- Category: Frontpage Articles
- Last Updated: Monday, 01 May 2017 09:08
- Published: Sunday, 08 June 2014 17:49
- Written by Mark Horsley
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Colin Sumner’s obituary for the sociology of deviance captured the criminological zeitgeist of the early twentieth century by drawing attention to a marked transformation on the theoretical side of the discipline. In a wide-ranging work, Sumner pointed to the emergence of a new way of doing criminology, a dramatic change of emphasis that put an entirely different spin on conceptual explanations for criminality. Where the Chicago tradition offered a Durkheimian perspective that located criminality within the transgression of shared social norms, a new generation were less convinced by the idea of monolithic social ideals. In the context of nineteen-sixties counter-culturalism, Sumner identified an increasingly forceful pluralist critique which placed much greater emphasis on the censorious nature of centralised power, hysterical social reactions to perceived deviance and the potential illegitimacy of normative prohibitions.