Constructing Social Problems Forty Years Later
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Origins of Constructing Social Problems
I was a student, both undergraduate and graduate, at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois between 1961 and 1968. John Kitsuse was a professor there. As an undergraduate, I took his courses, including a criminology course which relied on the work of Edwin Lemert, one of John’s mentors. As a graduate student I also studied with John and worked as his research assistant on several small-scale studies, which explored “the societal reaction,” that is, how students perceived and identified various forms of deviance. John was on my dissertation committee but my dissertation was not a study in the sociology of deviance or social problems. It was an occupational study of an office of government tax attorneys, in the tradition that Everett C. Hughes developed at the University of Chicago. Howard Becker was my dissertation director.
I finished my doctorate in 1968 and moved to Montreal, where I taught in the Department of Sociology at McGill...
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