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Lecture 3

SOC*2070 Readings Week 3

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SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 Explaining Deviance: Sociological Theories of Deviance Theories of Deviance: An Introduction (Adler Intro Part 2 pg. 57- 72) Biological and Psychological Theories - in the 1800s, Cesare Lombroso suggested that criminals were more like primitive hu- man beings, resembling their ape-like ancestors - women were evolutionarily inferior to men - criminals were born not made, therefore unresponsive to rehabilitation or treatment - Charles Goring and Earnest Hooton connection people with physical inferiorities, such as being shorter and light, to both criminal types - William Sheldon suggested that body types correlated to criminality - somatotypes - neither the slow endomorphs or lean ectomorphs were as criminally included as the muscular mesomorphs - genetic explanations look for chromosomal patterns - XXY syndrome is where men have an extra Y chromosome creating a double male or supermale who were usually tall and predisposed to aggressive and violent behaviour - twin studies were very popular as well - brain studies suggested that some people might cease their deviant ways if their brains were surgically altered - chronic deviants might benefit from lobotomies - another form of surgery involved inserting electric needles into the skull and searing part of the cingulum, the emotional centre of the brain - brian theories continue to be popular - biological theories fail to explain why people who share common biological characteris- tics differ - psychological theories date back to Sigmund Freud’s model of the id, ego and super- ego - psychologists have linked personality traits to crime and deviance - operant conditioning - behaviour modification - social learning theory - intelligence theorists have suggested that people whose “mental age” lagged behind their chronological age might be predisposed toward criminality Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 - the problem with many of these psychological theories is that they focus almost exclu- sively on individuals’ personalities, ignoring their social conditions or life situations - they tend to blame individuals rather than the social structure The Structural Perspective - the dominant theory in sociology for the first half of the 20th century, structural func- tionalism, also commanded the greatest amount of sway in explaining deviant behaviour - Durkheim advanced the theory that society is a moral phenomenon - the morals that individuals are taught constrain their behaviour - societies with high degrees of social integration (bonding, cohesion) would increase the conformity of its members - more and more people were becoming distanced from each other and the norms were becoming less clearly defined (anomia - social disintegration) - Durkheim also thought deviance was functional for society and has some positive ben- efits: it reminds us of the moral boundaries, brings people together, reminded people of the rewards for conformity - deviance is normal rather than pathological - to achieve maximum benefit, a society needs a manageable amount of deviance - violation of norms serves to remind the masses what is acceptable and what is not, it enforces the “collective conscience” of the group - structural needs of the society s a whole, beyond the scope of tis individual members, fosters the continuing recurrence of deviance - the root cause of crime and deviance is in the invisible social structures that make up any society - greater degrees of inequality = more crime - cause of crime is located in 2 main factors: (1) the differential opportunity structure and (2) prejudice and discrimination towards certain groups - some groups will clearly have greater structural access to certain opportunities - groups will less access do not have the same opportunity to succeed normatively - Robert Merton extended Durkheim’s ideas and built them into a specific structural strain theory - contradiction are implicit in a stratified system in which the culture dictates success goals for all citizens while institutional access is limited to just the middle and upper stra- ta - some people are systematically excluded from the competition - some members retaliate by choosing a deviant alternative Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 - these people have accepted society’s goals but they have insufficient access to the ap- proved means of attaining these goals - the only way to achieve these goals is to bypass the approved means - according to Merton, anomie results from the lack of access to culturally prescribed goals and the lack of availability of legitimate means for attaining those goals - Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin thought that Merton was correct but wrongly as- sumed that those groups, when confronted with the problem of differential opportunity, could automatically choose deviance and crime - differential opportunity theory - all disadvantages people have some lack of opportunity for legitimate pursuits, but they do not have the same opportunity for participating in ille- gitimate practices - deviant behaviour depends on people’s access to illegitimate opportunities - there are 3 typs of deviant opportunities: 1. Criminal - arise from access to deviant subcultures 2. Conflict - attract people who have a propensity for violence and fighting 3. Retreatist - people who are not inclined toward illegitimate means or violent actions, but who want to withdraw from society e.g. drug users - groups of people may have greater or lesser opportunity to climb the illicit opportunity ladder by virtue of several factors: (1) some neighborhoods are rife with more criminal opportunities, networks and enterprises, (2) some forms of illicit enterprise are dominat- ed by people of particular racial or ethnic groups, and (3) the upper echelons of crime display a distinct glass ceiling for women with men dominating the positions of decision- making, earning and power - conflict theorists see society differently from functionalists in their view of society as pluralistic, heterogenous and conflictual rather than unified - social conflict arises out of the incompatible interests of diverse groups in society - conflict is a natural outcome as well as crime - powerful members of society create legal definitions of human conduct, casting those behaviour that threaten its interests as criminal - the dominant class enforces those laws ensuring their interests are protected - subordinate classes are compelled to commit those actions that have been defined as crimes because their poverty presses them to do so - feminist theory takes a structural approach, locating the pervasive discrimination and oppression of women in society in the overarching patriarchal system - women are systematically disadvantaged - often unprotected, women are labeled as offenders Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 The Cultural Perspective - building on conflict perspective - examined the implications of memberships to groups - social, religious, political, eth- nic, economic - to some extent the norms and values of subcultures are incorporated and meshed with the norms and values of the American culture but to some extent they were different and in conflict - these differences become apparent in 3 situations: 1) when people form one culture migrate to the territory of another culture 2) when the laws of one cultural group are extended to apply to another 3) clash on the border of contiguous cultural areas - no clear set of norms and values dominates but individuals have to negotiate their cultural understandings - Albert Cohen posited a reaction theory, where working-class adolescent males devel- op a subculture with a different value system from the dominant culture - they have the greatest difficulty in achieving success - they at first try to fit in with the cultural expectations, but find that they are unsuccessful - they develop a blockage (or strain) that leads them to experience “status frustration” - they form an oppositionally reaction subculture that allows them to achieve status based on nonutilitarian, malicious, negativistic behaviour - Walter Miller further delineated the imprecate of subcultural values for the development of deviant behaviour - he believed that the values of the lower-class culture produce deviance for tis mem- bers because these are naturally in discord with middle-class values - young people who conform to the lower-class culture in which they were born almost automatically become deviant - lower-class culture theory suggests that when these individuals follow the norms of their subculture, they become deviant according to the predominantly middle-class soci- etal norms and values The Interactionist Perspective - looks into a more micro fashion at people’s everyday life behaviour - when people confront their problems they do so with their peer groups - within their peer groups people make decisions about what they will do and how - their core feelings about themselves develop and become rooted in such groups - people’s actions and reactions are thus guided by the collective perceptions, interpre- tations, and actions of their peer groups Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 - Edwin Sutherland and Donald Cressey proposed their differential association theory of deviance - deviant behaviour is socially learn form people’s most intimate friends and family members - people learn a variety of elements critical to deviance from their associates: the norms and values of the deviant subculture, rationalizations for legitimizing deviant behaviour, the techniques necessary to commit the deviant acts and the status system of the sub- culture, by which members evaluate themselves and others - David Matzo proposed drift theory, noting that this movement into deviant subcultures occurs through a process of drift, as people gradually leave their old crowd and become enmeshed in a circle of deviant associates - may drift between deviance and legitimacy, keeping one foot in each world - quitting deviance may be a similarly gradual and difficult process - labeling theory suggests that many people dabble to greater or lesser degrees in vari- ous forms of deviance - many people retire out of deviance as they mature, avoiding developing the deviant identity - some people become identified and identify themselves as deviance depending on if they get caught, which sets off a chain reaction of events - deviance lies in the eye of the beholder, it is a consequence of others’ reactions - focuses on why some acts are labeled and others are ignored - Travis Hirschi’s control theory of delinquency focuses on the process of identity change that occurs when individuals are caught and labeled - what holds people back from committing deviance, what forces constraint and control? - social control lies in the extent to which people develop a stake/bond to conformity - people who have a greater stake in conformity are less likely to risk losing it (job, friends, family, reputation) - stake may be in any 4 components: attachment to conventional other,s commitment to conventional institutions, involvement in conventional activities, and deep beliefs in con- ventional norms - the most recent perspective has been advanced by social constructionists, they sought to revitalize labeling theory by bridging the gap between the way labels are applied to in- dividuals who then internalize them in every life context and a larger, more macro awareness of the power structure in society that influences the way these labels are de- fined and enforced Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 - integrated conflict theory’s sensitivity to inequality and how the power struggle between dominant and subordinated groups is directly tied to intercessional and identity conse- quences Explaining Deviance: The Act (Bereska Ch 2 pg. 35-73) Theorizing Deviance - the scientific study of criminality is recognized as beginning in the early twentieth cen- tury with the work of Cesare Lombroso, who explained criminality on the basis of evolu- tion - he suggested that criminals were Atavists - evolutionary throwbacks whose biology prevented them from conforming to society’s rules - social theories replaced biological theories and theorizing about non-criminal forms of deviance gained prominence as well - sociological explanations of the nature of society depend on what aspect of society each sociological theory focuses on - positivist theories looks at finding out why people become deviant and will be the focus of this chapter Why Do People Become Deviant? Using Positivist Theories - modeled after approaches to theorizing in the natural sciences, which “seek generaliz- able, universally applicable laws” that govern the environment - seek cause-and-effect relationships in the form of statistical relationships - technical interest in pursuit of planning for a better society - seeking to understand why deviant people act that way triggers subsequent attempts to prevent other people from becoming deviant - positivist theories are coupled with social control effort Functionalist Theories - also called structural functionalist theories - society is seen as being comprised of various structures (family, education system) each of which fulfills necessary functions for the smooth running of the social order Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 Manifest Functions - intended and recognized e.g. post-secondary education to train young adults for employment Latent Functions - unintentional and unrecognized e.g. post-secondary education pro- viding individuals with social networks - one of the core concerns is the maintenance of social order - assumption that the rules that make up the social order are consensual - we agree they should exist because they serve a useful function for society - Emile Durkheim, Robert Merton, Cloward and Ohlin, Robert Agnew and Albert Cohen have applied functionalist assumptions to an understanding of deviance Durkheim: Anomie Theory - the notion of deviance is addressed in 2 ways: (1) a certain level of deviance is actually functional for society, deviance serves a useful purpose in helping maintain society’s balance or equilibrium (2) addressed deviance in the context of pathological levels of deviance that occur when society changes too quickly and Anomie emerges - seeing someone breaks the rules leads the rest of us to realize how important the rules are and the necessity of following the rules - a certain level of deviance enhances social order and increases social solidarity among those of us who join together in fighting back against those people who break the rules - deviance is functional in that it is through observing behaviour and its consequences that a society determines what its moral boundaries - deviance tests society’s boundaries - deviance reduces societal tensions when: (1) there is some sort of scapegoat that can be blamed for a social problem, (2) individuals engage in small acts of minor deviance that act as a safety valve and let off some steam - the social processes that return people to their acceptable roles includes: (1)socializa- tion - internalized society’s rules, (2) profit - teaches citizens that there is a payoff or benefit accorded those who conform to society’s rules, (3) persuasion - advertising, ad- vice, leaders, and (4) coercion - punishment - Durkheim pointed out that deviance is only functional up to a particular point - beyond that level, deviance no longer enhances social order but interferes with it - the process of industrialization and urbanization with their growing emphasis on indi- viduality, were causing more deviance - suicide rates were higher in more individualistic communities Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 - before industrialization, society’s structure was held together by Mechanical Solidari- ty - society was bonded together by likeness or by a collective commitment to conform- ity, minimal specialization in the division of labour - with industrialization, the bonding mechanism for social structure was transformed into one of Organic Solidarity - society was bonded together by difference or interdepen- dence through a highly specialized division of labour - when social change occurs at too rapid a pace, individualism gets out of cronotrl, and bonds between people become weaker than is necessary for the well-being of society - traditional norms and means of social control deteriorate, creating a situation of anomie - anomie opens the door for greater levels of deviance beyond the degree that is func- tional for society - Davis described Los Angeles, where outside of the protected communities of the wealthy, anomic disorder has created a “free-fire zone”, a city characterized by “urban guerrilla warfare - anomic disorder creates a demand for alcohol and other substances due to weakened social cohesion and improves the supply of such substances due to diminished moral regulation in the form of police and government corruption Merton: Anomie and Strain Theories - best known for applying functionalist assumptions in the form of his anomie and strain theories/classic strain theory - deviance originates not only from the individual, but also form the structure of society, which propels some people into deviance - institutionalized goals are wealth, status/power and prestige - success - society is structured in a way that gives benefit to or rewa
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