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Lecture 3

SOC 2070 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Mechanical And Organic Solidarity, Anomie, Reaction Formation

Course Code
SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

of 4
Part I Bereska 35-73 Week 3 Readings SOC 2070
Chapter 2: Explaining Deviance: The Act
Using Positivists Theories
- interest in explaining why people act in particular ways
- seeking to understand why deviant people act that way triggers subsequent
attempts to prevent other people from becoming deviant
Functionalist Theories
- society is seen as being comprised of various structures, each of which fulfills
necessary functions for the smooth running of the social order (e.g. family,
education system, political system)
- some are manifest functions:
o intended and recognized
- others are latent functions
o unintentional and unrecognized
- example:
o manifest function is of university it to train young adults for
employment but university does even more its latent functions may
include providing individuals with social networks and even the
formation of romantic relationships
- Durkheim: Anomie Theory
o Notion of deviance address in two ways:
He suggested that a certain level of deviance is actually
functional for society
He address deviance in the context of pathological levels of
deviance that occur when society changes too quickly and
anomie (normlessness) emerges
Deviance is functional in that seeing someone break the rules
allows for the rest of us to see how important those rules are
increases social solidarity society determines what its moral
boundaries are reduces societal tensions
o Durkheim focused on the ways that society’s structures had changed
with industrialization and the impact this had on people’s behaviour
Before industrialization = mechanical solidarity
Mechanical solidarity = society was bonded together by
likeness or by a collective commitment to conform
With industrialization = organic solidarity
Society was bonded together by difference or interdependence
through a highly specialized division of labour
- Merton: Anomie and Strain Theories
o Merton suggested that deviance originates not only from the
individual, but also from the structure of society
o Merton said that in North America, the goals we are to aspire to
include wealth, status/power, and prestige the American Dream
Part I Bereska 35-73 Week 3 Readings SOC 2070
o He suggested that just as our culture is characterized by
institutionalized goals, it is also characterized by legitimate means of
attaining those goals
o Anomie and strain have come to characterize American society
o Context of anomie as emerged an imbalance between culturally
prescribed goals and legitimate means
o People who can adapt to this lifestyle between goals and means in 5
different ways some of which result in deviance
1) conform ( accepts goals, accepts the means they have)
2) innovation (accepts the goals, rejects the means)
3) ritualism (reject the goals and accept the means)
4) retreatism (reject the goals and reject the means)
5) rebellion ( new goals and new means)
- Cloward and Ohlin: Differential Opportunity Theory
o The way society is structured results in differential access to
legitimate opportunities
o They propose that the way society is structured also results in
differential access to illegitimate opportunities some people have
more access to illegitimate opportunities like living in
neighbourhoods that may have street gangs, drug dealers or sex trade
o They suggest that some people are more like than others to become
participants in deviant behaviour
- Agnew: General Strain Theory
o Agnew proposes that strain can be produced by a variety of processes
o While it can occur when we are unable to achieve our goals, it may
also arise when valued stimuli are removed (loss of job or divorce) or
when negative stimuli are presented (teased at school, etc.)
- Cohen: Theory of Status Frustration
o Inequalities in the structure of society are reproduced in the
classroom, resulting in delinquent subcultures among lower-class
o Middle-class foundation of the school system creates a middle-class
measuring rod that lower-class boys find difficult to live up to
o When they are unable to succeed according to the standards of the
classroom, they experience a situation similar to strain status
o As a result, they join together with other lower class boys who have
the same experience (mutual conversion) and develop a set of
oppositional standards at which they are able to succeed (reaction
Learning Theories
- these theories explain deviant behaviour as a result of the learning process
someone has taught deviant people to be deviant
- Sutherland: Differential Association Theory
Part I Bereska 35-73 Week 3 Readings SOC 2070
o Deviant behaviour is learned
o Deviant behaviour is learned through the very same process by which
conforming behaviour is earned central to the learning process is
the direct interaction and communication that occurs in small,
intimate groups
o Within these personal groups, individuals learn both techniques
(skills) and motives (reasons) for particular kinds of behaviour
- Sykes and Matza: Neutralization Theory
o The particular focus of their theory is on the nature of some of the
motives that Sutherland referred to
o The most important motives that are learned are techniques of
Denial of responsibility “nothing else to do in this town”
Denial of injury male-cross dresser or drug user
Denial of victim they somehow deserve their fate
Condemnation of the condemners condemners are accused of
being hypocrites who are engaging in other forms of deviance,
perhaps secretly
Appealing to higher loyalties suicide bomber might walk into
a mall in order to punish evildoers and achieve spiritual
salvation in the afterlife
- Social Learning Theory
o Suggested that all behaviour is the result of definitions (attitudes
about the acceptability of specific behaviours), differential association
(with whom one associates), imitations, and differential
reinforcement (rewards and punishments)
o Our behaviours are influenced by what we see other people being
rewarded and punished for, through the process of imitation or
Social Control Theories
- why don’t all people become deviant
- Hirschi: Social Bonds Theory
o Four different types of social bonds rein most of us in
To parents, teachers and peers
To conformity
To conventional activities
In the norms, values and assumptions that compromise
the conventional world
- Gottfredson and Hirschi: General Theory of Crime