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deviance review.docx

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McMaster University
Dorothy Pawluch

SOCIOLOGY 2C06 TERM 1 REVIEW DEFINING DEVIANCE Objectivist View: - The presence of certain characteristics defines deviance; behaviours or people with those characteristics are deviant, and those lacking these characteristics are normal. By looking at these characteristics, we can all identify deviance. - Some of these “deviant” traits: o Statistical Rarity: if a behaviour or characteristic is not typical, it is deviant  Criticism: How do we define “rare”? Less than 50%? Less than 30%? Some behaviours are not statistically rare, but are still perceived as being deviant (eg: 66% of 12-15 year olds have consumed alcohol). There are many rare behaviours/characteristics that are not considered deviant (eg: left handed people). o Harm: if an action causes harm (physical/emotional), it is deviant. Physical/Emotional harm done to others or oneself (eg: assault, smoking, emotional abuse, repeatedly dating partners with addictions). Social harm: interfere with the smooth running of society as a whole. Harm can also occur in the form of a threat to the way we understand the world and our place in it (eg: Joan of Arc: claimed she did not need the fathers of the church as a pipeline of communication to God- violated dominant religious belief-system of the time)  Criticism: Claims of physical harm can be disputed (eg: Tobacco industry claimed that smoking does not cause harm). Some harms were greatly exaggerated in the past (in the past, doctors claimed that masturbation caused physical harm, exaggerated claims about marijuana in the past). Whether or not a society or belief system is being harmed can be subjective (eg: feminists: not harming, just changing society). o Societal Reaction: if responses of society’s “masses” are primarily negative (dislike, anger, hatred) rather than positive (admiration, envy, tolerance), then the person or act being responded to is deviant. Seeing this reaction enables us to determine who/what is deviant.  Criticism: Whose reaction counts? How many individual negative reactions must exist before we say that society is reacting negatively? (eg: Same-sex marriage laws are based on society reaction, but marijuana legalization laws are not) Societal reactions are not uniform. o Normative Violation: deviance is focused around the violation of norms. “Absolutist” view: a particular characteristic or behaviour was perceived as being inherently and universally deviant. Nowadays, norms are seen as culturally specific. Folkways: informal norms- if you 1 violate these, you might be thought of as odd (eg: choice of clothing, etiquette). Morés: foundation of morality in a culture- if you violate these, you may be thought of as immoral or evil (eg: incest, homosexuality). Laws: these norms are central to the smooth running of society and are enshrined with the legal system (eg: Canada’s criminal code- crimes).  Criticism: Multiplicity of individuals, groups, and sets of expectations in a society make it difficult to determine normative consensus. Those norms embodied in law do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the majority of citizens (eg: marijuana legalization). The consensual view of law: the law is perceived as arising out of social consensus and is them equally applied to all. Conflict view: the law is a tool used by the ruling class to serve its own interests, the law is more likely to be applied to members of the powerless classes of society. Interactionist view: society’s powerful define the law at the behest of interest groups, who appeal to those with power in order to rectify a perceived social ill. Normative objectivity: many situational factors modify norms (eg:murder is deviant, but self-defense murder or murder in war is not). Thio: high-consensus deviance, low-consensus deviance. Subjectivist view: - We cannot recognize deviance when we see it; someone has to tell us that a person, behaviour, or characteristic is deviant. There is no singular trait or characteristic that is shared by all deviant people throughout history and across cultures, other than the fact that people with some influence on society have said they are deviant. - Early subjectivism focused on the process of labeling: deviance is anything that is labeled as such. Becker: deviance lies in the reaction rather than the act (if there is no negative reaction, there is no deviance). Reaction is arbitrary: any act can be reacted to negatively. Criticism: people are reacting to a specific act for a reason. - Dominant moral codes: serve as the foundation for determining who/what is deviant- lists of right/wrong, appropriate/inappropriate, moral/immoral that are dominant in a society at a given time in history and are enforced in multiple ways (eg: criminal justice system, educational system, media). People who hold power shape these codes. - Social Constructionism: social characteristics (eg: thin, delinquent) are creations or artifacts of a particular society at a specific time in history, just as objects (eg: houses, cars) are artifacts of that society. A person, behaviour, or characteristic that is considered “deviant” in one society may be considered “normal” in another time in history. - Radical or strict constructionism: the world is characterized by endless relativism (there is no essential reality to the social world, if everything is looked at one way, that is the way it is). Soft or contextual constructionism: emphasize the processes by which certain social phenomena come to be 2 perceived and reacted to in particular ways in a given society at a specific time in history (social construction is addressed in terms of process rather than theory). - Viewing social construction as a process implies that what is of sociological significance is not the individual behaviour or characteristic itself, but rather: its place in the social order, the roles assigned to the people who exhibit that behaviour or characteristic, and the meanings attached to that behaviour or characteristic. For example: homosexuality has existed across history and culture, but what varies is the way that homosexuality is perceived and reacted to in certain societies. Thus, while homosexuality is a part of nature and “biological” it is also “socially constructed.” - Levels of social construction: 1) Sociocultural: beliefs, norms, values, ideologies 2) Institutional: government, education, religion, science 3) Interactional: relationships 4) Individual: thoughts, feelings, identities, concepts of self Definitions of deviance fall along a continuum of objectivism and subjectivism, with most definitions integrating both objective and subjective elements. OBJECTIVE (absolute moral order)--------------SUBJECTIVE (radical constructionism) THEORIES OF DEVIANCE Biological - Theory of atavism: (Lombroso) criminals are atavists: throw-backs to an earlier evolutionary human form- these deviant individuals have discernable physiological characteristics that can be used to identify them as deviant - Somatype theory: (Sheldon) delinquents tend to have a muscular and athletic build (endomorph)- he linked these type of individuals to deviant behaviour and violence - Hereditary theories: (Mednick) some genetic factors are passed down- criminology is not directly inherited, but they inherit an automatic nervous system that is slower to be aroused or react to stimuli- slow to learn how to control aggressive behaviour- greater risk of deviance - Twin studies: (Christiansen)- mostly MZ twins- evidence that deviant behaviour is inherited - Adoption studies: (Mednick) if neither the biological nor adoptive parents had criminal records, 13.5% of adopted sons were convicted of crimes- if the adoptive parents had a criminal record but biological did not, 14.7% were convicted, if biological parents alone had criminal records, 20% of sons were convicted, if both sets of parents have criminal records, 24.5% of sons were convicted 3 Psychological - Psychoanalytic theory: (Freud) all humans have natural drives and urged that are repressed in the unconscious- all humans have criminal tendencies- these tendencies are curbed through the process of socialization- a child that is improperly socialized could develop a personality disturbance where they direct antisocial impulses inward or outward- inward: they become neurotic, outward: they become a criminal - Cognitive theories: (Kohlberg) 3 levels of moral reasoning: preconventional stage reached at middle childhood moral reasoning is based on obedience and avoiding punishment, conventional stage reached at the end of middle childhood reasoning is based on the expectations that family/friends have for them, postconventional stage reached at early adulthood people are able to go beyond social conventions - Frustration/aggression theory: (Dollard) frustration causes aggression- when the source of frustration cannot be challenged, the aggression gets displaced onto an innocent person (eg: a man is disrespected by his boss at work, so he goes home and beats his wife) FUNCTIONALIST THEORIES Functions of Deviance Durkheim’s Four Functions of Deviance: 1) Group Solidarity: when community standards are seriously violated, the ensuing outrage and contempt felt by citizens brings them together in an expression of common indignation- crime functions to integrate members of a social system who unite with a common sentiment against a common enemy (eg: September 11, 2001). 2) Boundary Setting: societal reactions to what “crosses the line” clarify how far one can go in a particular direction- cases in which complaints are formally examined and punitive actions taken do much to clarify the bounds of acceptable behaviour (eg: U of T case against professor who stared at student underwater while she swam) 3) Raising Value of Conformity: conformity must be rewarded- inflicting punishment on those who break society’s rules allows for those who obey them to compare themselves with the deviants and feel virtuous 4) Innovation: crime is a precondition of society’s capacity for flexibility and change, and it can sometimes promote progress- stimulates social progress (groups defy the law to promote an end to war and nuclear weapons testing etc) 4 Anomie (Strain Theory) Durkheim on Suicide: Altruistic: result of high integration in society (opposite to egoistic) (eg: Military- expected to die for one’s country, mother pushes her child away from car and dies) Egoistic: result of high “individuation” or isolation from the social group as a whole- a lack of social integration will lead an individual to take their own life as a last resort from depression and isolation (eg: more likely for single males- males more likely to seek out an individual life away from a community) Fatalistic: result of excessive social restraint- generally occurs in highly conservative countries or traditionalistic societies (eg: a man might kill himself before the police take him to jail- jail might be considered oppressive and would stop the man from fulfilling his dreams) Anomic: a breakdown in social regulation increases dissatisfaction, which produces stress and leads to suicide- a person’s desire for wealth, power and prestige are unlimited if not checked by external social constraints, these goals become unattainable- results in disappointment, unhappiness, stress, and leads to suicide Merton’s Goals/Means Gap North American culture implies that success is available to anyone who has the necessary intelligence and drive, regardless of social characteristics such as class, ethnicity and gender. In reality, inequality produces differential opportunity. The combined overemphasis on ends and underemphasis on means produces an imperfect state of affairs (anomie). People have all their energy focused on winning (goals), and the way they play the game (means) loses its importance. This lack of structural balance leads to anomie, which produces strain (most often in lower- status individuals). Society encourages lower-class individuals to aspire highly, but denies them equal access to legitimate avenues of opportunity. As a result, the frustrations and strains lead them to engage in deviance as a way of adapting to the gap separating social goals and the means of attaining them. Modes of Adaptation: 1) Conformity: occurs when individuals experiencing strain accept the legitimacy of both social goals and the legitimate means of reaching them (this is the only mode of adaptation that is not a deviant response) 2) Innovation: occurs when individuals experiencing strain adhere to the culturally defined goals of material success but abandon the legitimate ways of pursuing them- seek material gain through illegal means (eg: theft, burglary, robbery, drug dealing- gangster) 5 3) Retreatism: occurs when individuals experiencing strain renounce not only the legitimate means of attaining goals but also the very goals themselves- withdrawal- do not value success nor wish to pursue it (eg: alcoholics, drug addicts, psychological misfits, tramps, hippies) 4) Ritualists: occurs when individuals experiencing strain reduce the strain by lowering their aspirations so that their goals correspond more closely with what is attainable in light of the insufficient legitimate means available- - usually lower-middle class- means become ends themselves- goes against informal cultural norms because everyone is supposed to strive for success (an employee who realizes they will never be promoted- still go to work every day and works hard) 5) Rebellion: occurs when individuals experiencing strain reject both the goals and the legitimate means of attaining them and seek to replace them with new ones (revolutionaries, terrorists who seek radical change in the social order, anarchists) Cohen: Status Frustration - lower-class delinquency occurs as a subculture adaptation to problems generated by the societal predominance of middle-class culture - education: middle-class students are socialized into values and behaviours that give them an advantage over lower-class students who learn different norms and values- this leads to status frustration - status frustration is the formation of a subculture that incorporates a rival hierarchy of statuses through a process of reaction formation - in this subculture, lower-class youth can compete on more equal terms for status that is meaningful in their own eyes- criteria for status opposite of those valued in the dominant middle-class culture - worthy acts in subculture: nonutilitarian, malicious, negativistic - these acts symbolize the rejection of middle-class value system - stealing fighting, vandalizing property - aspirations for middle-class success and socialization to lower-class values and norms are situated in context of the school, an institution dominated by middle-class values and norms failure to meet middle-class expectations status frustration and a loss of self-esteem reaction formation malicious, negativistic, non-utilitarian delinquent or criminal acts Cloward and Ohlin: Differential Opportunity - differential illegitimate opportunity - while lower-class persons frequently lack access to socially acceptable ways of achieving success, many are also denied equal access to the illegitimate ways of meeting their goals - criticize Merton’s assumption that all lower-class individuals have equal access to illegitimate means to attain their goals - the extent of deviance and the form it takes are strongly influenced by the the availability of unlawful options 6 - endeavors greatly facilitated by the immediate presence of criminal role models (eg: burglary- have to learn how to do it and how to sell items without getting caught) - 3 deviant subcultures that offer different access to illicit opportunities: 1) Criminal: neighbourhood characterized by an illegitimate opportunity structure- individuals learn the skills required for theft, robbery, burglary and the like from more seasoned members of the neighbourhood subculture- fences convert stolen goods into cash- most prevalent in established and stable slum areas of large cities, where various criminal organizations have become firmly entrenched 2) Conflict: neighbourhoods that offer neither legitimate nor illegitimate routes to success- the only way to obtain high status is through violence- bases of prestige in violent gang: combat skill, physical strength, enthusiasm for risking one’s safety- most prevalent in the disorganized slum 3) Retreatist: those who lack legitimate and illegitimate opportunities and lack physical prowess and taste for violent action: double failures- form retreatist subcultures- drugs and alcohol are used frequently to escape SOCIAL CONTROL THEORY What causes people to conform to the rules? Accepts the Freudian notion that the natural state of humankind is base and animalistic and, if not inhibited or constrained by social controls, these inborn animal impulses will burst forth in free expression. Deviance is innate. Without social control, everyone would act defiantly. Both inner controls (socialization during childhood makes people want to conform to feel good about themselves) and outer controls (potential loss of social or economic rewards experiences by a norm violator) are addressed. Reckless- Containment Theory - Internal forces of deviance: motives, desires, hostilities, feelings of inferiority and inadequacy - External forces of deviance: poverty, membership in an ethnic minority, restricted access to legitimate opportunities, involvement in deviant subcultures, exposure to media influences - Internal forces of containment: qualities of personality acting as impediments to deviance- positive self-concept, strong ego, intense sense of personal responsibility, high frustration threshold- people acquire these components of self largely during childhood through socialization to the “proper” social values - External forces of containment: external to individual- parental rules, school regulations, supervision by adults, expectations of rule-abiding friends Nye: Family Ties Theory - assumes that all humans are born with the same tendencies toward deviance - family’s role as an agent of socialization 7 - 4 types of social control stemming from the family environment: 1) Internal control: process of socialization where children learn from their parents the values and norms governing acceptable social conduct – conditioned through rewards and punishment- over time, children internalize family and social values and develop a conscience- if properly socialized, their conscience will exert considerable controlling power over them as they mature- people with healthy consciences will feel good when they conform to social rules and bad when they do not 2) Indirect control: most people do not wish to shame, hurt, or heap disrespect on those for whom they care deeply- the feeling that being observed or apprehended while engaging in deviance might distress loved one is a strong inhibitor 3) Direct control: the efforts of conventional groups like the family and the school to restrict activities of youth- rules concerning curfew, leisure time use, studying and the company one keeps 4) Legitimate need satisfaction: if families prepare children to become successful in school and at work and society enables individuals to find affection, security and recognition, their legitimate needs will be satisfied- by family, friendship circles, the school, organized religion- knits the individual securely into the social fabric Hirschi: Social Bonds Theory - peoples’ natural disposition is to behave defiantly - people obey the rules because they are tied to society through social bonds - 4 strands constituting the ties that bind: 1) Attachment: connection between individuals and other conventional people and institutions- sensitivity to the wishes and expectations of conforming others
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