Human Studies

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 317–334 | Cite as

The Study of Deviant Subcultures as a Longstanding and Evolving Site of Intersecting Membership Categorizations

  • T. J. Berard
Theoretical / Philosophical Paper


Intersectional scholarship has become increasingly important, largely because it is more nuanced than scholarship emphasizing only class, race, or gender. Much intersectional scholarship is limiting, however, in curtailing our conceptualizations of how many intersecting identities might be relevant for explaining crime. The older literature on deviant subcultures, including gang studies, actually addressed issues of intersectionality, and in a less restrictive manner, also acknowledging the importance of youth and neighborhood ecology. Drawing on early and more recent subcultural scholarship, the theoretical importance of Weberian and ethnomethodological themes is illustrated, suggesting the value of closely empirical research sensitive to theoretical issues including how social categories are used in explaining crime and how patterns of offending are carried by individuals subject to categorization.


Deviant subcultures Gangs Intersectional criminology Membership categorization analysis Micro–Macro theorizing 



I have tried in these observations and arguments to effectively apply insights on deviance, identity, theory, and method which stem in large part from the scholarship of Jeff Coulter, and to continue a tradition of ethnomethodologically informed scholarship on crime, deviance, and criminal justice which includes the work of Egon Bittner, Aaron Cicourel, Harold Garfinkel, and scores and scores of others, past and present. Thanks to Bob Garot and James Messerschmidt for thoughtful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyKent State UniversityKentUSA

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