B. Wolf, P. Zuckerman
Jul 3, 2012
Sociologists usually define deviance as a fluid construct, relative to given social circumstances, and something that is neither negative nor positive in and of itself. Despite the rejection of absolutist approaches, the vast majority of texts and studies concerning deviant behavior implicitly or explicitly present deviance as either a morally bad or morally neutral behavior. Such literatures wrongly conflate deviant behavior with villainous actions. We argue that some of the most important deviants have been at the leading forefront of positive social change and the creation of a more just, fair, and humane society. Deviant heroes are those individuals who violate unjust norms and laws, facing the repercussions of social control, while simultaneously effecting positive social change. This article considers the theoretical role of the deviant hero within classical and contemporary sociological traditions and identifies new directions for social research.