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Lecture 2

CRM 2301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: National Deviancy Symposium, Erving Goffman, Labeling Theory

Course Code
CRM 2301
Christine Gervais

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CRM3100 2015-09-15
In the 1960’s: ideas shift, how is power enforced, on who, how do we
theorize crime, theories themselves shifted into what is crime, how is it
enforced, who is a criminal. This became the regular component of
criminology now.
Chicago school: changed the way we do ethnographic work:
empathetic relationships with the people they were studying : homeless,
prostitutes, etc. “Social Sociology” . The Chicago school also reformulated
the way we do sociology, it changed from law, reason, state central theories
of governance to focusing on theories of culture, belonging, theories of the
city, urban studies, that was never centralized until the Chicago school
brought it forward George Meid: Symbolic Interaction
Symbolic Interaction: Human Society as Symbolic Interaction, routes
in the Chicago school department of sociology
- People are strong individuals, our ability to speak and communicate,
create complex ideas and relay them to one another, that’s what constitutes
the social community
- We are engaged in this social activity of communication, its not only
built on communication (one person speaking to another) but one person to
another interpreting eachother define eachothers actions, interpret them,
their response Is based on the meaning that they attach to those actions.
-We are social entities that go around in society and interpret others
actions, we interpret others actions and communications with our own values
and morals.
-social constructivist: we give things meaning, and evaluate everything
based on our preconceived notions based on our own meanings and
interpretations. Always changes based on our interpretations
-Expected meanings structure the way we act,
-social structures set conditions for actions, but do not determine them
(we have our own meanings for them, they don’t define us)
Goffman and the study of stigma

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-Student of Chicago school, SOCIOLOGY OF STIGMA, SOCIAL
-interested in mental health, social identities that are considered
deviant, and how this is.
-He was first to investigate stigma as a social process, he defined it as
such as well.
-He defined it from a social constructivist lens, where the reaction of
others turns what is considered as normal into something that is spoiled
-He says crime isn’t biological but a stigma that we produce,
-we have normative expectations based on our perception of people
and what category they belong to – socially constructed
-Stigma is only negative in its effects, but should be seen in a
language of relationships not attributes.
3 Types of Stigmas
1) Abominations of the body: Abnormalities of the body, not able
2) Moral Failings: addiction, homosexuality, things that can be held
against you and your moral character
3) Tribal stigma: Race, religion, ethnicity
acknowledges there is a hierarchy in these stigmas and how we
perceive these levels, he doesn’t want this! He wants us to understand that
the effects of stigma are negative and no good.
Gothams Stigma Responses and Characteristics :
-Gotham focused on the stigmatized***
1) Context specific, dialectic: The language of relationships, stigma is
contectual, the social environments in which we are perceiving them
-the attribute itself stigmatizes one possessor and then continues to
others, so its not creditable or discreditable attributes can change, they are
not fixed. Social content changes quickly as well
-Our identities are changing as well, but can be seen as both negative
and positive
-stigma can change, it is not absolute, it is based on a context in which
we interpret values

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2) Negative in it’s effects: we believe the person with a stigma is not
quite human, this exercises discrimination, this thinking unknowingly
reduces the stigmatized persons life changes,
3) Virtual Social Identitiy vs, Actual Social identity:
-Stigma is in our own context on what we believe people should be
like, our expectations around behaviour, no matter family, neighbourhood,
gender, race -your identity (social, class, race, etc) is always being
evaluated, we are always engaged in interpretation with others. VIRTUAL
actual: category and attributes he could in fact be proved to possess.
4) Functions in/with social power
-stigma theory: ideology that stigma is used to justify prejudice that
we already have (danger someone has, or what he/she represents), could be
based on social class, race, etc.
-but when compared to someone he is compared normal against, a
person will strongly support the judgement of the others in their category.
-stigma and the application of stigma will always be involved with
power dynamics and who gets stigmatized is always based on social form.
5) Subgroups of Affinity: Stigmatized can create forms of affinity and
subgroups, stigma can be a form of empowerments, communities can be
formed based on this stigma to come together.
6) Struggle for acceptance and moral career: Refers to how
stigmatized people try to master various practices to gain acceptance. Ways
in which we deal or react with stigma, our moral career itself structure is the
cause/effect in personal adjusments that we have in reaction to being
-Feelings that you are always having to be “on”
-Cause and effect (personal adjustments)
-The experience of stigma as a social process and this cycle of reaction
7) Management of Stigma and the immanence of discredibiility
-related to #6
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