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Understanding risk behaviours: How the sociology of deviance may contribute? The case of drug-taking


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  • Peretti-Watel, Patrick
  • Moatti, Jean-Paul


This paper argues that the sociology of deviance can be used to improve our understanding of some difficulties and unintended effects of health-promotion interventions designed to change risk behaviours, especially drug-taking. Firstly, many people engaged in 'risk behaviours' tend to deny the 'risky' label just as delinquents neutralise the 'deviant' label, and preventive information itself may be used by individuals in shaping risk denial. Secondly, deliberate risk-taking may be an 'innovative deviance',which is related to difficulties of conforming to the dominant 'risk culture'. Health promotion is likely to be quite ineffective if it remains wedded to the dominant risk culture and de facto contributes to the spread of it.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 63 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 675-679

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:3:p:675-679

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Keywords: Risk behaviour Sociology of deviance Health promotion Risk denial Drug-taking;


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Cited by:
  1. Gowan, Teresa & Whetstone, Sarah & Andic, Tanja, 2012. "Addiction, agency, and the politics of self-control: Doing harm reduction in a heroin users’ group," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(8), pages 1251-1260.


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