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Lecture 4


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SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

WEEK 4 READINGS - Bereska 74-102, 105-108 41-45, 51-56, 98-104 – SOC 2070 Chapter 3: Explaining Deviance: The Perception, Reaction and Power NON-POSITIVIST THEORIZING - interpretation as the source of understanding - theorists whom think subjectively about deviance are skeptical of positivist theories o trying to understand why some people act in ways that the rest of us do not takes the concept of deviance for granted o non-positivist theorists suggest we should not assume that normative behaviour is indicative of the way people should act - the associated theories of non-positivist theories look at the nature of the social expectations themselves - most interpretive and critical theories reject the claim that there are certain standards of objectivity that can be recognized in the study of society, and that is is the role of the sociologist to discover what those standards are - interpretive theories – explain ‘something that might be unique and unrepeatable’ o this stands in contrast to positivist theories o interpretive theorists claim that the only reality is that which emerges through reciprocal, intersubjective understanding between people - critical theories – have a self-reflective value-orienting foundation that is an underlying interest in emancipation and working toward social justice o focus is on power relations that underlie the creation of social rules - together, critical and interpretive theories are useful in explaining those aspects of deviance that more subjective-oriented deviance specialists are interest in – the social construction of deviance WHY ARE SOME ACTS CONSIDERED DEVIANT? USING INTERPRETIVE AND CRITICAL THEORIES Interpretive Theories - Symbolic Interactionism o Society is made up of people in constant communication with each other, and this is the source of all meaning and understanding o All communication is symbolic in nature o Various processes contribute to the meanings each of us creates:  role-taking: placing ourselves in the roles of others, we try to see the world from their points of view and determine our own actions accordingly  Looking-glass self: when determining how we look or act and how we feel about ourselves, we imagine how we appear to other people  Significant others: people who are important to us  Generalized other: society, other people in general - Labelling and Stigmatization o Deviance is a label that is attached to some people, which than has consequences for how they are treated by others and how they come to identify themselves WEEK 4 READINGS - Bereska 74-102, 105-108 41-45, 51-56, 98-104 – SOC 2070 o Tannenbaum spoke of the role that tagging plays in the dramatization of evil  Observers in society may initially identify a particular act as evil/deviant – tagging causes the individual to change their self-image or identity to build around that label o Lemert used the term ‘labelling’  Primary deviance: we all engage in little acts of rule breaking that are seldom noticed and rarely caught by others  Secondary deviance: building a lifestyle around rule breaking o Becker elaborated upon the processes involve in the transition to secondary deviance  Once a person is labelled deviant, that label becomes their master status o Goffman – dramaturgy  Social life is like a theatre  Front-stage selves: we control the images that we present, and the messages that we convey to the audience by using our front-stage – you play a role here  Back-stage selves: when we leave the front stage and retreat with select groups of people who are a part of our private lives, we go to the back-stage – we don’t have to play a role but can be our true selves o Braithwaite  Disintegrative shaming – wherein deviantized persons are rejected by the community  Reintegrative shaming – effective treatment for criminal behaviour  Criminal is stigmatized or shamed for the acted but it is a temporary stigma – fully accepted back into the community o Kitsuse  Tertiary deviance  Stage that can potentially emerge after the transition from primary to secondary deivnace  Some people who have been labelled and who then develop an identity and a lifestyle based on that label may resist the idea that the label is a ‘deviant’ one – they may go on to try to change social norms, to show society that the behaviour they have engaged in or the characteristic they have is not ‘deviant’ - The Deviant Career o Becker  Deviance emerges, progresses, and changes over time, and there are stages to involvement in deviance just as there are stages in the development of a career WEEK 4 READINGS - Bereska 74-102, 105-108 41-45, 51-56, 98-104 – SOC 2070  Deviant career refers to the way that deviance unfolds in people’s lives  People enter deviance, manage their experiences of deviance, and may quit (or exit) deviance, all of which are intertwined with changes in their identities - A closing look at interpretive theories… o focus on the construction of meaning and understanding in interpersonal reactions o give us insight into the emergence of the ‘deviance dance’, wherein some people will say that Group X is deviant and can be fixed in a certain way, other people will agree that Group X is deviant but can be fixed in a different way, and other people will say that Group X is not deviant at all o primary criticism of interpretive theories as a whole is that they fail to address the social structure and its role in the processes surrounding deviance and normality o labeling theory in particular has faced a number of criticisms – pretty much for the same reason as interpretive theories as a whole Critical Theories - Marxist theories, non-Marxist conflict theories, non-conflict critical theories, feminist theories, postmodernist theories, etc. - Conflict theories presume that social rules do not emerge out of consensus but rather out of conflict, and serve the interests of the most influential groups in society o they suggest that that members of powerful groups are less likely to break the rules because the rules were created to serve their interests in the first place o conflict theories propose that members of less powerful groups are more likely to act in ways that violate social rules, either because their sense of oppression and aleintation causes them to act out in rule- breaking ways, or because social rules have defined the acts of the powerless as deviant in the first place - Karl Marx – proposed that society consists of a small group of powerful people at the top (bourgeoisie who were the owners of production) and a large number of powerless people at the bottom (proletariat who were the workers of production) o Instrumental Marxists propose that institutionalized social rules like the law are created by the powerful in order to serve the interests of the powerful o Structural Marxists propose that institutionalized social rules are created by the powerful in order to protect the capitalist economic system rather than to protect individual capitalists - Pluralist conflict theory – focuses on multiple axes of inequality that make up the structure of society based on conflicts between various economic, religious, ethnic, political, and social groups WEEK 4 READINGS - Bereska 74-102, 105-108 41-45, 51-56, 98-104 – SOC 2070 - Culture conflict theory (Sellin) o in societies having multiple, diverse cultural groups, there will be multiple sets of norms that may conflict with each other - Group conflict theory (Vold) o Multiple groups are al
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