Howard S. Becker and Edwin Lemert separately created two theories of criminal deviance, that, at the time were extremely radical. These theories revolved around the idea that


Deviance != Act
rather Deviance == Application of the Rules by Others

He stated in his 1963 paper that "Deviance is not a quality of action, but an application of rules." Thus the community's reaction to a particular rule violation determines the criminality of the act, not the rules themselves. The community was then broken into four types of individuals depending on their behavior and the community's perceptions of them:


         |   Obedient     |   Rule-Breaking
         |   Behavior     |     Behavior
_________|________________|_______________________
Perceived|   Falsely      |       Pure
Deviance |   Accused      |      Deviant
_________|________________|_______________________
Percieved|    Normal      |      Secret
Normal   |                |      Deviant

Those who are considered normal obviously go about their lives with little to no trouble. Likewise the pure deviants are those who truly are criminals. The Secret Deviants are those who are either not caught or, more applicably, those whose actions are in conflict wth the rules, but do not elicit an unfavorable reaction from society. The most obvious examples of secret deviants are everyone who goes 5-7 miles an hour over the speed limit, changes lanes within 200 feet of an intersection.. basically everyone. The Falsely Accused are often society's scapegoats, the victims of Catergorical Reasoning (i.e. Racial Profiling).

Lemert went on from Becker to say that those few that fall into the Pure Deviant category are by no means criminal through fault of their own.. they were labelled by society. Lemert glosses over the separation of Deviance and Criminality to focus on the Pure Deviant and the Two types of Deviance as well as the biphasic reactions of the community.

Primary Deviance is the original act that invokes a reation from the community.

Secondary Deviance is any deviant act (according to Lemert all deviant acts) that is a result of the individual accepting society's label of deviant or criminal. Their Master-Status is now Deviant/Criminal, and they cannot escape it.

Primary Criminalization refers to the laws and rules that the community has elected to put into place, whether they are criminal laws or ethical rules and standards.

Secondary Criminalization refers to the community's adopted applications of these laws and rules, which is not nessecarily the police. As the Simpson's taught us: There's no justice like angry mob justice....

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.