CRIM 104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Norman Mailer, Kai T. Erikson, Erving Goffman
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Tutorial 8 Flashcards
The Executioner’s Song- book by Norman Mailer- real life execution of Gary Gilmore (shot and killed 2
people by police while on parole) Norman mailer liked Gary Gilmore and believed he shouldn’t be
executed. He was written to by another prisoner, Jack Henry Abbot, serving for manslaughter, and
encouraged for his release as well, believing he’d make a good author. Upon Abbot’s release he stabbed
a waiter. Erich Goode uses this in his “Round up the Usual Suspects” to illustrate the limits to critical
constructionism (sometimes criminals are just criminals)
Wayward Puritans- Kai Erikson’s 1966 book. Puritans who migrated from England to Mass. In early
1600s in search of new place to practice their Christian beliefs found themselves surrounded by
deviance. First the “Antinomian Crisis” then the “Quaker Crisis” them the “witchcraft crisis”. Erikson
viewed the Puritans as an example of Durkheim’s reference “even a society of saints” would find
deviance in their own.
Moral Entrepreneurs- Howard Becker talked about subjective nature of social problems, and explored
hoe they came to be defines as such through process of social reaction. Becker characterized moral
entrepreneurs as “crusaders”, because they act as though they are on a holy mission to stamp out evil.
They believe their views are the right ones, and feel it is their moral duty to impose their views on
others. They are typically well-to-do people with money, political or social power or with such
connections to further their own agenda.
Notes on Sociology of Deviance -1962 article by Kai Erikson. He describes (following Durkheim) how
deviance functions to promote social conformity and demarcate social boundaries. He mentions status
degradation ceremonies and the three steps) confrontation of deviant and community, judgement as to
deviant’s guilt or mental illness, and ends with disposition or placement. Erikson remarks on
stigmatization (labeling) that occurs at these status degradation ceremonies.
The Spoiled Identity- Erving Goffman (symbolic interactionalist with Chicago School connections).
Stated spoiled identity resulted from stigmatization, and wrote about how individuals attempted to
cope with the spoiled identity. Following Goffman, Erikson remarks on the labeling that occurs at status
degradation ceremonies. Erikson notes that the stigma (label) is affixed at the end of a dramatic and
highly public event (court trial or insanity hearing). Erikson adds no similar process exists for the removal
of a label upon one’s return from prison or psychiatric treatment.
The Mods and Rockers- Stephen Cohen- first coined moral panic in “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”
describing how Mods and Rockers (two relatively small, disorganized youth gangs originating in England)
suddenly attracted widespread media and public attention, leading to police crack downs, stiffer
sentences and new legislation to deal with the “problem”. When in fact the Mods and Rockers did little
harm and it was brought on through media, and it soon disappeared altogether.
Master and Auxiliary Status- Howard Becker. A person’s master status (i.e. drug addict, criminal,
mentally ill, etc.) would override their auxiliary status or secondary status. They might possess a positive
secondary status (artistic, smart, etc.) but people wouldn’t see beyond the negative master (primary)
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