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SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

January 21, 2012 – SOC2070 – L.Hunter Explaining Deviance: Sociological Theories of Deviance - theories of deviance: an introduction o Durkheim – crime and deviance is essential - explaining deviance: the act - positivist theories - functionalist theories - anomie theory - strain theory - differential opportunity theory - learning theories - differential association theory - neutralization theory - social learning theory - social control theories - social bonds theory - general theory of crime - functionalism: the normal and the pathological - social structure and anomie - strain theory - differential association - control theory Adler discusses Perspectives: - the biological and psychological perspective - the structural perspective - the interactionist perspective - various theories that fit into these different perspectives Theory and Practice - “There is nothing more practical than a good theory” - early 20 century  biological theories of crime - mid-20 century  social theories of criminal and non-criminal deviance Theories of Deviance - the sociology of deviance utilizes o general sociological theories o specifically criminological theories o interdisciplinary theories Which theory is ‘best’? - theories of deviance co-exist - some theories are more useful than others o depends upon the research question o each theory has its strengths and weaknesses Objective-Subjective Continuum January 21, 2012 – SOC2070 – L.Hunter - Those with more objective interests o Study the deviant act person or trait o Positivist theories - Those with more subjective interests o Study social construction and social typing o Interpretive and critical theories Positivist - functionalist - learning - social control Functionalist Theories - Durkheim’s theory of Anomie - Merton’s Strain Theory - Cloward and Ohlin’s differential opportunity theory Durkheim’s Theory of Anomie - Durkheim as a structural functionalist advanced they theory that society is a moral phenomenon - Manifest and latent functions o Manifest function  intended and recognized o Latent function  unintentional and unrecognized – provide with social networks and facilitate with relationships Durkheim - a certain level of deviance is functional: o increases social solidarity o helps determine moral boundaries o tests society’s boundaries o reduces societal tensions Durkheim - collective conscience of moral belief - this public response to deviance serves to remind people what is acceptable - normal rather than pathological - beyond a certain level, deviance is dysfunctional - structure of society causes deviance - mechanical solidarity – people bonded together by their similarities - organic solidarity – people bonded together by differences that created interdependence - mechanical solidarity  organic solidarity - rapid change creates anomie (normlessness) - social disintegration and anomie were more prevalent in modern society - deviance enforces the collective conscience of a group January 21, 2012 – SOC2070 – L.Hunter Functionalist Theories: Merton’s Anomie and Strain Theories - structure of society contributes to deviance - institutionalized goals and legitimate means - unequal access to those legitimate opportunities Merton’s Anomie and Strain Theory - anomie = goals emphasized more than means o deinstitutionalization of the means - strain = normative social order creases unequal access to legitimate means - Merton extended Durkheim’s ideas into strain theory - Culture dictates success goals for all but institutional access limited to certain classes - Social structures exert a definite pressure upon some persons in the society to engage in non conforming, rather than conforming conduct - In contemporary North America, we have conflict between the culture and the social and economic structure - Our culture dictates success goals for citizens whereas institutional access is limited to middle and upper strata - 5 modes of adaptation to strain - Merton drew up a typology of different responses to goal attainment and legitimate vs. illegitimate means of attain those goals - Conformity – accepting cultural values of success and the legitimate means or conventional means of obtaining them - Innovation – emphasis on success but choosing to achieve is an illegal, illegitimate or deviant fashion - Ritualism – the abandonment or scaling down of cultural goals of success and rapid social mobility but abiding by institutionalized norms - Retreatism – a rejection of both goals and institutionalized means – a retreat from the things society values - Merton’s anomie theory has had a major influence on social policy - Expand access to economic opportunities, thereby making the social structure more compatible with the cultural values Functionalist Theories: Cloward and Ohlin’s Differential Opportunity Theory - legitimate opportunities + illegitimate opportunities = conformity vs. deviance - nature of opportunities determines type of gang: o criminal gangs, retreatist gangs, conflict gangs - they suggest that not all disadvantaged persons have the same opportunity for participating in illegitimate activities - three types of deviant opportunities - criminal: arise from access to deviant - conflict: attract persons with propensity for violence - retreatist: persons who seek to withdraw from society - such opportunities are affected by several factors: o neighbourhoods January 21, 2012 – SOC2070 – L.Hunter o ethnicity o glass ceiling for women exists with men in leadership roles Functionalist Theories: Agnew’s General Strain Theory - multiple causes of strain - strain + negative affect = deviance - strain + anger + high depression = internalized deviance (i.e. purging) - strain + anger + low depression = externalized deviance (i.e. crime)x - experience strains - vicarious strains - anticipated strains - strains are more likely to cause crime when: o high in magnitude o unjust o create some pressure or incentive to engage in criminal coping - Strategies to reduce deviance: o Eliminating strains conducive to crime o Removing individuals from strains conducive to crime o Equipping individuals with the traits and skills to avoid strains conducive to crime Functionalist theories: Albert Cohen’s Status Frustration Theory - subcultural theory - middle-class measuring rod – characteristic sof school system - lower-socio-economic create oppositional standards of behaviour and engage in: o reaction formation – join with similar others o for cohen, the gang is the solution for the less advantaged youth o Merton stressed success o Cohen stressed status - Criticisms: o Conservative bias o Andocentric bias o Deviance as a lower-socio-economic class phenomenon LEARNING THEORIES: - differential association theory - neutralization theory - social learning theory Learning Theories: EdwardS utherland’s Differential Association Theory - small, intimate groups - techniques and motives - i
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