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SOCI 1010
Jan Hill

DEVIANCE AND CRIME – feb 7/2013 What is Deviance? - when we break rules, the violations are dealt with through various mechanisms of social control: systematic practices developed by social groups to encourage conformity and to discourage deviance, such as internalization of societal norms and values or the use of negative sanctions to ‘punish’ rule breakers - all societies have some degree of deviance: any behaviour, belief, or condition that violates significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs - deviance is relative – an act is deviant when it is socially defined as such - deviance varies in seriousness and may be difficult to define, but some forms may be officially defined as crimes: behaviours that violate criminal law and are punishable with fines, jail terms, and other sanctions Functionalist Perspective on Deviance In a functioning society, deviance will be limited because most people share common cultural goals agree on the appropriate means for reaching them. Societies that do not provide sufficient avenues to reach these goals may also lack agreement about the appropriate means by which people can achieve their aspirations, therefore deviance may be common strain theory: people feel strain when they are exposed to cultural goals that they are unable to reach because they do not have access to culturally approved means of achieving those goals - when people are denied legitimate access to a goal, some may seek access through deviant means - for deviance to occur, people must have access to illegitimate opportunity structures: circumstances that provide an opportunity for people to acquire through illegitimate activities what they cannot get through legitimate channels (theft, drug dealing, robbery) - three different forms of delinquent subcultures emerge based on the type of illegitimate opportunities available in a specific area criminal, conflict and retreatist - social bond theory holds that the probability of deviant behaviour increase when a person’s ties to society are weakened or broken, and consists of (1) attachment to other people, (2) commitment to conventional lines of behaviour, (3) involvement in conventional activities, and (4) belief in the legitimacy of conventional values and norms Symbolic Interactionist Perspective on Deviance - deviance is learned the same way as conformity, through interaction with others differential association theory: individuals have a greater tendency to deviate from society norms when they frequently associate with people who favour deviance over conformity - people learn the necessary techniques, motives, drives, rationalizations and attitudes of deviant behaviour from people with whom they associate labeling theory: suggests that deviants are those people who have been successfully abelled as such by others primary deviance: the initial act of breaking a rule, and secondary deviance: when a person who has been labeled a deviant accepts that new identity and continues the deviant behaviour - labels ha
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