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January 07 Lecture.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

January 07, 2013 - term conjures up many images that take on different meanings to various audiences o everyone has a different perspective… - while it may appear that such a wide spectrum of acts ad behaviours have nothing in common, they all represent examples of behaviour that have elicited negative reactions from large or powerful audiences Why Study Deviance? - it’s different, fascinating, possible career - is there a function in society? Is it a good thing? Identifying deviance, reinforcing our social boundaries - even the idea of deviance tells us about a society’s tolerance and control - social organization and social structure Three Perspectives on Defining Deviance - absolutist perspective, social constructionist approach, social power perspective - ABSOLUTIST PERSPECTIVE: o Assumes widespread consensus over definitions of deviance o Durkheim: social laws reflect objective facts, “collective consciousness” o Universal taboos against murder, incest, lying, etc often cited as evidence o Absolute perspective = we should all know the norms and morals  Those who go against should have a stern punishment  “law and order” o absolute perspective sees deviance as a negative concept - SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONIST APPROACH: o Focus on the norms that bind and define deviance rather then the act of the deviant itself o A subjectivist approach to defining deviance guided by belief that social meanings, and values, and rules can be problematic and uncertain  Social meanings arrive in different situations and in different contexts o Social constructionists study the way norms are created o Different definitions of deviance come about in different eras, and locations leading to significant constructions and reconstructions of deviances o RELATIVIST PERSPECTIVE:  Deviance is lodged in the eye of the beholder, rather then the act itself (contrast to the absolute who focuses on the act) - SOCIAL POWER PERSPECTIVE o Builds on relativist perspective by introducing Marx’s conflict theory o Laws reflect the interests and concerns of the dominant class o Dominant groups and social classes tend to have and to exercise the power to make and to enforce the rules of society which reflect their particular interests o Rejects absolutist view that definitions of deviance are universally shared: instead emphasizes group conflict and struggle over such definitions o Conflict over definitions of deviance can occur between various groups based on economics, race/ethnicity, gender, religion, cultural identity, etc. o Community-Engaged Learning and Social Deviance - community-engaged scholarship, often referred to as community engaged learning, engages students and the community together in a process of knowledge generation, allowing for the interchange of expertise and practical outcomes for both parties – students and the community o one role is it’s ability to bring students and community closer together through mutual understanding - the sociology of deviance can derive benefit from community-engaged learning to enhance student understanding and to foster creativity and innovation. A community-engaged framework can be used to creatively connect students to marginalized groups about which it has traditionally ben difficult to establish a deep understanding. Community-Engaged Learning - guest speakers offer an integral contribution to the subject matter and will present fascinating material Defining Deviance: What is deviant behaviour? What is crime? - deviance is the violation of norms - norms are behavioural codes of prescriptions that guide people into conforming to social acceptability
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