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SOC212 - November 15th.docx

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th Crime and Deviance – November 15 , 2011 Interactionism Interested in social worlds that make up society Meanings that shape actor’s social reality, not meanings imposed by sociologists SI takes us as far as possible into the actors own perspective Perspectives of Symbolic Interactionism 1. Social Meaning • Behavior affected by meanings given to it 2. Interaction • Meanings arise from social interaction 3. Creation • People actively create meaning and interpret symbols (passive receiver and active creator) Defining Self Charles Horton Cooley • Looking-glass self • What audience reflects shapes a person’s sense of self George Herbert Mead • I, me, generalized other Defining Society Communication through symbols shapes out definition of society and social situations E.g. belief that job opportunities are plentiful will lead one to work hard towards promotion, even if they are not plentiful Defining Situations We define situations in certain ways Once defined, its meaning influences our actions E.g. marijuana defined as morally reprehensible - users are therefore bad people Social Background • Social movement towards equality, civil rights • Racial equality, classless education, university education • Why are certain people still more frequently stigmatized? Intellectual Background • Derived from WI Thomas and the Chicago School • “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences” • SI is heir to the Chicago School • Prevalent in the 1960’s, after the dominance of functionalism Summary of the main points 1. Society is characterized by multiple values with differing degrees of overlap 2. The quality of any individual behaviour is determined only by the application of values. The identification of a behaviour as deviant occurs through a reaction to that behaviour 3. Deviance is a quality of the reaction and is not intrinsic to the behaviour itself. If there is no reaction, there is no deviance 4. Once behaviour is perceived by a social audience and labelled deviant, the individual who engaged in that behaviour is also labelled deviant 5. The process of reacting and labelling is more likely when those labelled are less powerful that their audience is. Thus, deviance is more commonly ascribed to the less powerful in society 6. Reactors tend to observe more closely those whom they have identified as deviants and therefore find even more deviance in those persons. Subsequent acts are reacted to more quickly and the label more firmly affixed 7. The audience views an individual, once labelled, as being what the label say he is. A person labelled as a criminal is perceived to be, first and foremost, a criminal; other attributes that not covered by the label may be ignored 8. In addition to ‘becoming’ a deviant for the audience, an individual may begin to accept the label as a self-identity. Acceptance of the label depend on the strength of the individual’s original self- concept and the force of the labelling process 9. A change in self-concept results in an internalization of the deviant character 10. Further devian
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