Class Notes (839,092)
Canada (511,185)
Sociology (3,307)
Lecture

5 - Social Constructionist Theories

7 Pages
86 Views

Department
Sociology
Course Code
Sociology 2259
Professor
Pamela Glatt

This preview shows pages 1 and half of page 2. Sign up to view the full 7 pages of the document.
Description
Social Constructionist Theories of Deviance Interpretive Theories of Deviance • Deviance emerges from the societal response to a behaviour/characteristic • Deviance is socially constructed, doesn't exist independently of us as humans • Abortion is an example • Symbolic interactionists examine WHY the “deviant” label has been applied to certain behaviours/characteristics, and the consequences of such • Strain/social control theories: ◦ Deviance --> control ▪ Someone engaging in deviance and then society comes in to controls the behaviour • Interpretive theories: ◦ Control --> deviance ▪ Looks at society trying to control deviance before it happens • Focus is on societal response on deviance • Based on symbolic interaction theory—micro approach • Doesn't focus on the actual act, just the labelling • Definitions of self are learned through interactions with others and interpreting their messages (use of symbols) • Labels applied by others can come to define one's entire sense of self and can cause permanent harm The Social Construction of Deviance Via Labels • The meaning of deviance derives NOT from the act a person commits, but rather from society's LABELLING of an act as deviant • Labelling: ◦ Imposing a definition on a person, characteristic, behaviour ◦ The process through which they come to see themselves as indistinguishable from the label • Labels tell us what to expect and we believe that the label is true Mirror Image • Cooley - “Looking-Glass Self” : we look at ourselves based on how others perceive us • Our sense of self has 3 elements: ◦ We imagine how we appear to others ◦ We imagine how others evaluate and judge us ◦ We create our sense of self by responding to that imagined (perceived) judgement The “Thomas Theorem” • W.I. Thomas: “What we define as real, is real in its consequences” • What we define as deviance becomes real • Self-fulfilling prophecy • In order to understand an action, we must understand the actor's DEFINITION of the situation • Actors negotiate their definitions of the situation Flexivity • George Herbert Mead: We think reflexively—take into account what others are thinking and feeling • Our sense of self arises from social interaction—its a reflexive relationship • We don't get a sense of self doesn't come from just ourselves • The more closely connected we are to someone, the more their opinions (of us) affect us • Development of “self” ◦ “I” is active and initiates action—our own spontaneous self/though that just come from you ◦ “Me” is responsive and is the stemmed from the expectations and attitudes of society—a moral conscience • 3 stage process ◦ Imitation—when people learn to respond to gestures and imitate ◦ Play—we become more conscious of rules of society, know what is and is not deviant ◦ Game—we fully internalize the roles of other people and the rules of society ◦ *If you don't go through all three of these stages you are more likely to commit a deviant act because you won't know you're doing anything wrong • Final result = “Generalized other” ◦ Falls under the game stage ◦ When we can fully understand the attitudes of society ◦ Generalized other mean society Process of Defining Deviance • Role Taking: we place ourselves in the roles of others to determine what they think about us (behaviours, characteristics, etc.) • Looking-Glass Self: we imagine what other people think of us, which in turn influences our self-image • Significant Others' opinions are important to us, and influence our opinions of ourselves • Generalized Other: abstract notion of societal views—“what would people say if I did...” • **These contribute to out perceptions of what's “deviant” and “normal” Labelling Theory (Becker) • Also called “social reaction theory” • Deviance created through the idea of rules • Social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance • Deviance is not a quality of the act, but a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender • Those labelled as deviant are subsequently labelled and treated as “outsiders” • Deviants/outsiders aren't a homogeneous group • Labelling theory examines: ◦ The PROCESS through which they're defined as deviant ◦ Reactions to the label • Deviance = application of successful labelling ◦ When the individual who is labelled as deviant believes they are and that society then believes they are deviant • Social groups create deviance by making rules ◦ **Moral entrepreneurs (ex. Police) play a major role in labelling deviance • Responses to deviant labels will vary: ◦ Overtime ◦ Based on the “offender” vs. The “offended” • If no one is around to label something as deviant, there is no social reaction • Consequences of labelling: ◦ Affect how others treat you ◦ Limit opportunities for conforming behaviour ▪ May think it doesn't matter to engage in conforming behaviour if everyone thinks you are deviant ◦ May increase commitment to deviance ◦ Agents of social control may maintain and amplify criminal behaviours ▪ ex. get arrested for something may increase likelihood for engaging in that behaviour again • **Bottom line”: negative labelling stigmatizes Primary and Secondary Deviance (Lemert) • Primary Deviance: and “act” ◦ Impulsive, transitory behaviours ◦ Occasional acts of deviance ◦ Don't develop a deviant lifestyle ◦ Commonplace ◦ Mostly hidden, denied, and rationalized ◦ Those not caught go on to conventional lifestyles • Secondary Deviance: a “deviant” identity ◦ Develop a deviant status/lifestyle ◦ Planned, organized behaviours ◦ Affects lifestyle, life choices and associates ◦ Involves only a small number of people ◦ Only when you have been caught committing a deviant act and a label is applied ◦ **Process of action --> societal reaction --> self-identity (me)** • Results in DevianceAmplification Dramatization of Evil (Tannenbaum) • When an individual is caught engaging in deviance, tagging occurs ◦ Tagging: attaching a deviant label ◦ We tag someone a label and soon we generalize that label to the entire person ◦ The individual develops a negative self-image and starts to see themselves as deviant ◦ People basically make a huge drama about the deviant label a person did/does • Process: ◦ Tagged—society tags you as deviant ◦ Defined—now defined as a deviant ◦ Identified—people now identify the person as deviant ◦ Segregated—they are outside our society of normals ◦ Described—entire sense of self becomes described as deviant ◦ Emphasized—continually being emphasized as being deviant ◦ Made conscious—start to define yourself only as deviant and not normal in any respect • Dramatization of evil: Tag is first attached to the act, but eventually is generalized to the person as a whole ◦ label is attached to an act and it comes to define the person (ex. Saugeen stripper) Master Status (Goiffman and Becker) • Master status: an attribute (real or imagined) by which others identify you ◦ Controlling identifier through which people see you as and how they describe you ◦ Produces a self-fulfilling prophecy people see you in a certain way, you internalize it and then see yourself in that same way • Overshadows other attributes, traits, etc, in that they become subordinate statuses ◦ Cut off from other roles • Ex. thief, troublemaker, drug addict, loser, etc. • Results in a process of exclusion from the conventional world and acceptance into the “deviant: world • People will see you differently based on how they see you and interact with you • Effect of labelling: “once a...always a...” Dramaturgy and Stigmatization (Goffman) • Stigmatization: process of exclusion through which an individual labelled as deviant becomes an “outsider” • Stigma: a deviant label applied to an individual by society • Dramaturgical approach: life is a stage, where our performanc
More Less
Unlock Document

Only pages 1 and half of page 2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Unlock Document
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Unlock Document

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit