On the distribution of deviance

David L. Weisburd, Ronald V. Clarke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Wilkins assumed that the distribution of deviants in the population follows a normal, bell-shaped curve, whereas Allport proposed a J-shaped distribution. An analysis of the research in this area suggests that the J-curve applies to deviance measured in a highly specific situation, whereas the normal distribution fits the more general propensity to deviance across a variety of situations. Information on six specific deviant behaviors from the 1976 National Youth Survey showed much more conformity in behavior than the normal curve would predict. The results also call into question both liberal and conservative views of the crime problem. In contrast to the liberal position, the data suggest that social control is generally highly effective. Similarly, the data do not support the conservative position that incarcerating frequent offenders is the solution to the crime problem
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPolicy and theory in criminal justice
Subtitle of host publicationcontributions in honour of Leslie T. Wilkins
Place of PublicationAldershot
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)1856280217
StatePublished - 1990

Publication series

NameCambridge studies in criminology ; 62

Bibliographical note

Includes bibliographies and index


  • Wilkins, Leslie T
  • Criminology
  • קרימינולוגיה


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