Not THAT Kind of Deviant!

This week’s blog is not about those types of deviants I swear! This week, I’m going to look at a journal article by Robert Cluley which is called “Downloading Deviance: Symbolic Interactionism and Unauthorised File Sharing.” In this article, Cluley structures arguments about illegally downloading music and how those who do so are deviants according to the labelling theory of deviance. What qualifies him to do so? Cluley (2015) is a lecturer of the University of Nottingham with a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Arts, a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy under his belt, making him more than qualified to examine this area. This article is great because it utilises understandable language to communicate concepts and is organised into sections that follows an order which best unloads, links information, and forms basic understandings for others so they can perform further research, it is a great starting point of an article.

Cluley presents an article that is formal and objective. He doesn’t appear to favour one side over another and fairly presents the arguments he has included into his work. He constantly refers back to some scholars work over others like Becker, Giesler, and Fullerton and Punj. Fullerton and Punj’s works were used throughout Cluley’s (2013) article as a structure for his writing which you can see when he says that they recommended the labelling theory of deviance “for ‘illuminat[ing] the significance of moral ‘‘relativism’’ in understanding consumer misbehavior’ (pg. 266).” He (Cluley 2013) also refers to Fullerton and Punj in other instances, such as when he says they predicted it would be difficult to control consumer deviance (pp 263-264), and that strategies to make visible illegal downloading and punishing those who do, map onto concepts developed by Fullerton and Punj such as deterrence and education (pg. 268).

The findings of this article were very sound and informed, with no visible issues or problems with how he collected data. Cluley (2013) also backs up what he says very well, looking at how illegal downloaders (deviants) turn the argument that they are depriving artists of hard-earned money right back at the music industry and uses Condry’s analysis of how students justify their downloading habits to prove this (pp 269-270).

Overall, I would say that this article is effective in providing a background to the issue and is effective in communicating to its audience – the music industry or deviant downloaders perhaps – why methods to prevent file sharing are ineffective and at least one aspect as to why deviants download.


Cluley, R 2013, “Downloading Deviance: Symbolic Interactionism and Unauthorised File Sharing”, Marketing Theory, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 263-274

Cluley, R 2015, Robert Cluley, LinkedIn, viewed 8 April 2015,

Colorado State University 2015, Analyzing a Written Text – Thomas, Colorado State University, viewed 8 April 2015,

Jazzylemonade 2009, Albert Flasher, image, DeviantArt, viewed 9 April 2015,