“Outsiders” by Howard Becker

The Traditional Study of Deviance and Sociology

The book discusses the traditional study of deviance and sociology. That was the first and clearest understanding of the "Labelling Theory." The first section of the book explores and explains the meaning of deviance in a social context, as well as attempts to dispute the current constraints in defining deviation. The author goes on to clarify that in order for a specific conduct to be categorized as deviant, it must first be identified. The book begins with an explanation of what characterizes deviant behavior. The author argues that different social groups or societies have contributed to the broad definition of deviant behavior which constitutes the rules set by the different social group.

The Deviant Models

Howard observes that it is not necessarily that acts considered as deviant by others are deviant. He further gives an explanation of two deviant models. The models are the sequential and simultaneous model. The writer opposes the assumptions made on the theories that try to explain deviance which include the theory that supports the idea that certain behaviors coincide. Toward the middle of the book, Howard reflects and analyzes marijuana users and tries to give a logical explanation of different deviant groups and labeling theory.

Criticizing Existing Theories

Becker argues that growing up in an environment with negative influences or a broken home does not result in juvenile delinquency. Toward the last chapters of the book, Howard criticizes the existing theories and states that they are inadequate because they lack substance. Becker outlines what he considers as the gaps in the research on deviant behavior. He says that some sectors of society have not been dealt with adequately, such as lesbians and gays and other deviant groups.

Explaining the Meaning of Outsiders

In conclusion, in his book, Howard tries to include different theories and views to explain the meaning of outsiders. He critically analyzes the different approaches and provides examples to illustrate his point of view.

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