Defining Deviancy Down

"Defining Deviancy Down," The American Scholar, Winter 1993.

Excerpt: In one of the founding texts of sociology, The Rules of Sociological Method (1895), Emile Durkheim set it down that “crime is normal.” “It is,” he wrote, “completely impossible for any society entirely free of it to exist.” By defining what is deviant, we are enabled to know what is not, and hence to live by shared standards.

The American Scholar