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SOCI 2445-A October 2 2012.docx

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SOCI 2445
Darryl Davies

1 SOCI 2445 – A Sociology of Deviance Lecture Four: Constructionist Theories of Deviance POSITIVIST THEORIES -Anomie Strain Theories REVIEW -Social Learning Theories -Control Theories Positivist theories are based on scientific evidence. Positivism is ONE set of perspectives to understanding deviance and criminal behaviour. Criminal Behaviour vs. Deviant Behaviour All crimes are deviant, but not all deviance is crime. Crimes are written laws. Deviant behaviour is more widespread than criminal behaviour; there are more examples of deviance. Deviance can also apply in positive or negative terms, whereas criminal behaviour is generally negative. We like to think that we are above animals – greater than them. However, there is nothing that compares to the atrocities capable by the species of “homo sapiens” (humans). LABELING THEORY – SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM THEORY Symbolic interactionism, a.k.a labeling theory, was developed by Howard S. Becker. In the 1960’s, Becker was studying drugs – particularly marijuana – and drug users. In his interviews with drug users, he discovered that they viewed SOCIETY as the “outsider” or “outlier”. “All social groups make rules and attempt at various times to enforce them. When a rule is enforced, the person who is supposed to have broken it is seen as a special person.” -Becker Becker’s theory of labeling is tied up with rule compliance. “Deviance is not a quality that lies in behaviour itself, but in the interaction between the person who commits an act and those who respond to it” – Becker. He is saying that you are not a rule breaker, until someone labels you as so. Social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance and by applying the rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders. Deviance is not a quality of the act a person commits but rather a consequence of the application by o
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