Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2015)

Volume 12 Issue 2

ISSN: 1524-6345

Using King’s “Letter” to Teach Deviance

Brian Wolf

Department of Sociology & Anthropology

University of Idaho, USA

E-mail: bwolf@uidaho.edu


     The social sciences generally argue that concepts such as crime and deviance are social constructs.  Yet nearly all college classes on deviant and criminal behavior overwhelmingly focus on malevolent, bizarre or negatively stigmatized behavior.  Deviant heroes and other positive forms of deviance get scant attention in texts and teaching materials.  Deviant and criminal behavior is often on the leading edge of progressive social change. As an example, King’s famous “Letter,” as well as his own biography, is used as a way to demonstrate the concept of deviant heroism. Examined here are the foundations and techniques utilized to teach about a particular aspect of deviant behavior to undergraduate students who take classes related to the sociology of crime and deviance.

      Keywords: deviance, crime, justice, social change