hierarchy of credibility

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A concept introduced by Howard S. Becker (in ‘Whose Side are we on?’, Social Problems, 1967), to capture social inequalities and the moral hierarchy of society. For Becker, those at the top (of an organization or a society) are seen to be more credible, those at the bottom less so. Indeed, the ‘underdogs’ may be completely discredited and pathologized, and often do not have a voice at all. He argued, as part of a wider debate in deviancy theory about the role of values in sociological research, that it may be the sociologist's task to help the marginalized ‘underdogs’ to find a voice.

Subjects: Sociology.

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