SOC212H1 Lecture Notes - Snowball Sampling, Prison Officer, Body Piercing

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SOC212 Lecture 2 (Sept. 19,2012)
Video of Jim West
Who defines deviance?
o Reactive Approach
Lots of people reacted to the news
o Group Approach
Religious reasons, an entire community were having
discussions, reacting to what was going on (the guy saying he
was a sociopath) and the gay community (surprising because
they were really angry) trying to come out but this
scandal=detrimental to what they’re trying to do
Downson & Rock:
Most deviance covert and secretive
o Some exceptions: youthful deviance (ie. Don’t do it alone, do it
together), political groups (neo-nazis, white supremacists, etc.)
If you had to do research on prostitution, how would you do it?
Participant observation
o This is where sociologists become actively involved (immersed), could
also engage in deviant behavior as part of the research
o Ex. Jim Markford correctional officers brutality against inmates in
Texas (and to observe how officers and inmates interact with each
other) He became a correctional officer; he acknowledges initially that
it was difficult to be accepted by other officers. Eventually he was
accepted and witnessed some brutal acts
o Extremely difficult; requires you to simultaneously become an insider
and an outside. A part of the deviance (or at least observing it) and
o Advantage: See firsthand, get unbelievably rich data,
o Disadvantage: Difficult in gaining entrance to some social situations as
well as fitting in, raises hard ethical issues (when to intervene, etc.)
Snowball sampling
o Can start with one prostitute, become really good friends with them,
then they give another friend (form of networking)
o Advantage: this is critical for hard to reach people (ie. Can’t put a
newspaper ad finding people who grow meth in their backyard)
o Disadvantage:
Limited sample (the people you talk to may not be
representative of all prostitutes)
Relies on initial informants, but it also relies on whoever you’re
referred to. (Contacts can dry up, they don’t want to talk to
you)
Too many contacts
Can just start with observation (ie.. .streets of Toronto)
o Limited to activities people choose to do in public
o May see extreme body piercing or tattoo
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Document Summary

Lots of people reacted to the news: group approach. Most deviance covert and secretive: some exceptions: youthful deviance (ie. don"t do it alone, do it together), political groups (neo-nazis, white supremacists, etc. ) Participant observation: this is where sociologists become actively involved (immersed), could also engage in deviant behavior as part of the research, ex. Jim markford correctional officers brutality against inmates in. Texas (and to observe how officers and inmates interact with each other) he became a correctional officer; he acknowledges initially that it was difficult to be accepted by other officers. Eventually he was accepted and witnessed some brutal acts: extremely difficult; requires you to simultaneously become an insider and an outside. Limited sample (the people you talk to may not be representative of all prostitutes) Relies on initial informants, but it also relies on whoever you"re referred to. (contacts can dry up, they don"t want to talk to you)

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