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Lecture 4

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SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

4/17/2013 9:22:00 PM Interpretive theories emphasize:  Social interaction  Meanings, understandings, interpretations Critical theories emphasize:  Interest in emancipation and social justice  Power relations  A combo of several interpretive/critical theories associated with social constructionism that informs more subjective understandings of deviance The Constructionist Stance A. Berger and Luckmann‟s (1966) work on the sociology of knowledge o They show how social life shapes everything people know o They introduce the term “social constructionism” B. Labeling theory, dominant approach to studying deviance in 1960s was criticized o Conflict theorists claimed labeling theory ignored how elites shape deviance definitions o Feminists claimed labeling theory ignored women‟s victimization by men o Gay rights activists argued for political rights  Assign meaning or making sense of behaviours classified as deviant INTERPRETIVE THEORIES  Symbolic Interactionism o Foundation for other interpretive theories o Role-taking  See the world from the POV of others o Looking-glass self (how do we appear to others) o Significant others (what would they say), generalized other (what would people say) – results in varying meanings & interpretations of self/others  Labeling Theories o Meaning, interaction, interpretation o Becker: Relativism  A. Deviance is created by society  Deviance is not contained within individuals but in response of others  Social groups create the rules  Labeled as „outsiders‟  B. Deviance is relative not absolute  Deviance is not an objective, inherent quality of the act a person commits, but the result of the application of rules/sanctions to an “offender” 
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