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Lecture 1

Sociology Review Chapters 5-9.docx

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Greg Bird

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Sociology Review Chapters 5-9
Chapter 5 Deviance & Crime
Commonsense definition – personal attribute
- Born a certain way
- Ex. Born as a delinquent
- If people are born a certain way then there is no point in trying to help them
- This ignores different social variations
Sociological Definition – not a personality type but a product of social circumstances
- How people start to view themselves as deviant
- How different societies view deviance differently
- Two things to focus on
oPattern of violating norms
oSocial stigma – engage in certain types of behaviours that are viewed as
In both cases a person acts against social norms
- Offence that breaks the law, has legitimate punishments and requires authorized
oA form of deviance that goes against the law
- Street crime – crimes including arson, break and enter, assault, disproportionately
committed by people from lower classes
- White Collar crimes – illegal acts committed by respectable, high status people in the
course of work
Examples of deviance:
- Talking back to teachers
- Homosexuality
- Not wearing black to a funeral
- Face tattoo’s
Social trust is a fundamental part of social
- Stronger economy = high social trust

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- In countries with high level of trust it is less likely to have problems with crime
- If people think there is a high crime rate they are less likely to trust each other
Sanctions: Positive or negative means to ensure conformity to socially approved standards
(often in terms of behaviours) – formal and informal
Informal Punishment – “A mild sanction that is imposed during face to face interaction, rather
than by the juridical system”’
Formal Punishment – “Penalized by the juridical system for breaking a law”
Howard S. Becker
- Symbolic Interactionist
Labeling Theory – deviance is not a personal quality, but the consequence of labeling someone
as deviant (ex. Social product)
- Different personality types that are more likely to commit crimes
- Sociologist said this was way to deterministic
- Police are known to commit racial profiling and target them
- A persons biology is not their destiny
- Look at deviancy as a social process
- Stigmatized: means someone is treated as deviant so they feel they are a deviant
person and continue to live with it and embrace it
““…social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction creates deviance, and by
applying those roles to particular people and labeling them as outsiders. From this point of view,
deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the
application by other of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender.’ The deviant is one to whom that

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label has been successfully applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label” (Becker,
- Deviance is created by social groups and by norms and values
- Simple rule breaking
- People who are outsiders are more likely to be deviant
Primary Deviance: The first step, which could be an intentional or unintentional. Deviant is niot
labeled as deviant and she does not think of herself as a deviant
- Because you do something deviant does not make you a deviant person
- When you get caught you are labelled as a deviant
Secondary Deviance: the second step where the label deviance is accepted. The person is
labeled as a deviant and they personally identify with this label
Robert Merton
- American functionalist
- Anomie
oWeak social values governing behaviour
oSocial culture teach people to place more stress on material objects
oThis pressures people to commit crimes to achieve what they want
- Strain theory
oThe incongruity between culturally valued material ends and the available means
to achieve tem creates incentives for engaging in deviant behavior
Robert K. Morton’s Deviance Typology
- Conformity – a person who accepts the cultural goal (getting rich) and the means to
achieve it (go to school, etc.) limit your expectations
oVast majority of people should fit into conformity if not there will be anomie
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