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Lecture 4

SOC*2070 Lecture Week 4

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 2070
Professor
Linda Hunter
Semester
Winter

Description
Monday, Jan 28, 2012 Explaining Deviance: The Perception, Reaction and Power: Socio- logical Theories of Deviance - Explaining Deviance: The Perception, Reaction and Power - Interpretive Theories - Symbolic Interactionism - Labeling and Stigmatization Critical Theories - there are 4: - Conflict Theories - Power Reflective Theories - Feminist Theories - Postmodern Theories These Topics Will Be Covered Too: - The Constructionist Stance - Relativism Labeling - Against Relativism: A Harm Based Conception of DEviance - Social Power: Conflict Theory - Feminist Theory “There are no moral phenomenon at all, only a moral interpretation of phenomena (Friedrich Nietzsche) - positivist focuses on the actor or the act and tries to explain why some people behave in deviant ways and why some people don’t - objective - deviance can be identified and explained in a clear way - interpretive and critical theories are more subjective - focusing on individual deviance implies assumptions on how people should act - we should not assume normative behaviour is indicative of how people should act - interest is in the perceptions and reactions to the act - also the role of power in influencing these perceptions Interpretive & Critical Theories Do not focus on the act, instead they focus on: Monday, Jan 28, 2012 - perceptions of the act - reactions to the act - influence of power in perceptions & reactions Interpretive Theories Emphasize: - social interaction - meanings, understandings, interpretations Critical Theories Emphasize: - interest in emancipation and social justice - power relations - a combination of several interpretive and critical theories is associated with social con- structionism that informs more subjective understandings of deviance Joel Best: The Constructionist Stance A. Berger and Luckmann’s (1966) work on sociology of knowledge - they show how social life shapes everything people know - they introduce the term “social constructionism” - micro-analysis of labeling theory - how individuals encounter reactions - joins it with the more broader theories B. Labeling theory, dominant approach to studying deviance in 1960s, was criticized - conflict theories claimed labeling theory ignored how elites shape deviance definitions - feminists claimed labeling theory ignored women’s victimization by men - gay rights activists argued for political rights Constructionists - assigning meaning or making sense of behaviours classified as deviant Interpretive Theories - Symbolic Interactionism - Labeling Theories - Deviant Career Symbolic Interactionism - foundations of other interpretive theories These contribute to the way we understand meaning: - role-taking - see the world form the point of view of others Monday, Jan 28, 2012 - looking-glass self - how do we appear to others? - significant others - “what would my family/friends say?” - generalized other - “what would ‘people’ say?” - results in varying meanings & interpretations of self-others Labeling Theory - meaning - people act on the basis of meanings they have - interaction - meanings come from interaction - interpretation - meanings are changed by interpretation Becker - Relativism: Labeling Theory A. Deviance is created by society - deviance is not contained within individuals’ behaviours but in the response of others - social groups create the rules - labeled as ‘outsiders’ B. Deviance is relative not absolute - deviance is not an objective, inherent quality of the act a person commit, but the result of the application of rules and sanctions to an “offender” C. Being labeled as deviant has important consequences for the person’s future - Master status (Hughes) - it becomes the single most important defining characteristic of a person Costello - Against Relativism: A Harm-Based Conception of Deviance - Costello reacts against Becker’s relativist position by advancing an absolutist perspec- tive on defining deviance - Acts are considered deviant on the basis of the harm they cause to others A Harm-based Concept of Deviance - rely on a “harm” concept to define deviance - behaviour is morally wrong if it is harmful to the person, to others, or to society Labeling Theory (Lemert, 1951) - Primary deviance: occasional rulebreaking - Secondary deviance: deviant lifestyle & identity - primary deviance -> getting caught -> secondary deviance Monday, Jan 28, 2012 - deviant label is attached and the conventional world rejects them and the deviant soci- ety is the only place that accepts them (Becker, 1963) - master status and implications - outsider - changes in identity & lifestyle - once they get labelled and label themselves, that becomes their master status - it has an implicated for a persons everyday life - the way you are treated changes - identity gradually changes and as it changes behaviour does too Relevant Research - HIV Positive Mothers Research - many are coping with physical problems but their emotional concerns were for their children - coping with physical problems along with discrimination, stigma, isolation, child care - disclosure issues and labeling - not accessing health services to help them, they were so afraid of being outted that their children would suffer - primary concern about master status was not for their own concerns but for their con- cerns for their children - saw their HIV positive status as their master status, but mostly that they were MOTH- ERS with HIV positive status Movie Clip - Mental Health - clip about master status, private identity and public identity - clip is from Girl, Interrupted - Winona Ryder (Suzanna) is promiscuous because she has sex before marriage with her professor - many women in the institution that did not conform - movie argues that even sane people can be institutionalized because once they are in- side, it is assumed that something is wrong - bowling scene - acting like themselves, unconscious - basement of the hospital where they can be free - in the psychiatrists office - see how they react to their own and each other’s labels - in the public - they act crazy as they are expected to act - public/private selves are very clearly identified Monday, Jan 28, 2012 - public identification as deviant - others start to think of individual differently - public and private settings in mental health centre - spoiled identity outside - damaged identity - behave as they are expected to behave - the dynamics of exclusion - Lemert - they are ostracized from what could be their so- cial group - winona ryder ostracized from a girl in college - master status - auxiliary traits Labeling Theory Dramaturgical approach (Goffman (1959) - life as theatre - we are all assigned roles which we are expected to play - e.g. front stage is teacher - back stage is ourselves - difference between front-stage selves & back-stage selves - multiple responses to stigmatization or spoiled identity, through impression manage- ment - there are a number of ways people can respond to spoiled identity Tertiary Deviance (Kitsuse, 1980) - people who have been labelled make a lifestyle out of being deviant - can emerge from the transition from primary to secondary deviance - may resist the label ‘deviant’ - seek to redefine normal, to include that act or characteristic Relevant Research - HIV/AIDS Educational Campaigns - Government campaigns focus less on sexuality and
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