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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCY 275
Professor
Vincent F Sacco
Semester
Fall

Description
SOCY 275: Theories of deviance and social control Why study deviance?  The relationship to key sociological questions  Sociology and debunking  Sociology and political action—take attempts towards social control, and use it against a certain group of people  Sociology and personal troubles What is deviance? Devia (latin)- there is a path that most of us are on, and there are people who depart from that path; making them deviant In absolutist terms  For some people distinction between the deviant and the non-deviant is completely non-problematic  They would argue that some things are simply deviant in and of themselves  There are certain kinds of things that are innately deviant Than how do we explain?  The variability in what is and what is not deviant: from time to time; from place to place Defining deviance  When students are asked in a classroom to define deviance a first response is to list types of people or types of behaviours that they think deserve the label  Most of us would have no trouble coming up with a long short-list of deviants which could include (but would not be restricted to) criminals, child molesters, drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill, members of religious cults, liars ect.  However the problem of this is that we all have different criteria of what we consider deviant  There are disagreements with who are what are in and who and what are out September 12, 2013 Defining Deviance Statistical terms  Statistical rarity suggest a more explicit way of thinking about the meaning of deviance  In This sense deviant behaviour and deviant people are identifiable on the basis of their infrequency of occurrence  A normal curve describes a large number of phenomena, the top of the curve showing normal behaviour, and the bottom showing deviant  These curves seem to have a metric of clarity to what we define as deviance; we can do this across situations and places  Despite this clarity is that it lacks precision  On the normal curve, where does the deviance start? This has no absolute answer  It fails to distinguish that which is consequential from that which in not, so what, why do we care about the data we have been given. If we rely simply on the statics, we never get a sense of what matters over other things  The more dimension, when something is moral, it is put on a line between good or bad. When someone calls you a deviant it generally has a negative connotation. It generally means an assessment of people that implies a negative evaluation or judgment about the person  For example, when looking at grades, people who get very high grade and people who get very low grades are both considered deviant, and statistical information and cannot distinguish that some is a good deviance and some is bad  If we take statistical definition as deviance as the true definition, than we are saying that something always happen more than other. However when thinking about the moral side, there are things that everyone do that are deviant, but everyone does it. For example downloading music, lying and masturbation  The problem with statistical rarity is that some times the deviance isn’t not that rare Harmful Deviance is stuff that people do that is harmful to others  In this sense, we equate deviant action with action that produces destructive outcomes  But all this does is displace the definitional problem  There is a lot of debate over what is and what is not harmful  How does the concept of harm relate to the problem of who included and who is exclude  We kind of decide what is harmful and what is not Thinking about Deviance Sociologically  Find the meaning of deviance in the tension between certain human conditions and social control  Behavioral deviance  The most common kind, like drugs, and stealing and cheating  Deviant beliefs  Cognitive deviance, meaning it is deviant to hold certain beliefs  Homophobia, anti-Semitism, conspiracy believers  Physical deviance  Abominations of the body, missing a limb, being in a wheelchair, heavily tattooed  Not a behaviour, but a characteristic of a person What is social control?  We can define it as…anything we might do or anything we might say does define actions or people as disreputable, or anything we do or say that proceeds on that basis  What ever we do in response to someone or something, that defines it as a problem or different  Incarceration is social control and banishment is social control Forms of social control  Spreading gossip or rumors about people, which express disapproval  Efforts to propagandize against categories of people or action that we find threatening  Propaganda wars typically label each other, because each side is essentially trying to think the rest of us are deviant  Ridicule (much of what we laugh about in our society involves judgments about the unworthiness of other people)  Racial and ethnic jokes are used to separate people, and ways in which we make each other laugh, but they make the joke a sort of network definer  The ability to block people from our network creates a sense of power  Ostracism  Social control different in important ways in terms of severity, consensus and formalization  Consensus—there isn’t always an agreement on how something it disvalued, like drug use, abortion, gay marriage etc.  Formality—judicial hearing, medical diagnosis, vs. gossip and jokes  We are so deeply amerced in a world of social control, that it has to be pointed out for us to know it is there  We live within a type of social script, we know they types of things that will happen So…we can understand the study of deviance as the study of the tension between certain social conditions and social control  The dynamic interplay between the ways of thinking, acting and behaving around social control This “working definition” defines for us the two important questions, which organized the study of deviance  What creates those social conditions (behaviours, beliefs and physical characteristics), which lead to the mobilization of some forms of social control?  How do we understand how social control operates and why it has the consequence, which it has? September 16 , 2013 The poverty of the sociology of deviance  Sociologist typically look at deviance from an upper class perspective, and they tend to neglect the types of deviance that occur in more white collar areas of society  Why so we only study lower class people is because we generally label people, and it is only the powerless that get labeled, and therefore lead to us looking at a specific group of people  The attempt to label people, as deviant in this society is essentially useless, because we have the ability to change this definition and perception Early Deviance Theory  Objectives are to discuss the historical origins of contemporary theoretical accounts of deviant behaviour  To distinguish the two broad explanatory approaches to deviant behaviour—the classical school and the positivist school  Lombrosies way of thinking of the problem, continues to be extremely influential  To demonstrate how earlier explanation of deviant behaviour continue to influence modern though on subject Spiritual Perspectives  Basic assumptions  Assuming the world is general enchanted; it is easy to believe why natural disasters happen, and the people do bad things because of evil sprits  In the medieval times, we began to see the church joining with the general law and rule of society  This was not necessarily a bad thing, because before this people hurting each other was not the business of anyone other than those affecting each other  So when we combine church and state, we begin to see hegemony of rule across the state  Witch frenzies and trials by ordeal For example, burning witches, if the victim were a witch they would escape and also putting people in battle against each other and G-d would save the person who was right in the dispute  Legacy  The rise of the penitentiary—it wasn’t until the late 18 century that we ever thought of incarceration as a punishment. It was called penitentiary because it was assumed that the incarcerates would be penitent (remorseful)  Essentially by being locked up, people would be force to think about what they had done, and being to feel guilty, and try to repent for their actions  This is a more normalized type of spiritualism  Contemporary exorcism and ‘spiritual healing’—Some people truly believe that people who are deviant truly have been taken over by some form of evil spirit The Classical School th  Emerged in the middle of the 18 century  Not a school, but a group of scholar or people who thought in a certain way about types of crimes  “The rationale person” and “free will”  The central assumption is that people, who do deviant things, do it as a result of a conscious choice of to do it. The choose to behave in that manner, and normally their choices are rationale, they do things that they seek or want to do, and things that will increase the pleasure in life, and they act on free will  The assumption of naturalism  It rest on the assumption of rule breaking only in the natural world Cesare Beccaria  The principle of the classical school  He was not a sociologist, or a criminologist in any contemporary sense  He was a social reformer who wrote on crimes and punishment  He wrote about it on the indictment of the criminal systems  His primary interest was a comprehensive critique of the inequalities and brutality of the 18 century European system of criminal justice. Implicit in this work is a rather well defined image of what criminals are like and why they do what they do  Presents us with an implicit working model of why he thinks crime happens  According to him, human being are essential natural create who walk on the basis of free will and are hedonistic calculus (about pleasure)  Human are guided by pleasure  We do things in life that are going to increase our pleasure and decrease our pain, and we do this based on choice and free will  And if this is true, than this is how crime works. If someone commits crimes they think that the act of the crime will give more pleasure that the risk associated with the crime  Criminal justice and violations of the social contract  We all surrender a certain amount of freedom in order to live in a peaceful and safe place  Because we surrender out rights, we are only surrendering a certain amount, the state has no authority to take away our rights other that the bare minimum  Because the legal system has the ability to override out life, than we shouldn’t have laws to guide morality and things like that, we should only have law to protect our safety between one another  The punishment the state is allowed to put out, must be the minimum punishment to outweigh the crime that has been committed, meaning there has to be slightly more pain received as punishment to than pleasure received from committing the crime  He than says the only reason to punish is to deter the person from committing or recommitting a crime  The characteristics of effective deterrence  From punishing people, two possible things can happen 1. General deterrence: Something that prevents other people from committing a crime (scares people from doing it) 2. Specific deterrence: Something that prevents an individual from recommitting the crime  Certainty: To be an effective deterrent a punishment has to have a certain amount of certainty, people need to think that they are certain to get caught  Severity: Is the punish severe enough that people do not want to risk receiving the punishment  Celerity: The speed of the punishment, how quickly the punishment is received  Certainty is said to be the most important to deter people from committing a crime  Certainty is much harder to employ than severity, but it is much more effective  One of the things he was best known for, is being very apposed to the death penalty  He made an argument that was both moral and empirical  He thought capital punishment hardened people and made them more barbarous, instead of stopping them from committing crimes, he also found it immoral  People who don’t know if capital punishments works say they have to know how many people were thinking of capital punishment and didn’t because they were scared of capital punishment—we do not have this information and cannot really obtain this information  He has a lot of influence in criminological theory, his ideas become very important to deviant theory and control theory  He led to theories that say in order to explain deviance you can assume motivation, you don’t have to explain motivation; we have to explain why people do not commit crimes  James Q. Wilson— An interesting approach on capital punishment Classical Legacy  The system of criminal justice proceeds from the assumption that people are rational and calculating creatures whose behaviour largely reflects free will  Several contemporary theories (which we will discuss later) proceed from classical assumptions September 19, 2013 Positivist School  Jump forward a few hundred years  The century following the publications of Beccaria’s work was marked by significant scientific achievement  Physiognomy  Phrenology Physiognomy  You can read peoples character in their faces  They tried to be scientific in the way people face structured were built  We think that the person who is unattractive, or suspicious is generally the bad guy or the outcast in the plot  “He looked honest”—we are shocked when criminals look “normal”  Although physiognomy is unscientific and unproven, we do it all the time in our minds, and base our first impression off of it Phrenology  The brain is the organ of the mind  The brain in broken up into different traits and predispositions, and they have specific location  If a phrenologist was examining you, they would be able to feel your head, and the bumps on your head would be over the places with you have more on that specific trait  Between the two Cesare’s, science become a huge development  The idea of spiritualism begins to degrade and scientific research and explanation was becoming very popular  In the 1860’s Darwin’s book the origin of species was published, and it was a huge revolution for scientific belief  The book leads to rethinking of all aspects of life, and it suggest that there is a real relationship between human beings and other life forms, so perhaps we evolved with them/from them, this was a blasphemous idea at the time, implying that we were not created in the eye of G-d  This is such a scientific revolution that everyone begins to rethink all their beliefs Cesare Lombrosos  He starts to develop an interst in the criminal, and it was influence by Darwin in an attempt to link evolution and criminology  In 1876 he was published his major work, The Criminal Man, in which he attempted to make the case for science of a criminal behaviour  An a chapter of this book he describes how he figured this out  He said the problem with criminals was they were atavistic criminals  They are throwbacks to some earlier point of evolutionary development; they have been born out of synch with the times, and are a regressive form of human, which is why they are more barbarous, violent and reasonable  The Criminal Man, Lombroso developed his theory of atavism  Lombroso says you have to investigate an issue empirically; he spent most of his times in prisons doing measurements of criminal’s physiology, he would compare this with non-criminals (people in the military for his research)  Psychical stigmata  Asymmetry of the face  Eye defects and peculiarities  Fleshy, swollen, and protruding lips  Pouches in the cheeks  Excessive length of arms  Abnormal dentition  He did not believe that this was the cause of criminology, but he did think that this was an indicator of what criminals looked like  Lombroso’s argument was in his earliest addition of the Criminal mind, as he conducted more research, he admitted that he overstates the importance of atavism  He continued to find patterns that we actually look into today in his final edition of the Criminal Mind  He also had things to say about criminal women, he talks about why women are criminal  He says these women have not developed into examples of refined femininity  These women based on physiology are a lot more like men than women, and because they tend towards a male physiology they tend towards a men’s temperament  Because of this they tend to not be in possessions of the certain confinements that most women have  He was suggesting that women are less than men, and on their own they are left to few criminal things such as prostitution Legacy  Although the substance of this theories of crime have been largely discredited, Lombroso’s influence on many contemporary theories of deviant behaviour is related to Lombroso’s attention to determinism and positivism  Determinism: people behaviours are as a result of a predisposition they have, and they do not have control over their own actions  Positivism: Drawing conclusion based on extensive research and theories and testing, it is not a philosophical problem, but it is a scientific problems, and it is about causes and the ability about measured and reason observation to make sense of those problems  He has been an important influence in contemporary physiology  We are separating his approach from the concept of his ideas Looking at Beccaria and Lombroso  These are the ways in which the context between these ideas is the way that the criminal procedure precedes  The prosecutor says that the accused did this know the repercussions of their actions—This is an example of Beccaria  The defense says know, there is some other reason that this person committed this crime that is out of his or her control—An example of Lombroso  A debatable point: There are healthy arguments about the degree to which those ideas are compatible. Are they really different? Or are they capable of integration  One way they can be integrated—you can believe you are someone who makes a choice, however we make many options without thinking about why we are doing them, and without a lot of conscious thought  On one hand we are creatures of free will, but suppose our choices are constrained by social and structural circumstances  The choices we make are going to be made from a constrained social and cultural structure, meaning the two concepts can really be looked at together  The concept of consciousness: they are people who argue (neuroscientist) that there is nothing beyond the functioning of our brain  The notion of choice and will is really an illusion that our brain creates, when really our brain is what is actually in charge, they say based on neurons, the one neuron making the decision to move something happens after the neurons that actually creates the movement fires  Is there going to be a point where everything we do is going to be traceable to some sorts of firing and misfiring of the brain  So from there what happens to the idea of free will and choice? September 23 , 2013 Functionalism  Examine the relationship between deviance, social control, and social organization  Discuss sociological account regarding the ways in which deviance can undermine social order and stability  Consequence may be functional or eufuntional or are they dysfunction  If the consequences are functional than the consequence have a relationship to the stability, order and cohesion of the social system  When it contribute to society it is functional  Discuss some of the (non—obvious) ways in which deviance contributes to and supports social order  When talking about function and dysfunctions it is important to know the manifest and latent  Manifest functions: The presumable reaction, role or function in society Ex. You come to school to learn and get an education  Latent functions: The not obvious functions of society Ex. Most people who come to university will find their life partner while attending school  There is a difference between moral and functional significance  To say something if function or dysfunctional does mean it is good or bad, moral judgments are much different than functional things. Ex. Many things in Nazi Germany are functional, however the things that occurred during that time were in not means moral How does this help us understand deviance? Deviance as Functionalism  Social cohesion-opposing the deviant (the contributions of Emile Durkheim)  He discusses this point about deviance and the reaction to it, having an important function to social life  This has nothing to do with individual motivation  There presence somehow produces a consequence for which society more generally benefits  Crime brings together upright conscience and concentrates them. WE have only to notice what happens, particularly in a small town when some moral scandal has just been committed. They stop each other on the street they visit each other; they seek to come together to talk of the event and tow ax indignant in common  When something happens in a small time, people essentially line up to talk to each other, but in all this discussions people are reconnecting with each other and redefine their sediments  Crime is so important for social life that a society without it is impossible  Crime is normal, it isn’t part of a society going haywire, and it is inevitable  There is also going to be small deviations to the rule, even in a perfect world of perfect people  Is it the deviant who is keep the norms, or is it the reaction to the deviant  Why do we produce deviance?  Normal social life cannot exist unless people can periodically and ritualistically celebrate and make themselves aware of the rules we have in common  We are not going to continue believe that we share morals and beliefs with one another, unless we are constantly reminded Ex. Religious ceremonies and funerals are simply there to make social norms cohesive. When we go to a funeral we are celebrating the life of someone who lived similarly to us, so we are also celebrating our own lives  The deviant is a reminder of our common moral sentiments  One of the best know investigations undertaken from this perspective was Kai Erikson’s study of the Massachusetts’s Bay Colony of the 17 Century The problem of boundary maintenance  Sometimes the society can get really confused about what they value, and what their morals really are  Under these conditions it is not unusual to discover some sort of wrongdoer that they appose, and the opposition to the group helps the members of the society reevaluate their moral values, and reevaluate who they are as a group of people  If your sense of a noble and grand spiritual mission is undermined by day- to-day events, what revitalizes it more that the feeling that you are so special then the Devil has comet o get you  As soon as witch accusations began to effect people that were notable members of society, the accusations kind of disappeared  What was going on, was a collective attempt to draw moral boundaries again, to help them understand who they were, what made them unique in the first place  The witches have a sort of elastic sense, because if you are going to have a crime wave, it has to be a type of badness that is going to be able to come and go easily  So with witches, “you’re a witch, no I’m not, yes you are, let’s burn her”  You could produce as many witches as you want because there was no actual criteria to what made you a witch, so people would add and change it as time went along  Deviance appears, we appose it in some sense, and we give some sort of opposition Other functions of deviance  Social cohesion—in support of the deviant—Detler and Erikson  If you have ever been in a work group, and one person in the group who is your friend was clearly inept, how do people typically react?  This person becomes a focal part of the group, in the sense that they are given simple task, the friend gets very defensive, people try to avoid letting the inept friend how “inept” they are  Family member tend to really close ranks around people, they do everything they can to avoid committing a family member  When people share this concern for the family person, people share the fact that it is their moral responsibility to take care of this person  As a focal point of our attention, this person bring the group closer together  Saying deviance is functions is not saying we agree with it, it is simply saying it is ingrained in society  We don’t want to be called liars, but when defining deviance we all lie, and we have come up with a list of reasons to lie  We have to learn what these exceptions are for lying, and social
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