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social norms

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Western University
Sociology 3321F/G

Deviance refers to behavior or characteristics that violate significant social norms and expectations and are negatively valued by large numbers of people as a result. Deviants are those who violate these shared expectations. • Conformity refers to behavior that is universally accepted, approved, or expected within society. Norms, which guide action and behavior, help to ensure conformity. Social Controls • Social controls are mechanisms for maintaining social norms. They may be either: 1) Informal (internal) social controls – include significant others and relies on successful socialization. These are generally effective and inexpensive. 2) Formal (external) social controls – include structures or institutions that enforce norms or laws of society (e.g., police and courts). These are generally ineffective and expensive. Formal social controls can be either: a) repressive – tend to have extraordinary powers to detect and enforce a wide range of behaviors or conduct (common in authoritarian societies) b) restrained – permits social control agent less power and authority in regulating behavior (common in democratic societies) Crime Classifications • Crimes refer to violations of norms that are formally enacted into criminal law by local, state, and federal governments. • Criminal justice system refers to the formal system that responds to alleged violations of the law using police, courts, and punishment. • The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) is the major source of information on crimes reported in the United States. The UCR focuses on eight major crimes, called index crimes: 1) Mur
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