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SOC212H1 lecture one.docx

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thSOC212H1September 12 2012 DevianceIn sociology the term deviance is hard to define because it relies on the definition of other termsBy definition a deviant act is one that veers away from social normsBut what is considered normal in societyEach group ethnicity race and so on has their own definition for what constitutes normal behaviourFor example in African culture it is normal to put spaces in ones ear lobes but this act is considered deviant in CanadaWhether an act is accepted or not by people in a certain group they change based on time and place There are instances where the lines are blurred between what is deviant and criminal and what is notFor instance murder is by all means considered a very deviant act in almost all nations but there are exceptions where murder is considered more or less to be a normIn war it is a normal occurrence to murder another person whereas if this act were to be committed outside of the battlefield it would be anything but commendableThere are also cases of selfdefense where murder is not considered to be a deviant act In Southern Mxico for example the person who was ambushed and killed was believe to be the guilty party it was believe they brought the violence on themselvesThe homicide in this case was a reaction to a crime and not a crime itselfAs is the case in some southeastern countries where it is believe that a rape victim is at fault In summary context matters Deviance can change over time and place and certain acts although they may be the same have different repercussions if they are in different social settingsThe definition of deviance cannot be taken for granted as it varies from place to place Smoking marijuana smoking in public places premarital sex and having children before marriage were at one time or another believed to be deviant actsAs societies views about these issues change so too does the definition of devianceDeviance therefore is not a random occurrenceIt reflects the interest of the majority of society and the ruling eliteThe elitists in society Howard Becker argued created and defined deviant behaviours and forced people who complied with these notions into the groupsCertain individuals were labeled based on how they looked dressed or actedThese people were then shunned by society and cast aside as outsidersA deviant person therefore is one who a label has successfully been applied toDeviant behaviour in summary must be labeled and applied to a certain group of people and is therefore based on social construction Joel Best was a sociologist who studied why over the years Halloween has become such a fearful holiday for parents His findings revealed that the media elaborates on minor incidents and makes them seem as though they are common occurrences when in fact they are very rareOver the span of 25 years Best found that there were only 76 incidents and only one of which resulted in death and it was a domestic assault The media overplays how dangerous candy can be how dangerous being out at night alone can be and how Halloween has become more of a sadist holiday when in fact the rate of accidents in very lowBest concluded that Halloween sadism is highly over emphasized in the mediaDeviant acts have become associated with Halloween over the years hence the growing concern for the safety of children around this holiday
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