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SOCI 325 - Ultimate Course Notes (covers whole semester)

Course Code
SOCI 325

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Society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it Henry Thomas Buckle
Deviance is a social construction (not real or set in stone something that is made by
people and is changeable)
Historically, most criminologists have defined crime as “behaviour in violation of law”
our modern understanding of law is based on classical theory it suggests that laws
should be established when social harm occurs
Samesex rights in Canada in Canada, marital rights were extended to gays and
lesbians in 2005. In Iran, those convicted of homosexual acts are lashed or even
executed definitions of deviance and crime vary across social space laws in
Canada today are not the same as different countries
Canada’s criminal laws have changed dramatically since the 1960’s we can conclude
that definitions of crime and deviance change dramatically even in the same
space over time
homosexuality used to be considered a mental illness in the DSM homosexuality
became a selfdestructive behaviour
DSM books getting bigger possibly due to more social control
Gottredson and Hirschi (1990) define crime as the use of force and fraud
Downes and Rock (2003) intentionally avoid a precise definition. They do refer to
banned or controlled behaviour which is likely to attract punishment and
disapproval ^very different definitions (variety in definitions)^
Many authors maintain that sociologists need to look beyond the state’s definition of
crime and consider deviance might restrict what we use in our analysis and if we are
too narrow in what we study then we will have flawed theories

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Becker (1963) suggests that deviance has nothing to do with the quality of behaviour, it
is merely a label successfully attached to another criminals/deviants thus could be
victims of a society that likes to label others as bad in some way
Pfohl (1996) and many others suggest that deviance is a violation of a social
norm. It is apparent that a social norm has been broken because there is a
reaction to behaviour in question. This is true for hidden behaviour that would
elicit a controlling reaction from others if they were aware of the behaviour
Possible midterm question Can secretive behaviour be considered deviant?
Think about what you consider to be
deviant What is deviant?
Who is deviant?
How do you know this?
Not about what people do but who is doing it alcohol (dangerous) is legal as to weed
(not as dangerous) being illegal
(there do exists norms in society for good reason and that there is something real about
deviance and crime and because it’s real we can measure it in an objective way. We
can come up with causal explanation for what people do) GOTTFREDSON AND
Absolutism (intrinsically real)
Objectivism (observable)
Determinism (casual explanation)
(think that rules are made by people and that they can change as a result of human
enterprise. Tend to believe crime and deviance are labelled. Conjured up by society and
who is controlled by society. Criminal justice system has huge impact) HOWARD
Relativism (a label)
Subjectivism (a personal experience (in the eyes of the beholder))

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Voluntarism (free will (free exercise in the human will: a robber/murderer may have free
will while another does not due to for example mental illness)
Conformity adherence to norms obedient
Nonconformity normative violation without reaction sociologists believe everyone
engage in nonconformity at one point in life
Deviance normative violation with a controlling mechanism when society tries to
change and modify ones behaviour, that behaviour is considered deviant
avoiding detection
Crime violation of codified law (not all crimes are deviant (speeding on Crowchild) and
not all deviance is criminal (transforming yourself into looking like a lion))
We can think of a continuum of nonconformity and deviance if the reaction to non-
conformity is stronger than chances are it’s closer to a deviant behaviour
Eating a big stake, potatoes, and zucchini for breakfast nonconformity
Providing sex in exchange for money criminal (laws in Canada are changing about
prostitutions and it
should be pointing out that anything attached to prostitution is considered a crime)
A 21 year old male having sex with a 17 year old male criminal
Watching pornography? depends (age of the people (both in and watching))
A female with a natural moustache deviant ( when society tries to change and
modify ones behaviour, that behaviour is considered deviant)
Scarification nonconformist
Vicarious experience (exciting)
Reform (induce positive change)
Selfprotection and sophistication (street sense)
Intellectual curiosity
Although criminologists generally agree that crime and deviance are real, there is much
disagreement as to how specific behaviour should be categorized
Blackshaw and Crabbe (2004) go so far as to maintain that there is no such thing as
deviance anymore (synopticism)
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