Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Becker, Howard S.: Labeling and Deviant Careers
Michele L. Whitehead & Robert A. Sarver III
Howard S. Becker, American sociologist and jazz musician, was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1928. His formal education in social science and human behavior came from study under sociologist Everett C. Hughes at the University of Chicago. Becker cites Hughes as his mentor and among his favorite sociologists (Becker, 2009). Becker's approach to the exploration of labeling, deviance, and deviant careers transcended the symbolic interactionist theoretical landscape and classical criminology in the social sciences. Becker's contribution to sociological and criminological inquiry posed a new objective to researchers and theorists: to no longer accept a definition of crime or a criminal act as an absolute, but rather to explore the criminal justice system processes, the constructions of the definition of deviance, the results of the imposition of sanctions to individual self identification, and the potential lifetime self-image penalty for behavior deemed to be deviant, illegal, or not within the boundaries of ...