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Lecture 4

SOC 1500 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Market Structure, White-Collar Crime, Embezzlement


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 1500
Professor
Michelle Dumas
Lecture
4

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LECTURE 4: Sociological Theory (Subjectivist)
SOCIAL REACTION THEORIES – LABELING THEORY:
1960s
Time of protest
Power and inequality had an impact on peoples lives
Not the act itself but contextual meaning attached to it which defines if someone
is deviant
Reaction is important part of it
Questions
oWho is considered deviant/criminal
oHow does the process occur
oWhat are the consequences as labeled deviant/criminal
Two types
oInformal labeling (by family, friends, less severe consequence)
oFormal labeling (police, courts, doctors, teachers)
Defined/labeled have less social power than those applying the label, more social
power a definer has the greater the consequence
More power can force less powerful to do their bidding
Have power define what’s criminal and deviant
Dramatization of evil (Tannebaum, 1938)
oChildren have lots of activities per day and learn what they like and don’t
like, but adults find these objectionable (smoking, cutting class) so
particular juveniles who participate in this are labeled delinquent
Status degradation (Garfinkel, 1956)
oCeremony (court, charges laid against you)
oPublic identity is transformed in a negative way
oConvicted as criminal public status decreases you are known as a
convict/criminal
H.S. Becker (1963)
o“The outsiders” book author
oCrime is a label and without the label there is no crime
oLaws come to be and exercise power over those that don’t have power
oConcepts
Moral entrepreneur: see something as morally wrong and go on a
crusade to make it illegal or give it harsher sentences
Deviant career: people can have legitimate (teacher) career in the
same way you can have a deviant/illegitimate career (drug dealer,
prostitute) (start off as novice/beginner new recruit, still learning
the ropes veteran, teach others retiree)
Master status: related to social status, status that overrides all
others regardless of situation where he/she is, can be
achieved/earned (doctor) or ascribed/born with (gender, race)
Can be positive or negative

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Edwin Lemert (1967)
oPrimary deviance
Initial violation of rule or norms
Everyone engages in this at one time in their life
Not formally labeled
Could happen by accident opportunity, peer pressure
Occurrences, common for most if not all people
Remains primary if occasional and hidden and no strong negative
reaction
oSecondary deviance
Severe continuous social reaction
Given a formal label as a result
Once labeled, could become self-fulfilling prophecy because
people internalize it and then become it
Reinforce the behavior and could become master status
Consequence – stigma (Goffman) is a differentness of an
individual which is given a negative evaluation by others that
distorts or discredits public identity
LEGAL STIGMA:
Influence on a person’s life?
4th folder, the control one, person had no record (out of 25 resumes, 9 gave
positive responses that they could employ them aka 36%)
1st folder, person was convicted in court (1 person, 4% expressed interest)
2nd folder, person accused but found not guilty (3 people, 12%, offered job)
3rd folder, person found not guilty, but it included a letter from judge where judge
said person was innocent (6 people, 24%)
Policies
oHaving an official label by police or court do have an impact
oMinimize those wrongfully convicted
oLimiting the institutionalization of criminals (reserve prison for the most
serious crimes)
oDiversion programs (redirect accused people out of criminal justice
system)
oMinor offences (kept out of prison, try to have community based
programs)
oProbation and parole (increase these programs and minimize incarceration
periods)
oDecriminalization minor crimes
Teenagers
oYoung offenders act and youth criminal act
oOnce person turns 18 their record is erased and given a clean slate
oCannot identify the person
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