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Lecture 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Denis Wall

SOCB50 Deviance and Normality 1 Lecture 2 18 September 2012 How can we recognize as deviant? - First thing is to ask people what they think is deviant. Most people reply with murder, or incest - Marginal deviance is things that don’t really require a punishment, however still breaks some sort of a rule. Ex. Cutting in line - Other deviance that doesn’t break any laws like driving SUV’s , country singers etc. These are just things that people have nuisance against. Certain pet peeves, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a law or rule has been broken. - Sociologists are always looking for patterns and groupings and outcasts. - Deviance is any behaviour or belief or condition that violates significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs 1. Objective view, observable characteristics defines deviance: - Universal features- the notion of wrong at right. Knowing what’s wrong and right is something that we are born with and develop - Something in common - The difference between right and wrong is natural 2. Subjective views, deviance in the eye of the beholder - Flux, ever changing - Someone must tell us who/ what is deviant- socialization. It doesn’t exist unless there is someone to tell you that you’re doing something deviant Deviance: Attitudes, behaviour and conditions Attitudes (Cognitive) - -unpopular, unconventional beliefs that may or may not manifest themselves in over actions. Attitudes are also a component of beliefs that why it can be considered as cognitive. Beliefs are not deviance because they are wrong. Some beliefs are deviant because they violate the norms of society. It is not wrong, it is just not normal. Racism can be deviant at times and non deviant at other, depends on the context. Behaviour - Made up of any overt action (which includes the failure to act) that is likely to attract condemnation, hostility or punishment. Behaviours that are utterly unacceptable are considered to be deviant. Sociologists are concerned about why do people consider these behaviours deviant. What kind of reactions do people give to those with disabilities. Conditions - Include physical characteristics or traits that likewise make someone - A target of an audience’s disapproval, avoidance, decision, or other type if negative social reaction Objective Subjective Dichotomy - Objective definitions of deviance can be clearly distinguished from subjective definitions of deviance - Problem with this is assumption: objective and subjective definitions cannot be integrated Objective views on deviance 1.Statistical rarity - If a behaviour or characteristic is a typical, it is deviant. Statistically people that are left handed are deviants, however what determines if that person is a deviant is based on the way people react to it. Problems /limitation with defining deviance as something that is rare: - How we define statistically rare present a problem - Since behaviours are not statistically rare but are perceived as unacceptable - Many statistically rare behaviours/ characteristics are no considered deviant 2.Harm - We can define deviance by particular harm Types of Harm - Physical Harm - Emotional Harm - Harm to Society - Abstract Harm Problems/ Limitations with defining deviance is that it is something that causes harm to society or oneself: Meaning of Physical harm is variable (There are different ways of looking at harm. Does removing your Hijab mean that you’re harming yourself. Some say that it is harmful, while some argue that it is not ) - Whether or not society or a belief system is being harmed can be subjective - Sometimes reactions causes more harm than the initial behaviours, characteristics or people themselves. (Example of RCMP police officers tazering an individual, which caused his death, the reaction to the behaviour was more severe than the initial behaviour) - What we need to look at is the social processes at work that allows us to perceive that someone is dangerous - Our perceptions can be misguided, and stereotypical. (Someone wearing punk clothes, we might assume that they are deviants) - Sometimes we think that something is harmful because we don’t want to look at it. It might stress us out if we look at it 3.Societal Reaction - if the response of society masses are orimarily negative (dislike, anger, hatred stigmatization and teasing) rath that positive (such as liking, admiration, envy or tolerance) , then the person or act is being responded as deviant Often we react to people this way because other people around us are reacting that way too. Problem/ Limitations of defining deviance as based only on the extent of negative societal reaction: - Why does society react negatively to some actions characteristics to some people and not to others? - Whose reaction counts? (those with lots of status versus those with little status) 4.Norm Violation - someone who violates the given norms of the society they live in is seen as deviant. - degrees of norm violation: 1.Folk Ways- - these are norms that have been around for ages. Things like incest, murder are norms that shouldn’t be broken 2. Mores- 3. Laws- Laws can be changed at the wim of out thinking. In some situations lying can be better than telling the truth. One can see that not all norms are the same, ones can result in jail time and some can result in minor consequences. When you plagiarize, you are put on academic probation, you are put on a watch list and given a warning. This is a kind of deviance, norm violation. Limitations/ Problems with defined deviance as based only on violation of agreed upon societal norms: - Given the multiplicity of individuals, groups and sets of expectations that coexist in a society consensus and agreement is difficult to determine (how much consensus does there have to be, in order to determine whether or not there is a norm violation) Sometimes its often difficult to determine whether it’s a norm violation therefore you need to see who agrees, and those who disagrees. However in order to come to a consensus they need to figure out the situations and context applied to the norm violation - The law is simply a tool u
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