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Theories and Perspectives.docx

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SOCI 2445
Darryl Davies

Sociology of Deviance Theories and Perspectives Absolutism: Deviance is absolutely real  deviant persons assumed to have a certain characteristic that distinguishes them from the conventionality of others  sociologists view deviance as an attribute that inheres in an individual  in the past, focus was on biological then psychological traits that remain unchanging and constant where ever the person social factors are recognized in determining person's status as criminal  changes between time and a polygamist might be deviant in our society but law- abiding an Islamic country Objectivism: Deviance as an Observable Object  deviant behaviour in a person can be studied objectively like an object  concerned with the nature of deviant behaviour..try to be as objective as possible but acknowledge that their subjects are people not inanimate objects Positivist Theories Anomie-Strain Theory: social strain causes deviance Goal-Means Gap, Robert Merton, 1938 - deviance as a result of anomie, the breakdown of social norms the result from society's urging people to be ambitious but failing to provide them with the opportunities to succeed ∙ Goal-Means Gap ◦ society expects everyone to be ambitious, have a desire to be successful and make a name for themselves ◦ not actually accessible for all classes, eg lower classes  are forced to use illegitimate means to attempt to achieve success ◦ encouragement of high aspirations and denial of success opportunities pressures people to commit deviant acts Status Frustration: Cohan, 1955 - similar to Merton but replaces success with status - school system build for the middle class, low class boys are set up to be failures ∙ these boys go back to their neighbourhoods and set up their own competitive system (delinquent subculture) Differential Illegitimate Opportunity: Cloward and Ohlin - introduce concept of differential opportunity, not all lower class people will engage in deviant acts as Merton suggests - 3 subcultures ∙ criminal: offers illegitimate opportunities for achieving success...if low class youngsters are initiated in this subculture they achieve success by stealing, fencing, robbing etc ∙ conflict: a youngster has the opportunity to achieve status with a delinquent gang but other if they have fighting skills, and demonstrating enthusiasm for risking injury or death in gang warfare...some fail to meet requirements ∙ retreatists: only requirement in willingness to enjoy drugs...seen as double failures..unable to achieve success in either of the either 2 subcultures or the conventional upper world Social Learning Theory: deviance is learned through social interaction Differential Association: Edwin Sutherland, 1939: if an individual associates more with people who hold deviant ideas more than those who hold conventional idea, person will become deviant Differential Identification: Daniel Glaser, 1956: suggests that people must identify with their deviant contacts to become deviant..and it must be more than their non-deviant contacts..effectively person needs to go through social learning process Differential Reinforcement: Burgess and Akers, 1966: people will continue to engage in deviant behaviour if they are rewarded by doing so...people will choose deviance if it has been more satisfying to them than other acts Control Theory: Lack of social control causes deviance Social Bond, Self-Control and Control Balance: - a weak social bond will cause deviant acts ∙ build this bond in 4 ways: ◦ attachment: by having loving friends and family ◦ commitment: committing to conformity, investing time and energy into school, family, job ◦ involvement: keep themselves so busy that they do not have time to think about deviant acts ◦ belief: in the moral validity of social rules - lack of control balance could be a better indictor ∙ control surplus: control we have over
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