moral entrepreneurs

moral entrepreneurs

those members of society with the power to create or enforce rules (BECKER, Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance, 1963). For Becker, for whom DEVIANCE represents ‘publicly labelled wrongdoing’, someone must call the public's attention to such wrongdoings. Deviance is the product of enterprise in the sense that there are:
  1. those who act to get rules made; and
  2. those who apply the rules once a rule has come into existence, so that offenders created by the abstract rules may be identified, apprehended and convicted. Becker's interest is in reversing the emphasis of most social scientific research which concerns itself with the people who break rules. Instead, he suggests ‘we must see deviance… as a consequence of a process of interaction between people, some of whom, in the service of their own interests, make and enforce rules which catch others who, in the service of their own interests, have committed acts which are labelled deviant’. See also LABELLING THEORY, MORAL CRUSADE.
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