Cannabis careers revisited: Applying Howard S. Becker's theory to present-day cannabis use
Article by Margaretha Järvinen, Professor at Department of Sociology, and Signe Ravn, part-time lecturer at Department of Sociology, in Social Science & Medicine vol. 100, 2014.
The paper applies Howard S. Becker’s (1953) classic theory on “deviant careers” to present-day cannabis users in Copenhagen. Like Becker, we stress the importance of social level explanations rather than individual “patologizing” explanations of drug use. The paper analyses social interaction as a factor that may both inspire cannabis use and hinder the development of cannabis problems. We suggest several revisions of Becker’s theory due to the changed position of cannabis in today’s society. These changes are also important for drug use prevention and treatment.