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Lecture 7

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ivanka Knezevic

Lecture 7 – Thursday, November 1, 2012  Sociological definition of deviance o Deviance is non-compliance with social norms that provokes a negative social reaction, and an attempt to control the behaviour and/or punish the perpetrator. o Crime is deviance sanctioned by law o Objective and subjective concepts of deviance: moral status accorded thoughts, actions, characteristics, and persons o E.g. commit a crime, go to jail o Definition changes over time; things considered okay before are deviant now e.g. dropping out of high school, domestic violence  Types of deviance: o Social diversions: harmless non-compliance to social norms; it does not elicit sanctions (“fads”) e.g. extreme piercing o Social deviations: non-compliance to social norms that elicits an informal sanction e.g. amish people leaving their community o Conflict crimes: non-compliance to law; members of society disagree about its seriousness and the appropriate sanction e.g. smoking marijuana, pirating music o Consensus crimes: most members of society agree on their seriousness e.g. first degree murder, rape,  Is theft a consensus crime? Is murder a consensus crime? o Cf. Sacco and Horton: ordinary and extreme deviance  Theories of deviance: o Why do some people engage in deviance?  Structural-functionalist theories: strain, cultural support, differential association  Symbolic-interactionist: transactional, labelling o Why don’t all people engage in deviance?  Structural-functionalist: social control o How are behaviours defined as deviant?  Structural-functionalist: conservative control theory  Neo-marxist: radical control theory  Post-modernist: discourse as means of social control—normalized by the powerful; minority views are unheard  Strain theory by Robert Merton (structural-functionalist): lack of fit between the accepted cultural goals and socially acceptable means available to achieve these goals e.g. poverty prevents you from getting a good education to get a good job o This strain creates four types of coping strategies: innovation (crime), ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion (textbook calls them 4 types of deviance but this is incorrect)  Conformity: the norm; accept cultural goals and accept the means to achieve it  Innovation: accept the cultural goal but reject the means because they don’t have the means to meet the goal; e.g. people who sell drugs  Ritualism: people who have given up on becoming wealthy, but they are law-abiding people; they don’t steal/engage in fraud; they do the best they can with what they have  Retreatism: reject both cultural goal and means of achieving it; don’t believe wealth is an important goal and don’t care about getting most profitable job; focus more on artistic/spiritual development; retreating from society e.g. monks  Rebellion: reject societal goals but accept legitimate means to achieve whatever goals they have e.g. sign petitions, organize rallies o Critique: fails to account for middle-class and upper-class crime and deviance o See strain theory table in textbook  Cultural support theory (structural-functionalist) by Sutherland o Subcultural theory: people become deviant because they are exposed to learning experiences that make deviance more likely i.e. to a subculture of deviance o Rationalisations: deviant people learn to believe that their behaviour is morally acceptable e
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