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Criminology (771)
CRIM 2650 (97)
Anita Lam (58)

Outsiders Notes.docx

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York University
CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

According to Howard Becker, those who break an enforced rule and cannot be trusted to live by the rules agreed on by a group are regarded as “outsiders”. These rule breakers may find that those who judge them are the actual outsides. In order to further comprehend Becker’s depiction of an outsider one must understand that deviance according to Becker is a publicly labelled wrongdoing, and before anyone can be viewed as a deviant, and before any group of people can be labelled and treated as outsiders for committing the act someone must have made the rule which defines the act as deviant (156) There are many views of deviance including the common-sense assumption that those who commit deviant acts have a characteristic that make their actions inevitable or necessary (139); the statistical view which defines deviance as anything that differs greatly from the average (140); and the pathological view of deviance which assumes that deviance is to society what a disease is to the human body (140). Yet, according to Becker deviance is a failure to obey group rules. However a society has many groups, with different rules, and with people part of various different groups concurrently. (142) Thus Becker claims, instead of viewing acts of deviance as a product of a person’s social factors, deviance should be seen as the products of social groups who make the rules who infractions constitute deviance. So deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application of other people’s rules and sanctions, to who one is labelled “an offender” Deviance is a product of a process which involves the responses of other people to their behaviour. Ultimately, the classification of whether an act is deviant or not depends on the nature of the act, whether it violates some rule, and to some extent what other people do about it. While one aspect of deviance is the violation of a rule, a rule is the creation of a specific social group, and while it is argued that most rules are generally agreed to by all members of society, empirical evidence reveals a variation in people’s attitudes towards such rules. People are in fact forcing their rules on others without their consent, which is why a person may feel that they are being judged according to rules they played no role in making and generally do not ac
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