s have only interpreted the world in various; the point is, to change it’ Karl Marx Theses on Feurbach 158The Future


  2. What we can do is…make life a little less terrible and a little less unjust in every generation. A good deal can be achieved in this way. Karl PopperA map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at. Oscar Wilde.

Knowledge and epistemology

  1. Imagination is more important than knowledge Einstein
  2. The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance   Socrates (Spinoza   Tracticus Politicus 1677 Ch 1)
  3. Beyond the creative act in any science, physical or social, lies a form and intensity of imagination.. that is not different from what we have learned of the creative process in the arts Robert Nisbet Sociology as an art form 1976   p9
  4. [There is ] a crucial feature of the human condition that has been rendered almost invisible by the overwhelmingly monological bent of mainstream modern philosophy… This crucial feature of human life is its fundamentally dialogical character. …The monological ideal seriously underestimates the place of the dialogical in human life… Charles TaylorAnd a few more for good luck to end with!

    Story telling and narrative

  1. We tell ourselves stories in order to live   Joan Didion
  2. We need to become awash in tellings. Miller Mair
  3. We have each of us, a life story, an inner narrative – whose continuity, whose sense is our lives…. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative to maintain his identity… Oliver Sachs
  4. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his life as if he were telling a story. Jean Paul Sartre
  5. f you want to know me, then you must know my story, for my story defines who I am. And if I want to know myself.. then I too must come to know my own story. Dan PMcAdams
  6. It is perhaps as difficult to write a good life as to live one Lytton Strachey
  7. Fascination for life narratives is a defining feature of Western societies D Simoni and D Diani
  8. Narratives and stories are among the most powerful instruments for
    ordering human experience. Narrative can be expressed in oral or
    written language, still or moving pictures, or a mixture of these media.
    It is present in myths, legends, fables, tales, short stories, epics,
    history, tragedy, drama, comedy, pantomime, paintings, stained glass
    windows, movies, local news, and conversation. In its almost infinite
    variety of forms, it is present at all times, in all places, and in all
    Indeed, narrative starts with the very history of mankind….”
    ( Barthes, 1975).
  9. Our life is essentially a set of stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future… we ‘story’ our lives…in fact, restorying continually goes on within us Kenyon and Randall
  10. Our society has become a recited society, in three senses: it is defined by stories (Recits, the fables constituted by our advertising and informational media) by citations of stories, and by the interminable recitation of stories. Michel de Certeau The Practice of Everyday Life, 1984 p186


  1. Crime brings together upright consciences and concentrates them Durkheim  (1960, 103).
  1. Contrary to current ideas, the criminal no longer seems a totally unsociable being, a sort of parasitic element, a strange and unassimiable body, introduced into the midst of society. On the contrary, he plays a definite role in social life. Crime, for its part, must no longer be conceived as an evil that cannot be too much suppressed.” Emile Durkheim The Rules of the Sociological Method (1963)
  2. We have only to notice what happens, particularly in a small town, when some moral scandal has just occurred. Men stop each other on the street, they visit each other, they seek to come together to talk of the event and to wax indignant in common. From all the similar impressions which are exchanged, and the anger that is expressed, there emerges a unique emotion, more or less determinate according to the circumstances, which emanates from no specific person, but from everyone. This is the public wrath…….Crime brings together honest men and concentrates them.” Emile Durkheim The Division of Labor in Society
  3. When a person begins to employ his deviant behaviour or a role based upon it as a means of defense, attack or adjustment to the overt and overt problems created by the consequent societal reaction to him, his deviation is secondary’ Edwin Lemert Social Pathology (1951) p 76
  4. I have come to believe that that the idea that social control leads to social deviance is the potentially richer premise for studying deviance in modern society Abridged from Edwin Lemert, Human deviance, social problems and social control 1967 p22
  5. The process of making the criminal, therefore, is a process of tagging, defining, identifying, segregating, describing, emphasising, making conscious and self conscious; it becomes a way of stimulating, suggesting, emphasing and evoking the very traits that are complained of…. the person become the thing he is described as being…. Frank Tannebaum Crime and the community (1938) p19
  6. Deviance is not a property inherent in certain forms of behaviour; it is a property conferred upon these forms by the audiences which directly or indirectly witness then. Sociologically, then, the critical variable is the social audience……Kai T Erikson Notes on the sociology of deviance Social Problems, 9 (1962) p308
  7. Social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders. From this point of view, deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label     Howard Becker, Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance, New York, Free Press, 1963, p.9
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