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Lecture 4

SOC*2070 Readings Week 4

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University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

Saturday Feb 2 2013Explaining Deviance The Perception Reaction and Power Sociological Theories of DevianceExplaining Deviance An The Perception Reaction and Power Breaks Ch 3 pg 74102NonPositivist Theorizingpositivist theories shine their spotlights on the actor or the act and try to explain why some people behave in deviant ways while others do notthey are based on the assumption that deviance can be identified in some clearcut way and once identified an explanation for that outcome can be soughttheir strength lies in their search for causationdeviance specialists affiliated with more subjective ways of understanding deviance are critical of positivist theoriesfocusing on individual deviance implies assumptions about what the world should be like and how people should act and tries to explain deviations form normative behaviour more than the normative behaviour itselfthe interest is not in the act but in the perceptions of and reactions to the act as well as in the role of power in influencing these perceptions and reactionsdeviance is seen as constructed through the social typing process whereby people have descriptive labels attached to them are evaluated or judged on the basis of those labels and then are treated in certain ways because of prior descriptions and evaluationsmost interpretive and critical theories propose that social processes are the result of culturally and historically specific human social interactionsocial interaction creates bodies of social rules that then influence our livesInterpretive Theories explain something that might be unique and unrepeatablethey claim that the only reality is that which emerges through reciprocal intersubjective understanding between people their focus becomes the meanings that emerge from interactions between people who are engaged in symbolic dialogueemphasize how people develop understandings of the world around them other people and themselvesSaturday Feb 2 2013Critical Theories have a selfreflective valueorienting foundationan underlying interest in emancipation and working toward social justicetheir focus is on the power relations that underlie the creation of social rulesa combination of several interpretive and critical theories is associated with the contextual social constructionist that informs more subjective understandings of devianceJoel Best claims that labeling theory and conflict theory make up the approach referred to as constructionismWhy Are Some Act Considered Deviant Using Interpretive and Critical TheoriesInterpretive TheoriesSymbolic Interactionismsometimes referred to as Interactionism is the foundation for the range of interpretive theories used to study deviancesome specialists equate interactionism with interpretive theories and constructionistsociety is created by social interaction which occurs via communication throughs symbolssociety is made up of people in constant communication with each other and this is the source of all meaning and understanding all communication is symbolic in nature gestures facial expressions the english language clothing the same symbols may have different meanings in different contextsthrough these avenues of communication we create meaning in our lives and an understanding of the world around us of other people and of ourselvesbecause each of us has a distinct set of interactions during the course of our lives the way each of us understands the world varies to some extentvarious processes contribute to the meanings and understandings each of us createsone of these is Role Takingby vicariously placing ourselves in the roles of others we try to see the world from their points of view and determine our own attitudes nada actions accordinglya second process is the LookingGlass Selfwhen determining how to look or act and how we feel about ourselves we imagine how we appear to other peoplewhat we imagine other people think of us influences what we think about ourselvesthese others may be significant others or a generalized other
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