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Understanding DevianceA Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking

Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking (7th edn)

David Downes, Paul Rock, and Eugene McLaughlin
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date: 29 January 2023

p. 1848. Phenomenologylocked

p. 1848. Phenomenologylocked

  • David Downes, David DownesEmeritus Professor, London School of Economics
  • Paul RockPaul RockEmeritus Professor, London School of Economics
  •  and Eugene McLaughlinEugene McLaughlinProfessor of Criminology, City University


This chapter examines the phenomenological sociology of crime, deviance, and control. It first discusses the central issues relating to phenomenology, particularly with respect to knowledge, good and evil, and deviant phenomena. It then discusses some of the arguments put forward by phenomenologists, citing the link between experiences and consciousness and how phenomenology relates to social order. It also considers the work of Aaron Cicourel, Egon Bittner, David Sudnow, and others on the phenomenological sociology of crime and deviance, as well as the emergence of phenomenological criminology. The chapter concludes by reviewing some of the criticisms of phenomenological work on deviance.

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