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Sociology 275 Reading Notes .docx

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Queen's University
SOCY 275
Stacey Wilson

Sociology 275: Understanding Deviance Chapter 1: Confusion and Diversity Chapter Overview Commenting on the diversity of perspective, analysis and understanding of social deviance Introduction Crime: Act that contravenes a law, censured by authorities and subject to formal sanction Deviance: Action not conforming to group values, defined by the reaction of other This study is not unified through a single approach but merely a similar subject Many people over different times have developed complex theories Often focuses on morality and politics Deviantology: Sociological study of deviance, focusing on its intersubjective definition The Character and Sources of Ambiguity There are many theories, each with their own historical context, arguments, explanations and terminology Conformity: Behavior that is in accordance with social norms because of either agreement with social values or fear of sanctions Many theories cannot be reconciled as they stand in different metaphysical contexts and due to the different opinions (no real fact) Ambiguity is crucial when considering rule breaking it is hard to determine what is deviant (looking at circumstances, biography, and purpose) to what extent questions? People are wary to classify things as deviant but prefer to find alternate explanations Because of the variability of social life no one theory is able to unify all things and thus a complex web of theories is needed to attempt to understand every day life Deviance comes from the construction and application of moral rules: Bittner: essentially there are always exceptions to the rules Must look at many different opinions to try to figure out a greater picture Polygamy: a form of organization in which a person can have several spouses Deviance and Culture: Polygamy In Canada it is illegal because it has been linked to other acts such as rape, sexual assault and child brides It was and is practiced in different cultures for social and economic reasons In Canada the community as been split into two factions: those who support and those who are against it How does making it illegal conflict with the right to religious freedom in the constitution? Deviance Is Not a Single Problem with a Single Solution Some believe that deviance is a political issue: connected to power and the application of rules Social pathology: the creation policy Repository of practice information and advice: focusing on specific situations (must consider the unintended consequence) Should issues be policed or should society be left free (should not legislate due to the many unintended consequences) Those who believe that the unintended are actually intended by the ruling class to manipulate and maintain power Use those who are rebelling in a revolution Marxists say that deviance can be used as a history from below written by the dispossessed masses deviance is defined by those who have the power The relativity of deviance is shown through the analysis of pronouncements, shifts in meaning and conflict Relativity: how deviance varies across cultures and historical periods Deviance Exploration: The Relativity of Deviance Many behaviors are not criminal but are considered odd some things that are considered deviant to one culture in one time mat not be in another (this illustrates the relativity of deviance) Diachronic: Analysis of the definition of deviance as it changes across historical time Synchronic: Analysis of the definition of deviance as it changes across cultural space There are a few things that are considered universally deviant such as child abuse (but how to we decide what should be universally deviant?) A Sociologist Looks at: Car Stereos and Culture Moral Entrepreneur: A person in a position of authority who uses an opportunity to capitalize on defining deviance Framing car stereo culture as deviant by policing it leading to criminalization Created other issues such as racial profiling among offenders due to preconceived notions Sources of Diversity Sociology is not sealed or enclosed against arguments that exist in the wider world: many people of many professions have tried to shape deviance due to the power an influence around the topic Sociology has its own language and techniques, but it has also fed on ideas that originated in other fields: other thoughts shape previous thought previous schools of thought influence emerging ones The various debates can involve very different goals for the study of deviance: are they looking to provide impartial analysis, shape deviance or answer other questions that are related to the themes of deviance Such an interplay of projects and thoughts become more complicated as the minds of different sociologists work on the materials offered them: the mass of ideas and information is too much for anyone to understand and therefore they must specialize and condense creating more material with varying backgrounds The sociology of deviance has thereby accumulated a vast number of nuances: through the pursuit of new and original there is free and diverse thought Product differentiation has inevitably been accompanied by the making of proprietorial claims: people tend to be very defensive of their ideas and want them to be known for what they are Then there is the impact of the academy, which both spurs and limits the growth of intellectual variety: the routines of analysis and such through the university create a process similar to natural selection. These criticism are also very fluid over time Further complicating the matter are the very different traditions within the university departments and school where deviantology is studied and taught: the diversity and size of the academic world means opposing positions may never meet but can surround themselves with those of similar thought Such insulations may further be reinforced by the division of intellectual labor within universities: people specialize to the point in which they do not see themselves as qualified to asses other issues and remain within their own The Social Contexts of Differentiation One of the chief constraints on intellectual creation is where it takes place (framing) Setting 1: Government Deviance as it undermines the authority of the government Capitalism: a form of social organization characterized by private profit and competition Criminology: Interdisciplinary study of the causes of crime and techniques for its control Government has the ability to shape what is deviant in its own interests (Soviet: deviance caused by the remnants of capitalism and foreign influence) Arguments must be made and presented in a fashion that aid policy creation A focus on efficiency rather than the new and novel Setting 2: Academic Fundamentally motivated to produce new ideas one of many who contribute to the general education of students There are also special institutions for the development of specialized thought Differentiation is caused by the national, local and their own intellectual influences Made more complex by the institution or department to which it is attached Implications There can not be one enforce idea as each can be compared and contrasted to the others showing their strengths and weaknesses When you begin the study of deviance, try to be open minded, skeptical, and charitable Only rarely will a single study exhausted all the interesting possibilities of a problem Observation: a primary research technique designed to collect first-hand observation There is no one right study or observation but many that provided different insights. Each must take into consideration the social and economical context Sociological of deviance tend to represent the most articulate versions of arguments that have currency in everyday life Grounded upon proof, presentation and evidence Works to challenge and dismantle common assumptions critical thinking Sociologist are often willing to become closely involved in matters that most people shun They become involved in the subject matter that they study (first hand research) Policy Matters: An Overview Considering theories of deviance and how they contribute to the discussion of social policy The main objective of sociology is to gain a greater understanding of the social world Policy is cursory because: Role definition: the line between policy/policy making and teaching Translatability: the difference between the systems of relevance of sociology and social policy Discourse: a specialized term for the use for talk in interaction and in institutions Salience: for policy makers, concerns the knowledge that officials and politicians have of a theory, its usefulness in the practical work of government, the scope of the proposals, the resources needed, and the likely ratio of costs to benefit What concerns policy makers First: not academic solidity but political relevance Chapter 2: Sources of K
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