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Lecture 3

Week 3 readings.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

Part II- Chapter 6, 7, 8, 9– WEEK 3 READINGS – SOC2070 PART II – THEORIES OF DEVIANCE - Biological and Psychological Theories o In earlier times – scholars of crime – deviant behaviour in people’s biological predispositions o Looked for links b/w incarcerated criminals and genetic deficiencies o Lombroso – women evolutionarily inferior to men o Lombroso – criminals were more like primitive human beings o Criminals born, not made o Sheldon – somatotypes – endomorphs, mesomorphs, ectomorphs o Psychosurgeries – electric needles into the skull o More recent thinking examines how people’s inherited characteristics translate into predispositions toward traits such as thrill-seeking, risk-taking, or substance abuse o Biological theories fail to explain why people who share common biological characteristics differ, with some turning to deviance while others not o Psychological theories – psychiatrist, psychoanalytical, and psychological explanations of how individuals’ minds and personalities affect their deviance o Freud – id, ego, superego o Operant conditioning, examining the way behaviour modification can cause individuals to commit crime o Intelligence theorists, IQ theories - The Structural Perspective o Durkheim, believed that at its root, the morals that individuals are taught constrain their behaviour o Durkheim suggests that societies with high degrees of social integration would increase the conformity of its members o Durkheim also subscribed to the idea that deviance was functional for society  Deviance serves to remind us of the moral boundaries in society  Each time a deviant is publicly announced, society is united in indignation against the perpetrator  Society is reminded of what is right and wrong o Kai Erikson  Deviance serves as a means to promote a contrasts with the rest of the community o When society lowers the bar of acceptability, fewer acts are viewed as deviant and more become recast as tolerable. o Violation of these norms serves to remind us what is acceptable and what is not o Structural perspective locates the root cause of crime and deviance outside of individuals, in the invisible social structures that make up any society Part II- Chapter 6, 7, 8, 9– WEEK 3 READINGS – SOC2070 o Structural explanations for deviance look at features of society that seem to generate higher rates of crime or deviance among some societies or groups within them o Structuralists locate the cause of crime in two main factors: the differential opportunity structure, and prejudice and discrimination towards certain groups o Merton – people have accepted society’s goals but they have insufficient access to the approved means of attaining these goals  The problem lies in the social structure in society  Deviant behaviour occurs when socially sanctioned means are not available for the realization of highly desirable goals o Cloward and Ohlin – delinquency and opportunity  All disadvantaged people have some lack of opportunity for legitimate pursuits, but they do not have the same opportunity for participating in illegitimate practices  Groups of people may have greater or lesser opportunity to climb the illicit opportunity ladder by virtue of several factors: some neighbourhoods are rife with more criminal opportunities and networks, some forms of illicit enterprise are dominated by people of particular racial groups, the upper echelons of crime display a distinct class ceiling for women, with men dominating the positions of decision-making o Conflict Theory of Crime – Richard Quinney  See society differently from functionalists in their view of society as pluralistic, heterogeneous, and conflictual rather than unified and consensual  Social conflict arises out of the incompatible interests of diverse groups in society  These groups have a structural conflict of interests  Powerful members of society create legal definitions of human conduct, casting those behaviours that threaten its interests as criminal o Feminist theory  Women are unprotected against verbal, physical and sexual abuse, and their individual attempts to rise up and protect themselves often subject them to being labeled as offenders - THE CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE o Deviance was a collective act, driven and carried out by groups of people o The disparities and different cultural codes between subcultural groups may become apparent in three situations  When people from one culture migrate or cross over into the territory of another culture  Cultural conflict may occur during a takeover situation, when the alws of one cultural group are extended to apply to another Part II- Chapter 6, 7, 8, 9– WEEK 3 READINGS – SOC2070  Cultural codes may clash on the border of contiguous cultural areas o In each of the above three cases, people may find themselves torn between the norms and values of different group memberships - THE INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE o Left unaddressed is how people from the same structural groups and same subcultures can turn out so differently o Interactionist theories fill this void by looking in a more micro fashion at people’s everyday life behaviour to try and understand why some people engage in deviance and become so labeled, while others do not. They look at how people actually encounter specific others. o When people confront the problems, pressures, excitements, and allures of the world, they do so in conjunction with their peer groups o Sutherland – differential association theory – deviant behaviour is socially learned and not from just anyone, but from people’s most intimate friends and family members.  Further suggested that people learn a variety of elements critical to deviance from their associates: the norms and values of the deviant subculture, the rationalizations for legitimizing deviant behaviour, the techniques necessary to commit the deviant acts, and the status system of the subculture o Matza – Drift theory – this movement into deviant subcultures occurs
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