Sociology 2445A Sociology of Deviance 2013
Social responses to deviant behavior ie. Smoking in an office was not deviant but now it is.
When the acceptance of a behavior changes, so does the label.
Knowledge is an important power to know your rights.
Deviance label can identify a personal characteristic, action, or area. These behaviors cannot be
deviant until someone labels it as so.
Howard‟s categories of deviants:
1. Conformist- complies with the rules
2. Fausley accused- wrongfully accused/convicted
3. Secret- private person ie/ multiple families/wives
4. Pure- Proud, I am who I am.
Enforcement of rules and labels- purpose- police are only collectors of facts. Attorney os the
presenter of facts. Judge is the trier of facts. Court determines guilt. Police are given the power to
enforce rules or not enforce rules.
Enforcer of rules, is constrained when they are required to investigate their employers.
JAMIE NELSON- wrongfully convicted after women accused him of battery and rape. It was his
word against hers, and the judge took her side. In the end he was acquitted because she made
similar accusations against many other men. She was a pathological liar. He assaulted him with
her accusations. The deviance label applied to him labeled him as a sex offender, which has
terrifying consequences in prison, where he was mostly kept in solitary.
Place of killing: Women kill in the kitchen, but now it is moving to the living room. They mostly
use poison or knives. Men generally kill women in the bedroom.
Family Violence: dysfunctional families have less resources for help.
ROB FORD- political deviance- public and private- two sided argument (1) he‟s helped the city
(2) he lied about doing drugs. He also has a firm position against drugs. Displays that the legal
system is unequal, being in a powerful position puts you outside of the law that everyone else
must abide by. Anyone else would have been fired much sooner than he was. Also, obviously
has a drinking problem that is less of a concern because it is legal. FAMILY violence- drunk in
public, known as party brothers, wife accused Rob of violence, sister is a heroin user, brothers
associated with drugs and kidnapping, Rob caught smoking crack. Family of deviants
Ideology- is a way of looking at things- a belief system- the way you view the work order- how
thing work or don‟t work, imposing your beliefs of others.
Types of families- Dysfunctional families, intact families (lowest crime rates), disruptive
families (death or divorce), conflict families (children have greater chance of deviance later in
Anti-Social behavioral disorder- ASBO- England charge for being an asshole.
Deviance vs. Crime
1. Crime always violates a la, deviance does not
2. Crime is a violation of a format norm deviance is a violation of a formal norm, deviance
is a violation of an informal norm that derives from a popular belief.
3. Crime is only behavioral in nature, deviance includes behavior, beliefs and attitudes
4. Not all deviances are crimes, all crimes are deviances.
Positivist Perspective Deviance is absolutely real, deviance is an observable object, and deviance is determined by
forces beyond the individual‟s control.
Positivist perspective is best used for more serious types of deviance like murder and rape.
Where there is a higher consensus that the act is deviant.
Absolutism- looks at deviant behavior and deviant persons. It is a label imposed on an act, it is
absolutely real in that it inheres in the individual as traits.
Objectivism- deviant behavior can be studied objectively, it viewed deviants as an object, and
looks to find the cause of the behavior.
Determinism- Forces beyond deviant‟s control, deviants are determined by some causes. Looks
for real explanations of deviance such as abuse or being from a low-class.
Criticisms of positivist- They only look at the surface facts, and it is used to control and
Merton: Goal>Means Gap>Deviance
Society encourages individuals to engage in deviance by emphasizing cultural value of success
by (1) legitimate means to achieve success or (2) illegitimate means of achieving aspirations.
There are 5 responses to emphasis on success:
1. Conformity- this is most common, accepting legitimate means of working
2. Innovation- most common in lower-class, illegal means for success
3. Ritualism- found in the lower-middle class, ritualistically abide by institutional norms
4. Retreatism- does not care about success or working
5. Rebellion- rejects social expectations, often attempts to overthrow existing system
Chohen: Goal>Means gap>Status Frustration>Deviance
Industrialized US society encourages all classes of people to achieve status while at the same
time makes it difficult for lower-class people to really achieve it. (Replaces success with status)
Cloward & Ohlin: Goal>Means Gap>Differential Illegitimate Opportunity>Different deviant
When some lower-class persons are pressured towards committing a deviant act, there is no
guarantee that they will do it. It depends on access to illegitimate opportunity. These
opportunities are found in deviant subcultures
1. Criminal Subculture- Offeres illegitimate opportunities for achieving success goals
2. Conflict subculture- provides opportunity to achieve status within a violent delinquent
3. Retreatist subculture- Drugs, often seen as Double failures.
Recent Developments and Evaluation
The anything goes mentality- where people are only concerned with self-interest and have no
New Strain- (1) removal of positively valued stimuli by death (2) presentation of negative stimuli
by ie. child abuse.
Does not provide evidence to support difference in lower class, and other. As well no evidence
that lower class have same aspirations.
Social Learning Theory
Deviant behavior is learned through one‟s interactions with others
Sutherland: Differential Association> Criminal Behavior If an individual associates with people who hold deviant (or criminal) ideas, more than, with
people who embrace conventional ideas, the individual is likely to become deviant. Differential
association is when association with deviant individuals and ideas, differs from their association
with conventional ones.
Glaser: Differential association> Differential Identification> Criminal behavior
The experience of associating with deviants is harmless unless the individual IDENTIFIES with
Burgess & Akers: Differential Association> Differential Reinforcement> Criminal Behavior
Differential reinforcement as the substance of the learning process as rewards and punishment.
What‟s most satisfying and access to deviant ideas.
Evaluation of social learning theory- People are unable to clearly know who taught them their
positive and negative ideas.
People must be controlled
Hirschi, Grothfredson, Tittle: Social Bond, Self Control, and Control Balance
1. Attachment to conventional people/institutions
2. Commitment to conformity
3. Involvement in conventional activities
4. Belief in the moral validity of social rules
Strong bond= conformity, Weak bond= deviance
Braith: Reintegrative Shaming
Shaming involves an expression of social disapproval designed to invoke remorse in the
wrongdoer. (1) Disintegrative shaming- punishment by stigmatization (2) Reintegrative shaming-
make them feel guilty while still being understood.
The Deterrence Doctrine
People are rational, calculating benefit vs cost. Cost is valued more when punishment is sever,
certain and swift. st
Evaluating control theory- better for 1 time offenders of minor crimes. Control theorists fail to
see control as a possible cause of deviance.
Better used for less serious deviances where people are less likely to be harmed and have a lower
consensus as to whether the act is deviant or not. Deviant behavior is not real in itself, it is a
label. Deviant behavior is a subjective experience and therefore should be studied with
subjectivity and empathy. Deviant behavior is voluntary, a self-willed act rather than one caused
by forces in the internal and external environments.
Relativism- deviance is a label- it appears deviant only because some people think it so. No
label= no behavior. Deviance is a mental construct- defined by norms.
Subjectivism- Personal experience- view from the inside using empathy and personal views.
Voluntarism- Expression of human volition, will, choice to determine their own behavior.
Constructionist‟s focus on how social control agencies define some people as deviants and carry
out sanctions against them.
Labeling Theory-About social behavior in general. A version of symbolic Interactionism.
Interaction between more than one person and responses to an act. Negative response=deviant,
positive response= non-deviant. Labeling theorists look at (1) who applied the devient label and
to whom (2) What consequences does the label have Consequences for labeling- The labeled, are they are more likely to see themselves as devient
Primary deviation- the child sees an act as innocent, the adult defines as delinquent
Secondary deviation- both the child and adult can define as delinquent
Ethnography- An application of Phenomenology- looks at how their subjects feel and think
about their deviance themselves and by others. It seeks to understand meanings, often fining the
deviants to feel moral superiority of self, and apparent ordinariness from other.
Conflict Theory- Social Conflict through interests, needs, and desires. Cultural conflict through
norms and values, right vs. wrong.
Legal Reality Theory- law on the books is the ideal by being equal. Law in action is the reality
because it is unequal. It is the rick and powerful vs. the poor and weak.
Social Reality Theory- Four factors produce high crime rates and establish dominant class
1. The dominant class defines criminal behaviours that threaten the interests of the powerful
2. The dominant class applied laws to ensure to protect their interests
3. The submissive class are compelled by bad life conditions to engage those actions that
have been defines as criminal
4. The dominant class uses criminal acts to construct the ideology of crime
Marxist Theory- many people turn to violence to vent their frustrations and strick out against
symbols of authority, others turn their frustration inward and experience severe emotional
Feminist theory- Theories are about men only, women are less interested in material success,
and have less opportunities, they are not as likely to become deviant, and their crimes reflect
Power Theory- The rich and powerful live better than the poor. Powerful people are able to
commit more profitable deviant acts whereas, the powerless commit less profitable acts.
Power as a ca