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Kitsuse, John I. (1923–2003)

Axel Groenemeyer


John I. Kitsuse was one of the premier and most influential contributors to the social constructionist movement from the 1960s, which changed the way sociologists approached the study of social problems, normality, deviance, and control. Born a second-generation Japanese American in California, Kitsuse was imprisoned in an internment camp for one year during World War II. He earned his bachelor's degree from Boston University and his master's and PhD from UCLA before he became professor of sociology at Northwestern University in 1958. From 1974 until 1991 he was professor of sociology at University of California San Diego. He served as president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems from 1978 to 1979. He died in California. Kitsuse started his academic career with contributions on migration and social integration, especially of Japanese migrants in the US ( Broom & Kitsuse 1955, 1956) , and with research on education and the school system in the US (Chandler et al. 1962; Cicourel & Kitsuse 1963 ). However, he is primarily known as one of the founding fathers of the labeling approach to deviant behavior in the 1960s and for his contributions to the perspective of constructivism on social problems from the 1970s on. The basic methodological and epistemological perspective of Kitsuse could best be described with a story, written at the beginning of his book Constructing ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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