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Soc212 Summer May 13.pdf

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Jenna Valleriani

May 13, 2013 Lecture #1 Defining Deviance - violation of societies norms - minor and major - not always against the law TheAmbiguity of Deviance - some do not think smoking marijuana is not deviant because it is more socially acceptable - says something about the way we define deviance Batman - What’s sociologically interesting about Batman? - psychological tension and the title “The Dark Night” - real world identity - double life - defender of good - works with law enforcement - not clear on which side of the law he stands - wealthy heir, fancy lifestyle, victim of murdered parents, vows vengeance - deviant who challenges deviance - news can be used to exaggerate deviance, create panic - drifts in and out of conforming to societies expectations - While some consensus may form around definitions of deviance, it is often found in “the eye of the beholder” - means deviance is subjective - judgement, morals, values, rather than external facts - Deviance is often temporally and culturally situated - depends on context - where and when Definitions of Deviance 1. Statistical 2. Absolutist 3. Relativist 4. Normative 1. Statistical - common conditions determine what is normal or deviant - statistical minority represents deviance - risky because many disreputable deviant behaviours are hidden rather than just rare - some deviant acts can be statistically normal - not reliable 2.Absolute - Deviance results from a value judgement based on absolute standards - same behaviours will always be considered deviance in all societies at all time - Absolute moral order - normal is good, and there is something obviously bad in each deviant act - all societies would develop rules that would cast normal behaviours as bad - eg. Religious proscriptions against homosexuality - it’s ‘just wrong’ - accept prescription as behaviours as a given - focus on characteristics - whats wrong with the individual, why are they breaking certain rules 3. Relativist - same behaviour in different societies or times maybe consider deviant or non deviant - deviance is a social product - whatever people react to and label as deviant becomes deviant - eg. MADD - bc different societies defined behaviour in different ways, we should focus on how and why rules are created - who makes the rules and for what reason - pointless to find the causes of deviance and crimes since the rules themselves are irrelevant, can be changed 4. Normative - Deviant label depends on what the group thinks should and not occur - breaking social norms - socially shared standards of conduct - can change from situation to situation, and overtime - values are plural - not absolute - most popular - main criticism - the term norm is a vague concept Definition of Deviance 1. The violation of social norms (Merton) - behavioral codes that guide people into actions and presentations of self that conforms with social expectations 2. Agreement about norms may not be universal but a clear and vocal majority must agree 3. Violating norms draws reactions and sanctions Crime vs Deviance - crime consists of behaviour that breaks the law (e.g. murder, theft) - concept of deviance refers to some sort of norm breaking behaviour - legal status of a particular act to define deviance? - problem 1: not all deviant acts are illegal - problem 2: not all illegal acts are deviant Explaining Deviance 1. PrescientificApproaches 2. ClassicalApproaches 3. BiologicalApproaches 4. Medicalization ClassicalApproaches - enlightenment rationality and empiricism - Enlightenment - social movement - reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in culture, and advance knowlege using scientific methods - deviance was no longer seen as possessed, but rational humans acting in selfish interest - free will and “the greatest good for the most people” - Beccaria - punishment should be proportionate to the crime - sacrilegious - banned until 1962 - punishment was to prevent further criminal conduct - certainty, severity, swiftness of punishment - Bentham - felicific calculus and Panopticons - people could do as they pleased as long as no one was hurt in the process - punishment had to be swift, certain, and slightly greater than any benefit one would receive from crime - advocated consistency in sentiency, and judges considering individual differences - imprisonment was ideal because the felon would have the time to re-evaluate felicific calculus - Panopticons - all seeing tower - round the clock surveillance - nor prisoner could never know when they are being watched - crucial instrument of discipline - secluded prisoners - Deterrence Theory - speed, certainty, appropriate severity and exemplarity of punishment - more effective when they know they are going to be punished for it - severity is important, but swiftness of punishment plays a role Sociological Explinations of Deviace Dependent on - place - time - actor (age, gender, class, status, etc.) - audience Social Power - definitions of deviance are not absolute but are created by powerful groups - deviant labels are applied (often through law) against those who threaten the interests of the powerful Moral Panics - public panic over an issue deemed to be a threat to, or socking to, the sensibilities of “proper” society - sensationalist selective reporting - “moral entrepreneurs,” a category that includes politicians on the make and activists in search of a cause - Moral panics often feature a caricatured or stereotypical “folk devil” on which the anxieties of the community are focused - scapegoats people constructed targets as to why everything is going on Deviance and Social Control, Chapters 1, 3, 4 Chapter 1: Issues in the Study of Deviance - deviant activities are often hidden and misrepresented - treason or corporate crime are widespread but usually unacknowledged Why Study Deviance? - Vicarious Experience - by living the apparently more exciting or interesting lives of others - fascination with deviance can be a way of dealing with disowned parts of ourselves - coping with forbidden urges - vicarious living is a habit that our culture reinforces - ex, through the media - Reform - victims of crime often become experts on the criminal justice system - oriented towards changing something - reform as a research motivation has its own dangers - reform policies sometimes outruns our tested knowledge - the belief that understanding means excusing often interferes when reform is the motivation - reform impulse ignores the fact that many kinds of deviance are not as harmful as they are made out to be - Self-Protection and Sophistication - makes us feel wiser and safer if we know everything that is happening - Understanding Oneself and Others - some enjoy having a deviant image - Intellectual Curiosity - history of people wanting to know the reason why for no reason - many kinds of deviance are presented to us only in distorted images - can be controlled by authority - may hide evidence of deviance or exaggerate Perspectives on Deviance - Students Views on Deviance - murder, rape, things that are silly, unusual etc. - Public Opinions - criminal violations are more serious than immoral or disgusting acts - differing religious and social backgrounds - Academic Views of Deviance - “outsiders” - addicts, strippers, mental illness, etc. - deviance treated as absolute - something real in itself rather than something constructed - Marxians - deviance is found whenever human actions are exploitative or threaten the dignity and quality of life of others Defining Deviance - Objective Characteristics - assignment of deviance labels by society is never purely objective - carries a negative moral evaluation - Basic Definition (no assumptions) - we want to study without making any unnecessary assumptions about them - useful definitions are noncircular - Statistical Rarity - Bell Curve or Normal Distribution: conception used to show how deviance is often equated with atypicality or deviation from a common centre - not al curves in society are normal curves - Normative Violation - Robert Merton says deviant behaviour “refers to conduct that departs significantly from the norms set for people in their social statuses” - there is a right and respectable way to behave in positions of status - normative standard - all deviance violates standards, not all violations of standards are treated as deviance - behaviour that violates rules is not deviant if the individual is not subject to these particular rules - second problem with normative violation: being deviant does not mean one escapes from all demands concerning the behaviour - third problem: most visible regulations are not always the most powerful codes of behaviour operative in a particular situation - written rules, religious precepts, and even laws of the land do not always represent the effective common values of society - Social Reaction - defined in terms of the social response it evokes - Negative Response - if particular behaviour typically elicits criticism or punishment, it is deviant in the eyes of those who respond this way - any person who is rejected is deviant - probabilistic: hold than an act or characteristic is deviant - Tolerant Response - not only may society define some deviancy as reasonable, it may also congratulate itself for its tolerance in doing so - how much one can get away with - behaviour that touches the highest value of a culture is more likely to be labelled deviant than in behaviour that is less central. - Denial - when we do not want others to be deviant we may attempt to normalize what we see - deny the reality until their alternative explanations are exhausted - Romanticization or Demonization - deviant may come an imagined moral monster or romantic hero Stigmatizing Labels - stigmatize: people identified by names or images that mark them and are less worthy - although labels of deviance are wide-ranging, all of them identify someone who is a likely subject of correction or avoidance - allows us to see that it is not simply a matter of actual behaviour - deviance is sometimes attributed to people who are not responsible for their behaviour or appearance and even to people who have not actually done anything but are accused anyway Common Ground - deviance involves violation of norms but not just any violation of norms - many go ignored - rules are invoked when someone with the influence feels they are needed, not every time someone breaks them - when there are acts of deviance there are - observers - observed behaviour, characteristic, appearance or belief that - violates normative standards that are regarded as - significant - people who want to impose sanctions on the offenders and who have enough power/ authority to succeed in doing so - deviance is used as a descriptive name or label used to exclude people who should not be allowed as regular members in a particular social setting or group context - moral exclusion - must have four things to define deviance - motivated observers - the observed - cultural standards - application AUniversal Definition - presumed behaviour that defies social expectations that are made and enforced by people with influence and have been applied to particular people or groups in particular situations - outcome of a particular social process Characteristics of Deviance Deviance as a universal phenomenon - every social grouping generates deviant designations Deviance as a relative phenomenon - depending on time and place - the fact that something was deviant was often accepted as an absolute attribute or condition - relative to standards Deviance as a situational phenomenon - emerge from our individual experiences and from our understanding of
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