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Lecture 12

SOC101Y1 Lecture 12: Deviance and Crime

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University of Toronto St. George
Christian O.Caron

    SOC101 – INTRO TO SOCIOLOGY Jan 11 , 2016 Lecture 12 – Deviance and Crime Queer Theory (Concluding the last semester) - Post-structuralist account o Chapter “Into Sociology” o Looking at the history of these big ideas, big concepts, big identities that are so important to our lives and how they change over time  Categories such as sex, gender, sexuality, race, etc. o Critiques essentialism and universalism o Critiques binary accounts of gender and sexuality  Looks at things in a continuum o Critiques the Normalcy/Deviance Paradigm o Examines history of processes of normalization Crime - History of crime as an object of scientific inquiry - Two questions dominated the field of criminology: o Why do people commit crimes? o What to do about crime? o …And now a third: What is crime? - Why do people do what they do? - How do behaviours become defined as unwelcome or even punishable? - Studying crime and deviance means studying normalcy o What is criminal? What is deviant?  Is asking what is normal - Studying Crime is studying the orders, the marginalized, the people on the outskirts of society, those that do not fall into the mainstream Crime and criminal code - The Criminal Code defines crime as: “The intentional violation of criminal law without defense and without excuse” - 4 components: o Politicality:  Laws are enacted by the legislature, those who are elected. Looking at what is legal/illegal is part of the political process. (social movements, lobbyists, and political groups will attempt to change laws, take them away, or come up with new ones” o Specificity:  Set out, to the point, exactly what is a crime and what isn’t a crime. It’s the idea of ‘due process’, to balance your rights, and to make sure that there are many procedures that the system needs to go through to prove guilt o Uniformity:  Making sure that the criminal code applies to everyone equally  However doesn’t not always work this way… o Penal Sanctions:      Punishments that are set in advance. These specific sanctions set guidelines for judges to decide on a sentence (links to uniformity) Crime Rates Three main sources of crim statistics 1. Canadian Uniform Crime Reports (CUCR) a. Collected by police, but has shortcomings: i. Does not account for high degree of unreported crime, especially 1. Victimless crimes (no victim steps forward/identified) 2. ‘level one assults involving friend or lrelative of victim; 3. Sexual assaults ii. Statistics reflect decisions by authorities and wider public on which criminal acts to report and which to ignore 2. Self-Report Surveys a. Respondents aske dto report their involvement in criminal activies, either as perpetrators or as victims b. Surveys typically indicate that i. Majority of Canadians have engaged in some type of “criminal activity” (but most perpetrators of crime not officially identified as criminal given complex process involved in criminal labelling) 3. Victimization surveys a. People asked whether they have been victims of crime b. Provided detailed information about crime victims, but less reliable data bout offenders c. No national victimization survey until 1988 What official crime rates show: - Overall crime rate has been going down as a trend since the 1990s - Homicide rate has been falling as well as rates of robbery, sexual assault, drug arrests, and property crime o More attention to existing cases, making it seem like there are more (i.e. sexual assault) Sources of knowledge - What are our sources of knowledge about deviance?
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