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3 - Theories of Deviance-Functionalism.odt

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Department
Sociology
Course
Sociology 2259
Professor
Prof
Semester
Fall

Description
Theories of Deviance • The sociology of deviance employs a RANGE of theories in explaining deviance: 1. General sociological theories 2. Specifically criminological theories 3. Interdisciplinary theories • Deviance theories can further broken down into 3 main categories: 1. Positivist—more in line with the objective view of deviance (something recognizable) 2. Interpretive—more subjective (look at individual) 3. Critical—examines “why” this exists and why we react to it in a certain way • *There can be overlap between categories—but are often looked at distinctly Positivism & Determinism • Scientific methods are used to study human/social behaviour • Are objective/recognizable traits attached to deviance • Positivism follows the idea of “social determinism” • By focusing on the biology you can pin point, control, and prevent it (these ideas dominant until about 1950`s) • According to positivist scholar, deviance has biological/evolutionary roots, and criminals are physically/psychologically different non-criminals ◦ ex. body types, skull shape and size, facial features, ect. • “Deviants” possess commonalities ◦ Understanding these traits will help us understand the causes of deviance • Gives precedence to biological explanations of deviance: ◦ Doesn't focus on “free will”--focuses on biological/inherited traits (“natural”) ◦ Biological fitness ◦ Born criminal (Lombroso, Sheldon) “Born Criminal/Deviant” • Lombroso (1835-1909): criminal/deviant individuals are primitive human beings (“modern savages”, “biological throwbacks”) ◦ Low intelligence, animal instinct ◦ Resemble “caveman” (large forehead, protruding ears, shifty eyes. Ect) • Sheldon (1898-1977) body types correspond to criminal/deviant tendencies ◦ (he talks more about crime that involves physical abilities) ◦ Endomorph: fat/round-->easy going ◦ Mesomorph: stocky/muscular-->criminal/deviant tendency ◦ Ectomorph: long/skinny-->sensitive • Alot of positivism and determinism theories looked at men for deviance and hardly/not at all on women • Another limitation is that they are looking at men that commit specific types of crime (only using a sample size) Determinism & the Church • “Demonism” ◦ People who committed crime were thought to be acting on the devil ◦ These idea put forth by the church ◦ The devil made me do it! ◦ Neither the individual/society has to take responsibility ◦ Creates objective rules for identifying criminals—ascribed traits (things they were born with) ◦ Church used a biological trait as being a demonic trait ◦ *Focus on ASCRIBED traits • Formal and informal social control of witches: ◦ Formal: codified rules for identifying and eliminating ◦ Informal: word of mouth Classical Theory • Define people who are criminal or deviant based on free will—free actors that choose to engage in deviance/crime • 5 elements of classical theory 1. People are hedonistic— ◦ Self indulgent/selfish—humans seek to maximize pleasure/minimize pain 2. Individuals have free will 3. Society is a social contract ◦ People have certain amounts of freedom and we decide the extent o which we want to give up our freedom for the better of society 4. Punishment is justified 5. The greatest good for the greater number 1. Society has certain rules/norms and people behave in certain behaviour so that the society will benefit the most amount of people • *Emphasis on the RATIONALITY of the behaviour—“RationalActor” Functionalism • Started looking at deviance starting from society—looks at from a macro level instead of micro • Beginning of sociological explanations of deviance • Looks at how individuals behave in a society or as a society as a whole • How does society create situations in which deviance occurs • It exists because it serves a purpose in society • Looks at how external factors influence behaviours in society—every part of society is interdependent on each other • Role of society: consensus, equilibrium, status quo (homeostasis) • Role of individual: perfectly socialized unit ◦ We should be properly socialized ◦ Institutions should socialize us properly—if/when this fails the improperly socialized person is deviant • Deviance: incomplete/problematic socialization • Solution: re-socialization, treated, and rehabilitated • *Focus on changing the individual, NOT the society Durkheim • Crime is a normal part of collective life ◦ Crime and deviance is normal when there is a social conscience ◦ Demonstrates what the norms are in society ◦ Even if we don't say what is deviant we still have an idea of it because it is normal to know what is and is not acceptable • **Gons applied eufunctions and dysfunctions • Durkheim's work addressed deviance mainly in 2 ways: 1. Eufuntions: Acertain level of deviance is functional for the maintaining the social order/status quo. Depends on certain levels of deviance—are certain levels of deviance that is good for society. 2. Dysfunctions: However, at some point deviance may become dysfunctional for society, therefore disrupting the status quo. This is when a type of deviance affect a large amount of people (ex. 9/11 is a dysfunction compared to a smaller terrorist attack). Eufunctions • Positive functions of deviance in society that help maintain equilibrium (Gons came up with these): 1. Increases social solidarity—people coming together (ex. Neighbourhood watch) and gives rise to the collective conscience 2. Rule/boundary clarification—we need to know what is deviant to understand what is not deviant. Deterrence (can be individuals and/or as a society—clarifies what the rules are—ex. laws) 3. Testing of rules/boundaries—when deviance occurs we can test out how strong those boundaries are (ex. Homosexuals used to be deviant and people fought against that and changed it) 4. Reduces social tensions: ◦ Scapegoat—it can be something for society to focus on to deflect from something else happening in society ◦ Tension release—can be used to let off steam (ex. Getting drunk in the middle of the day—like St. Patrick's day or Halloween) What do you think? • Why does prostitution flourish so universally? ◦ Functions to keep society together ◦ Serves as an outlet for people to get a sexual release without hurting someone (rape for sex) • What are some behaviours defined as “deviant” that flourish in our society despite their label as “deviant”? ◦ Violent video games, gambling, riots, gang membership, porn, ect. • In groups of 4-5 come up with some examples and apply Durkheim's 4 “Euphunctions” Dysfunctions • Negative functions of deviance in society that disrupts equilibrium (Gons)--these are not the only ones that exist: 1. Reduces internalization of norms—ex. So many people are doing drugs—politicians say that drugs are negatively effective too many people 2. Difficulty in determining effective solutions—when there are so many people engaging in a certain behaviour it will be difficult to prevent these people from engaging in the behaviour (ex. Underage drinking—can't really prevent it as a whole) 3. Creating potential for abuse of power—ex. Police responders can abuse their powers or some soldiers in the Middle East do deviant behaviour due to 9/11 4. Regulation of one problem creates a new problem—ex. police abusing their powers against citizens may cause the citizens to riot against the police 5. Incarceration/treatment increases recidivism—how deviance is treated in our society can actually increase people repeating deviance or crime. 6. Marginalization—deviance in society can marginalize certain people (someone or something marked as deviant—ex. Going to jail and now everyone in society labels you as a criminal even when you have done your time) Anomie Theory • Anomie: “normlessness” (aka “structural strain”) • Astate or condition that occurs when people experience uncertainty or anxiety in society which
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