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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 Notes

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David Brownfield

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Leccture 3 Sept. 27, 2012 Early positivists applied biological theory (for example, social Darwinist theory of evolution) Positivists  Compared deviants and non-deviants  They observed and measured a variety of factors (social, cultural, environmental) Measurement and comparison allows for test of theories or hypothesis A strong point of Positivism is that it requires theories be subject to test Matza  If there was no difference between a criminal act and a non- criminal act we would not know what is bad (should be punished) Positivist approach characterized by cycles of:  First, identifying causal factors (or a “theory”)  Next, testing and questioning predictions of theory  Third, period of indecision and uncertainty  Fourth, substitution of a new theory Relations in causal factors identified  First reaction termed “Good causes evil” 3 examples: o Merton argued that pursuit of a success leads to crime o Davis argued that efforts to regulate or control sexual behaviour leads to prostitution o Cohen predicted more delinquency created by social pressures to succeed in school Second Reaction  “Society creates deviance” (labeling theory argument)  Labeling theorists describe shift from focus on the act to characterizing the individual Third Reaction  People become “deviant by definition” (conflict theory) Theories of Deviance  Addressing the “causal question” (why do some people violate rules?) requires some assumptions  The rules or values of the group are assumed or taken as a point of reference  The influence of Positivism is still very strong until this day  Research on whether there is agreement or conflict over rules is not cons
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