A moral entrepreneur is an individual, group or formal organization that seeks to influence a group to adopt or maintain a
The term "moral entrepreneur" was coined by
Rule creators generally express the conviction that some kind of threatening social evil exists that must be combated. They can be seen as moral crusaders, who are concerned chiefly with the successful persuasion of others, but are not concerned with the means by which this persuasion is achieved. Successful moral crusades are generally dominated by those in the upper social strata of society (Becker, 1963). They often include religious groups, lawmaking bodies, and stakeholders in a given field. There is political competition in which these moral crusaders originate crusades aimed at generating reform, based on what they think is moral, therefore defining deviance. 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 (Becker, 1963). The degree of a moral entrepreneur's power is highly dependent upon the social and cultural context (Reinarman, 1994). Social position determines one's ability to define and construct reality; therefore, the higher one's social position, the greater his or her moral value.
After a time, crusaders become dependent upon experts or professionals, who serve to legitimize a moral creed on technical or scientific grounds. Rule enforcers, such as policemen, are compelled by two drives: the need to justify their own role, and the need to win respect in interactions. They are in a bind; if they show too much effectiveness one might say they are not needed, and if they show too little effectiveness one might say they are failing. Rule enforcers just feel the need to enforce the rule because that is their job; they are not really concerned with the content of the rule. As rules are changed, something that was once acceptable may now be punished and vice versa. Such officials tend to take a pessimistic view of
The sociology of