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Movement in and out of particular forms of behaviour without any necessary commitment to it. Originally used in relation to delinquency by David Matza (Delinquency and Drift, 1964), who argued that delinquency did not emerge as a result of strongly deterministic forces, but rather through a gentle weakening of the moral ties of society, which allowed some young people to drift into delinquency. Only a minority become committed to full-time delinquent careers. See also delinquency; vocabularies of motive.

Subjects: Sociology.

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