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Lecture 2

Week 2 Readings.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

Week 2 Readings – SOC 2070 Chapter 1: On the Sociology of Deviance - Erikson asserts that deviance and the social reaction it evokes are key focal concerns of every community - Erikson suggest several valuable functions that deviance performs: people know what is acceptable and unacceptable, bolsters cohesion, integration and solidarity (which preserves the stability of social life) - Each community has a specific territory in the world as a whole, nt only in the sense that it occupies a defined region of geographical space but also in the sense that it takes over a particular niche n what might be called cultural space and develops its own way within that compass – it is boundary maintaining - Members of a community inform one another about the placement of their boundaries by participating in the confrontations which occur when persons who venture out to the edges of the group are met by policing agents whose special business it is to guard the cultural integrity of the community - Confrontations between deviant offenders and the agents of control have always attracted a good deal of public attention - Boundaries are never a fixed property of any community – they are always shifting as the people of the group find new ways to define the outer limits of their universe, new ways to position themselves on the larger cultural map - Deviant behaviour is not a simple kind of leakage which occurs when the machinery of society is in poor working order, but may be, in controlled quantities, an important condition for preserving the stability of social life - Hospitals, prisons, and other similar agencies provide aid and shelter to a large number of deviant persons, sometimes giving them a certain advantage in the competition for social resources – familiar argument that many of the institutions designed to discourage deviant behaviour actually operate in such a way as to perpetuate it – such institutions gather marginal people into tightly segregated groups, give them an opportunity to teach one another the skills and attitudes of a deviant career and even provoke them into using these skills by reinforcing their sense of alienation from the rest of society. Chapter 2: An Integrated Typology of Deviance Applied to 10 Middle-Class Norms - A Typology of Deviance Integrating Normative and Reactivist Perspectives o Normative or objectivist definitions primarily focus on the violation of norms o Deviance = behaviour that violates normative rules o Reactivist or subjectivist definitions focus on the dynamics of the reaction of social audience o Social groups constitute deviance by making rules whose infractions constitute deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders o Negative deviance is under-conformity or non-conformity th
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