Sociology Index


Moral entrepreneurs are those who take the lead in labeling a particular behavior and spreading this label throughout the society. Moral entrepreneurs are those who construct deviant behavior. Moral entrepreneurs are those individuals who are committed to the establishment and enforcement of rules against behavior they define as deviant behavior. Moral entrepreneurship is the business of persuading the society to make policy from particular moral viewpoints. They are considered to be openly visible and active agents of social control.

Moral entrepreneurs claim that a social phenomenon is a social problem. Sociologists are not interested in the validity of the claims made during Moral Panic created by moral entrepreneurs, but are interested in the dynamics of social change and the organizational strategies of moral entrepreneurs.

In symbolic interactionism or labeling theory, society is viewed as consisting of a plurality of understandings of what is best. Moral entrepreneurs create or enforce norms for humanistic reasons. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the pro-life movement, the gun lobby, Emily Murphy, and the anti-tobacco lobby would all be examples of moral entrepreneurs.

A moral entrepreneur is a person who seeks to influence a group to adopt or maintain a norm. These individual or groups are referred to as moral entrepreneurs because they seek to propagate their moral viewpoints. In order for social policy to arise, moral entrepreneurs initiate social movement activism whose task is to articulate a definition of a social problem such that a desired social policy is consistent with this definition of the problem. 

Moral Entrepreneur and International Crime

A critical step in the designation of any problem as serious enough to warrant criminal sanctions is the emergence of moral entrepreneurs to crusade on behalf of such a response. With international crime, the issue is more complicated in that the moral entrepreneurship may be coming from outside the society targeted.

"Moral Entrepreneurs: The Creation and Enforcement of Deviant Categories" by Howard Becker.

Howard Becker shows how rule breakers evoke different responses from rule makers and rule enforcers. According to Howard Saul Becker, successful moral crusades are generally dominated by those in the upper social strata of society.

Howard Becker suggests that there is political competition in which these moral entrepreneurs or moral crusaders originate, crusades aimed at generating reform, based on what they think is moral, therefore defining deviance. Moral entrepreneurs or moral crusaders must have power, public support, generate public awareness of the issue, and be able to propose a clear and acceptable solution to the problem.

Multinational Enterprises as Moral Entrepreneurs in a Global Prohibition Regime Against Corruption - Stephen Wrage, Alexandra Wrage. ABSTRACT: This article explores the incentives and means a multinational corporation or multinational enterprises may have to create a corruption-free business environment.

Merchants of Law as Moral Entrepreneurs: Constructing International Justice from the Competition for Transnational Business Disputes - Yves Dezalay and Bryant Garth. Over the past 20 years, international commercial arbitration has been transformed and institutionalized as the leading contractual method for the resolution of transnational corporations commercial disputes.

Moral entrepreneurs and political economy: Historical and ethnographic notes on the construction of the cocaine menace. - Journal: Crime, Law and Social Change.

Moral Entrepreneurs and the Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Frank Faulkner, Editor: Rodopi. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has succeeded in reversing or altering the national policies on landmines in over 130 countries globally. The book cites the efforts of what the author calls moral entrepreneurs.

The Importance of Moral Entrepreneurs in Emerging Global Prohibition Regimes: The Case of the United States - Miner, Jonathan.
Abstract: This paper is an analysis of the post-9/11 response of American civil society. A content analysis of the national debate over five international terror attacks investigates the effectiveness of moral entrepreneurs in an emerging anti-terror regime.

Three moral entrepreneurs and the creation of a criminal class in England. - Philips, David.

The New Moral Entrepreneurs: Corporate Crime Crusaders - Susan P. Shapiro.