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Human Rights and Equity Studies
HREQ 2020
Claudio Colaguori

DEVIANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL CONTROL LECTURE 1: SEPTEMBER 15TH, 2011 STUDYINGAND DEFINING DEVIANCE ➔ What is deviance? This is difficult because it can refer to many different things. There is no complete definition of deviance.Acriminal act is usually a form of deviance but not all acts that are deviant are criminal. The laws and criminal code allow us to spot crimes much easier compared to deviant acts. ➔ Some people are interested in deviance because they live in fear and want to protect themselves even though we are aware that the crime in society is declining. Others have a curiosity about deviant behaviour. People are fascinated by the “horrible” like murderers because of the media. Vampires in the media is a fantasization of death and is tied to the Goth culture where death is something that is taken seriously. Some study deviance because they witness it around them and their co workers. It captures people's attention. Example: going against gays and then being exposed as someone who is gay is saying one thing and doing another. ➔ Deviance is tied to power, social movements, and mass mentality. Example: student who behaved like a guest in their own home or students who convinced their teacher that they were going to commit a crime. Though we know certain messages are deviant we may still follow that leader. ➔ IMPORTANT: “Outsiders”-bikers, prostitutes, drug addicts, mentally ill people etc. Others argue that it is not just one class that exhibits deviant behaviour. There is an inherit class bias among the topic of deviance. ➔ IMPORTANT: the way in which deviance is understood by scholarship affects the way in which we choose to control and manage it. Theories of deviance have policy implications. Example: if we think that deviant behaviour is based on something biological this can cause for eugenics programs (sterilizing and eliminating certain sectors of the population). ➔ NO SUCH THINGAS PURE OBJECTIVITY. NO OBJECTIVE TRUTH THAT IS UNIVERSALLYACCEPTED. ➔ Achievement of value neutrality. We use these value to describe life. “Slums”, “whores”, “pervert”. DO NOT SAY PROSTITUTE SAY SEX TRADE WORKER. There are some features that may or may not apply. Sometimes if something is deviant it is statistically rare. Example: drinking to the point of being completely drunk. Harmfulness-if a behaviour is harmful to you or others it is more likely to be seen as deviant. Example: terrorists. One person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. Sometimes its called ontological harm-the sense of reality that surrounds us. Example: the Earth is not the center of the universe. This disrupts the way people think. It is the destruction of knowledge. Deviance does not just refer to people. Deviant plant-marijuana. Sometimes people of difference are themselves placed into the category of being deviant. Example: political figures promising jobs to new Canadians but referring to them as immigrants. ➔ Behaviours that are deviant are not as harmful as the cost of controlling them. Example: war on drugs use vast amounts of money, destroy plants and farmland, ruin people's lives. Trying to stop this deviance is more harmful than the deviance alone. Example: parents controlling their children causing for a home that is not at peace to develop. ➔ IMPORTANT: Protection is the archetype of domination. ➔ Social norms and standards; the common sense in the community. Sometimes people break the norms. This is therefore seen as a threat to some. Th dominate controlling the majority of the population is seen as deviant. Deviance is positive because it pushes the possibilities and allows us to grow. ➔ IMPORTANT: what gives others the right to impose their particular morality (someone's cultural or religious taste). Example: same sex marriage is protested in the streets. Homosexuality cannot be controlled. To control someone's sexuality is only to become repressive thus why protection is the archetype of domination. ➔ When you try to tell someone they are wrong does great destruction. Rejection from parents whose child is gay is the leading cause of suicide. ➔ Social reaction: how society responds to certain behaviours deemed to be deviant. Negative, denial, romanticized etc. Social status plays an important role. High status: more tolerant because we want to trust them. ➔ Problem with the term leadership: contradicts ideology of democracy. Being led by someone who is at the top of the pyramid. ➔ Consequences in terms of labeling Example: we make assumptions of people when labeling-- >stigmatization or deviant designation. We are using power to construct them in a way that may be unfair. The system of law does this most effectively.A criminal record would be the most problematic deviant designation. 9/11 caused for people whom are from the Middle East to have troubles traveling. Why do they have the right to interrogate you at the boarder? Suspicion is key in this case. ➔ OBSERVERS who see behaviour that violates these standards and people who impose these standards. Cannot have deviant designation without power. No universal definition but it is a universal phenomenon. ➔ Why are people frightened by certain kinds of deviance? People are afraid of change and things they do not understand. Culture- a system of values and beliefs we rely on to survive. Others see deviance as the key to salvation and survival; cultures that died out because they did not adapt. People are resistant. It is a relative phenomenon. What was deviant in the past may not be deviant today. Example: black leather jacket signified a biker gang and now tattoos and such are seen as body art. Example: public attitudes towards smoking marijuana have chan
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