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Unit 3 Reading2070.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski

Unit 3 Reading: Defining Deviancy Up A rebuttal to Defining Deviancy Down  As part of the project of moral levelling, entirely new areas of deviancy, such as date rape, and politically incorrect speech, have been discovered. Also, old areas, such as child abuse, have been amplified by endless reiteration in the public Family Life  Child abuse is both a crime and a tragedy, but is it nineteen times more prevalent today than it was thirty years ago? That is what the statistics show.  It is hard to believe that the tendency toward improved treatment is so drastically reversed in one generation  Answer: It hasn’t. Its over-reporting  2/3 of crimes aren’t reported, for child abuse, 2/3 crimes are never proven.  People are trying to find cases, when they cannot be found, they are invented Sexuality  “47 percent of women are victims of rape/attempted rape, 25 percent of women are victims of complete rape” According to Catharine MacKinnon.  Rape has been expanded to include behaviours that should not qualify as rape. Even the victims do not recognize it as rape.  Rape is so radically defined up (including offering a drink and being verbally insistent) it is no surprise that it is an epidemic  This is just an empirical dressing for the theory that claims “because relations between men and women are unequal, sex can never truly be consensual” Thought  The project is now to identify prejudiced thinking, instincts and attitudes Conclusion  Ordinary criminality we are learning to live with (defining deviancy down). What we are learning we cannot live with is the heretofore unrecognized violence against women that lurks beneath the façade of ordinary seemingly benign heterosexual relations  The deviant is declared normal, and the normal is unmasked as deviant  The perfect vehicle for exposing the rottenness of the bourgeois life is defining deviancy up. The law abiding middle class define their own virtue in contrast to the deviant by means of ostracism and punishment  Defining deviancy up is a new way of satisfying an old ideological agenda. It fills a psychological need. How do we cope with the explosion of real deviancy? One way is denial, the other is distraction: defining deviancy up creates brand new deviances that we can now go off and fight  These new crusades do nothing about real criminality or lunacy. But they do make us feel that we are making inroads on deviancy. Unit 3 Reading: Today’s Counter Enlightenment  Outside Europe, the “anything goes” attitude was never fully accepted  What a poor world it would be if anything that might offend any group could no longer be said. A multicultural society that accepts every taboo of its diverse groups would have little to talk about  The gains of enlightened discourse are too precious to be tuned into negotiable values. Defending those gains is the task we face Why should sociologists study alcohol use?  The excessive consumption of alcohol makes it difficult for most people to effectively perform their expected institutional roles, marital, familial, economic and educational. Failing to perform roles as a result of intoxication is a form of deviance  The effects of alcohol facilitate or are associated with the enactment of many forms of deviance, including crime, violence, sexual misbehaviour, and needless accidents  At certain times/in certain circumstances the mere consumption of alcohol, regardless of its consequences, has been or is regarded as both legally and informally non-normative  While very few sociologists define deviance by harm, harm and deviance are not randomly related to one another, many of the most harmful activities are condemned  There’s a concern that practically all adult members of the society harbour when it comes to drinking: alcohol consumption among minors Who Drinks?  There are at least two measures of alcohol consumption: drinking vs. abstinence, and drinking vs. drinking to excess  Social class or socioeconomic status correlates strongly and consistently with the consumption of alcohol. The higher the social class, the greater the likelihood of drinking. Strong correlation between education and drinking (college graduates drink way more often then those who have no education) if this talking about binge drinking though, it is reversed  Gender correlates with drinking strongly, Men are consistently more likely to drink than women  Age is also strongly correlated with drinking. Drinking is low in early adolescence , shoots up in middle to late teens, declines slowly after peaking at 19-20 Constructionism  Objectively: legal drug use is a far more serious social problem than illegal drug use. Yet illegal drug use is socially constructed as a more serious problem.  Subjectively: in the way that the public regards it and the government deals with it, the consumption of illicit substances it more serious social problem Essentialism  Alcohol’s objectively harmful effects are softened and rerouted by society’s norms Acute Effects  The effects of alcohol are determined by the volume of alcohol consumed  Two people with the same measured level of intoxication may exhibit different behaviours  Alcohol is a drug with measured effects as well as a social phenomenon, it is a depressant, if dose is too high, the body’s organs will shut down and cause death, but it is legally available to purchase  Women, people with lower body fat and those who haven’t eaten recently are more sensitive to the effect of alcohol Alcohol Abuse and Risky Behaviour  Binge Drinking: a form of alcohol abuse, it is the consumption of 5 drinks or more three times a month.  Risky Behaviour: behaviours that society regards as non-normative, harmful. Driving while drunk, engaging in criminal behaviour, putting oneself into a position in which become a victim is likely.  Drinkers and people who are intoxicated are more likely to engage in risky, deviant behaviour than non-drinkers.  Relationship between alcohol abuse and deviant behaviour is strongly contingent on drinking locales/contexts. o It isn’t heavy alcohol consumption that counts in this relationship, it’s the social, cultural and local contexts where drinking happens. Hypothesis: What causes higher levels of alcohol to co-vary with deviant behaviour?  Disinhibition Hypothesis: alcohol causes risky behaviour. Because alcohol’s effect releases the inhibitions from committing dangerous acts.  Susceptibility Hypothesis: alcohol abuse and engaging in deviant behaviour are related because they are the effects of a common cause o
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