Moral entrepreneurs

The term moral entrepreneur refers to a class of people who construct deviance. For instance, they state that a social phenomenon is a problem. Under some different circumstances, they might also claim that a given social problem is serious enough to justify immediate attention and necessary action. Moral entrepreneurship involves activities of persuading the society to make a policy stemming from a particular stand point or conviction. Quoting some humanistic reasons, moral entrepreneurs strive to evolve or enforce a particular norm or a set of norms. The mode of action moral entrepreneurs resort to involves influencing a group to adopt or abide by a norm.

If a social policy must arise or take effect, it is necessary that an individual or a group initiates a social movement and this is the principal objective of moral entrepreneurs. Some of the examples of moral entrepreneurs include Mothers Against Drunken Driving, the pro-life moment, the gun lobby and anti-pornography groups.

Howard Becker has authored a book titled “Moral Entrepreneurs: The Creation and Enforcement of Deviant Categories”, which clearly brings to surface how deviance gives way to social control. While moral entrepreneurs are of two kinds namely rule markers and rule enforcers, they differ between themselves in a significant way. In most cases, rule makers intend to stop rule breaking mostly to achieve the self-interests of the rule maker. Contrastingly, the rule enforcers act by making compromises with the rule breakers for the purpose of enforcing rules the easier way. For example, when a group of prison authorities want to use televisions and weight rooms to reward cooperative inmates, they are actually playing the role of rule enforcer class of the moral entrepreneurs.

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