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SOC 2070 Study Guide - Final Guide: Norm (Social), Social Constructionism, Ascribed Status

Course Code
SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski
Study Guide

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Social Deviance - Chapter One Reading Notes - Week One
Chapter 1 Notes - Introduction
what is deviance ? - deviance is behavior, beliefs, or characteristics that many people in a
society find or would find offensive and which excite, upon discovery, disapproval, punishment,
condemnation or hostility
deviance is behavior, beliefs or characteristics that are likely to generate a negative reaction in
deviance refers to the process by which the actor’s, the believer’s, and the possessor’s
character is tainted, stigmatized, and inferiorized
the sociology of deviance looks at informal and interpersonal reactions to behavior, beliefs and
criminology looks at formal and legal reactions to crime, the latter being possible arrest,
conviction and imprisonment
ex of deviance: engaging in acts of prostitutions, expressing a favorable opinion of the Ku
Klux Klan, bribing a government official, using drugs, robbing a bank, etc.
the study of deviance is about making rules, breaking rules and reactions to breaking rules
deviance is a process, not specific forms of behaviors
deviance describes what is likely to happen when people break rules that are held in a society
or among certain social circles within a society
some actions are predefined as deviance because of their meaning (ex. murder we regard it to
which the word refers as an unauthorized, deviant killing; crime is by definition an illegal, illicit
denying the reality of deviance is entirely mistaken for three reasons:
1) we can find widespread agreement that certain acts and beliefs are wrong
2) what’s regarded and reacted to as wrong is not simply about firm society wide consensus, but
also about how certain social circles of people feel and what they do in specific situations and
3) some disagreement prevails even about widely accepted norms, but far from denying the
relevance of deviance, it affirms it since much of what deviance is about is the “struggle over
whose rules will prevail”
Deviance In Everyday Life
humans are evaluative creatures
we continually make judgments about the behavior, beliefs or appearance of others, and each
one of us does exactly the same thing - evaluate others
societies everywhere have rules or norms governing what we should believe, and even how we
should look and those norms are so detailed and complex and so dependent on the views of
different evaluators, that what everyone does, believes and is, is looked on negatively by
someone indeed in all likelihood by lots of other people
there are four necessary ingredients for deviance to take place or exist:
1) a rule or norm must exist
2) someone must violate that norm
3) an “audience” must be present, someone who judges the normative violation to be wrong
4) there must be a measurable likelihood of a negative reaction by that audience --criticism,
condemnation, censure, stigma, disapproval, and so on

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Social Deviance - Chapter One Reading Notes - Week One
to qualify as deviance it isn’t even necessary to violate a norm thats serious like the Ten
“deviance” is a matter of degree, from trivial to extremely serious
deviance is not a simple quality resting with a given action, belief or trait inherent in, intrinsic
to, or indwelling within them
what makes a given act deviant is the way it is seen, regarded, judged, evaluated, and the way
that others--audiences--treat the person who engages in that act
deviance is that which is reacted to negatively in a socially rejecting fashion
acts, beliefs, and traits are deviant to certain persons or audiences or in certain social circles
what defines deviance are the actual or potential reactions that actions, beliefs and traits
generate or are likely to generate in audiences
it is this negative reaction that defines or constitutes a given act, belief or trait as deviant
we as humans create and enforce rules but we do violate some of society’s rules (ex. we park in
“no parking” zones)
no one abides by all rules all the times -- these rules contradict one another in some cases --
there is a variation in notions of right and wrong from one person to another
inevitably we deviate from someone’s rules simply by acting, believing, or being, since it is
impossible to conform to all the rules that prevail
So What Is Deviance ?
sociologically, deviance exists where we have the following ...
1) something - an act, belief, or a physical condition -- that violates a social norm or rule
2) a person or persons who engage in the act, express the belief, or possess the condition
3) an audience or a group of persons who judges and evaluates the normative violation
deviance exists when what one does is or believes is likely to generate in an audience a
negative reaction -- ridicule, mockery, etc.
deviance is an analytic category: it applies in all spheres and areas of human life; it is a
transhistorical, cross cultural concept
the dynamics of deviance have taken place throughout recorded history and in every known
deviance is everywhere and anywhere people engage in behavior, hold and express beliefs, and
possess traits that others regard as unacceptable
normative violations and reactions to normative violations, occur everywhere
they exist and have existed in all societies everywhere and for all time, they are central to who
we are as human beings
Societal and Situational Deviance
there are two sides to judgments of deviance ,one is its vertical or hierarchical side, the side
that says that people with more power get to say what’s deviant
the other is horizontal or “grassroots” or mosaic side, the side that says deviance can be
anything that any collectivity says it is, no matter how little power they have
Plummer - we must make a distinction between societal deviance and situational deviance
societal deviance is composed of those actions and conditions that are widely recognized, in
advance and in general, to be deviant
there is a high degree of consensus on the identification of certain categories of deviance
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