Lemert, Edwin M.: Primary and Secondary Deviance
Michael J. Rosenberg
Edwin M. Lemert posited the notion of primary and secondary deviance in his 1951 text Social Pathology . The discussion of these distinct forms of deviance took only a few pages, but the effect on various theories of criminal behavior, particularly labeling theory, were rich and far-reaching. Lemert further delved into this dichotomy in his 1967 Human Deviance, Social Problems, and Social Control , painting a fuller picture of how he believed that societal reactions to a violation of social norms could lead an individual to continued violation of these norms (including the commission of crimes) and an eventual self-identification with behaviors and groups existing outside of the established (i.e., mainstream) societal framework. According to Lemert, this self-identification would cement an individual's status in society as that of a deviant. For Lemert, primary deviance is behavior that departs from a social norm yet causes no long-term consequences for the offender. ...