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Alcohol and Crime: Treatment and Rehabilitation

Social Visibility And Formalized Reactions

With the exception of those who perform socially invisible criminal acts known only to themselves but who "turn themselves in" due apparently to the weight of conscience, the vast remainder of criminals commit acts that are socially visible. The acts become visible through impacting others, through being viewed by others, and by being reported in some fashion. Acts in the broader category of deviant behavior of which crime is a part need not be socially visible. Their impact upon others may be unknown or ambiguous, others may not view the behavior, or social decisions may be made by affected or observing others that no advantage will be served by reporting the behavior. Without such reporting, the pathway to a formalized social reaction ends.

It is an axiom of sociology that there is a great deal of deviant behavior in society that does not have visible social consequences. Some of this deviance may prove, in retrospect, to be nascent crime, but in many other instances events of deviant behavior pass unnoticed and are absorbed into the ongoing flow of social life (Black). This distinction between deviance and crime is drawn out to establish the continuity between crime and deviance. This should set the stage for considering the conceptual status of alcohol problems, and in turn lead toward an understanding of the social meaning of "treatment."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawAlcohol and Crime: Treatment and Rehabilitation - Norm Violation, Social Visibility And Formalized Reactions, Alcohol Problems As Double Deviance, The Prominence Of Deviance In Treatment Paradigms