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Sociological Questions about Deviance and Crime

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Carleton University
SOCI 1003
William Flynn

Chapter 14WHAT IS DEVIANCEAll about norms and normativitySomething that is abnormalCan be behaviour beliefcondition that strays or differs from the normDoes not necessarilymean wrong perverted or abnormalIs a relative category that changes with time place and cultureEx homosexuality as a type of mental illness 1952Definitions of deviance can also reflect what people consider reasonable and desirableCultural and social norms provide a model for how we should behaveDeviance is about social regulation and continuityIf there were no norms in society then it would be impossible to have a stable and functioning societyDeviance is about social changeChallenges beliefs and behaviourIf there was no deviance in society then society would not changeThere is a seldom total agreement within culturesociety about what is deviantContested deviance is known as conflict deviance Social Constructionism proposes that elements of social life including deviance as well as gender race and other elementsare not natural but are established or created by society or cultureDefinitionsideas of deviance are created by society DEVIANCE AND SANCTIONSPositive and negative sanctions are the main way through which we all enforce the norms of social conductSanctions and be verbal and non verbalWhen you positively sanction certain behaviours then you are reinforcing the norms for that behaviourWhen your negatively sanction certain behaviours you are also reinforcing that they have broken that norm of behaviourOvert Devianceexplicit and visible actions that violate some cultural social group normCovert Devianceimplicit or assumed underlying characteristics age race ethnicityclass etcSociologists are interested in covert deviance and how certain groups can become labelled as more likely to be perceived as deviant than othersEx Reality TV showsRacial Profilingactions undertaken supposedly for reasons of safety security or public protection based on racial stereotypes rather than on reasonable suspicion
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