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Lecture 4

Week 4 Lecture - Deviance and Madness

4 Pages

Disability Studies
Course Code
DST 500
Jenna Reid

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 Professionals have names for the different behaviours that people illustrate for processing purposes o Depression: when they can no longer become and productive and functioning member of society  Deviance: o adj. Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society. (e.g. madness) o n. One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes differ from accepted social standards. o Deviancy: state or act of being deviant o Primary Deviance: Where the individual commits deviant acts but does not adopt a primary self-identity as a deviant.  Is not aware the behaviour is unacceptable o Secondary Deviance: Where the individual commits deviant acts and although recognizing that these acts are socially defined as deviant remains committed to continue them. This results in the adoption of a deviant self identity that confirms and stabilizes the deviant life style  Doesn‟t care what the rules are but adopts the deviant lifestyle and not accepting of other people calling them wrong  May accept the behaviours of the label that others have given them  But can then maybe actually have the illness or is it in their head? o Are social norms always good, fair, and true?  Normality: o “According to Sirnes, normality is historically and culturally specific and non- substantial. It is necessary to identify the logic of normality in order to adapt individual actions forced by social demands. Normality does not grow out of a specific set of values, but appears totally random (Sirnes, 2006). It is the expectation of certain behaviours defined by the power elite in society, and even people who do not honour these definitions will try to adapt to them to a certain extent (Goffman, 1963).  Sometimes people are doing the right things that many consider normal, but in the wrong way that makes them be seen as abnormal  No scientific basis or validity of normality, it‟s always culturally changing  Even though there‟s no real normality, there‟s a way to illustrate it  Society imposes the standards of normality  Who makes up the norms: o Absolute Norms: Some societies have absolute rulers with total power. They claim they have absolute knowledge, wisdom, and truth. They make rules that they say must never be changed or broken or society will „fall apart‟. Followers who try to change or break the rules may be punished severely or killed. o Relative Norms: Some societies have norms based on relating between people. Truth, knowledge, and wisdom (i.e., „sanity‟, „sound mind‟) are considered „relative‟ and ever-changing. Some people may have more power to set norms. Rule breakers are helped with changing and fitting into society, or are ostracized (rather than punished or killed). Ostracization may have severe consequences, however.  don‟t have to fit into rules so strictly with harsh punishments o Individual Norms: What norms and rules do you follow? Having NO rules is a kind of code too. Are your values similar to someone you know? Do they reflect your family‟s values at all? Do you value your culture, your education, your technological tools? Are your values very different from the dominant social norms in Toronto, Canada in 2012?  may be generally imposed due to having been in the environment such as family o R.K. Merton argues that deviance is actually largely created by the structure of society.  Societal, not individualistic  Deviance labeled as Mental Illness o Rules are not always written or stated. Legal rules are, and breaking them is called „criminal behaviour‟ or „criminality‟. People can be convicted of a crime and be ostracized, punished, or killed (Canada has no death penalty, but some want to have it back). o Sometimes people are ostracized, punished or killed without breaking any stated rules. These „deviants‟ (deviating from the norm) are not breaking stated rules, but unstated rules. People who are not like „normal‟ people can be ostracized, punished or killed.  E.g. name calling can be enough to signify to others that the individual is deviant from the norm o What kinds of deviance are there? o Non-normal behaviours or beliefs can be identified, monitored, treated, and legally constrained. For example, Ontario‟s Mental Health Act says people who can‟t take care of themselves or make others feel threatened due to a mental disorder can face civil commitment. o Case in point: Richard Green battled to have homosexuality removed from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in the 1970s. He is now trying to put something into the DSM: pedophilia could be a „mental illness‟. What makes some deviance an illness? And is some crime committed only because of an illness? o Mental Illnesses:  Give one example of former mental illnesses. (e.g. homosexuality, drapetomania)  Give one example of future mental illnesses?  Are illnesses just judgments?  Labelling Theory o Howard Becker developed labelling theory (not labelling itself). He was an American sociologist in the mid-twentieth century. Some of his points:  a label is applied by society, the condition is not „internal‟ to the labelled person, it is not an individual defect.  Nothing else of the individual matters, expect that they are a productive and functionin
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