Jan 22 – Deviance Week 1 and methodologies
Read chapter 1, 2, 13, 14, 3, and 6.
From where does our information about crime come?
• When we get information from a trusted source, such as a trustworthy friend,
we spread it like gossip
• Urban legends are central to how knowledge about deviance is transmitted –
a “friend of a friend”
• An entertaining and plausible tale of uncertain origin that is circulated as if
• Some include alligators in the sewers, the lochness monster
• Urban legends are passed on through the “friend of a friend” of mine
• Why do we tell these stories? To prevent our kids from being deviant. Ex. If
guys and girls make out in cars at lovers point, they will be killed by the hook
guy. Kids who eat apples from strangers will pay the price by cutting open
their mouth because they were deviant.
• Urban legends has affected the way we live and care for our families.
• Urban legends teach us to be responsible (ex. If you flush a gator down the
toilet, you will pay for it because you weren’t responsible enough to care for
• Urban legends operate on various levels that shape our world and build upon
our pre-existing fears
• Urban legends play on our fears and scare us into conformity
• Stories like the apple case with kids Halloween treats, are plausible (if you
know nothing about the field)
• The moral of the stories are don't cheat, don't trust strangers etc.
• We are told these stories so we can shape our behaviours accordingly • If we learn about crime by talking to neighbors – we learn about victims
whose experience cannot be easily dismissed because they are nameless or
faceless or live somewhere else
How to study deviance?
• Pick a topic
• What are the steps involved in studying it?
• When you come up with a hypothesis, you have to test it.
• You have to test the ideas through research and peer review
• Peer review is so important to academia
• These academic discussions talk about the validity of arguments
Correlation vs. Causation: Media Reporting vs. Science
• Important point – correlation doesn’t equal causation
• Just because 2 things are related, doesn’t mean that one causes the other or
they are linked in any way
• When we see things that are similar, we often extrapolate from one to the
• Ex. People say lead increases in products and crime decreases are related
• We try to link things together
• As the amount of ice cream eating goes up, crime increases
• This isn’t due to ice cream being an intoxicant for crime. • Churches and crime, ice cream eating and crime (could be seen in
• Churches aren’t causing crime, crime is due to the gangs around the church