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SOC 2070 Study Guide - Final Guide: Moral Panic, Insulin Shock Therapy, Paraplegia

Course Code
SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski
Study Guide

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Social Deviance Exam
Week 9 – Sexual Deviance:
Sexual Deviance:
Perspective is subjective, relative to place and time
We all think we’re more enlightened about sex than preceding generations
Premarital sex is now common
Changed from one double standard to several
Youth talk about “hooking up”, not “love affair,” but “booty call
o New slang / expressions
o Euphemisms aren’t clear
Virginity and chastity have become a stigma for many
o Movies put down guys who are virgins
Textbook Chapter 9: Sexual Deviance page #200-224:
Essentialism vs. Constructionism:
The essentialist sees sex as a drive that exists to some degree independent of and prior to
social content or definition
The constructionist position argues two points:
1. Sex is constructed by the society and social contact through the imputation of meaning
2. The sex drive itself is, in large part, a product of human contact
Constructionists argue that social dynamics are lurking behind all things sexual; sexuality is in
the service of the social world sexuality does not shape our social conduct as so much as
social meanings give shape to our sexuality
We are sexual because we are social; it is social life that creates, motivates, and shapes our
Sex Surveys:
In the 1940 and 1950s, Alfred Kinsey and his associate investigated sexual behaviour among
men and women; their reports created a sensation, including thousands of newspaper and
magazine articles, a firestorm of criticism, and Kinsey’s face on the cover of Time
One of the lessons the Kinsey surveys taught was that it is extremely important to draw a
nationally representative sample, which Kinsey’s research failed to do it failed to address
the matter of representativeness, which means that its sample was biased or skewed, which
means the answer to its questions were misleading
Researchers need methodologies that better reflected the realities of human sexuality
Ken Plummer classifies sex research into 4 main “traditions”:
1. The clinical tradition initiated by Sigmund Frued and the psychoanalysts, and continued
by the psychiatrists and clinical psychologists in other theoretical traditions
With respect to laboratory “tradition,” one learns virtually nothing about how
widespread sexual practices are by putting couples in rooms and strapping monitors
to their bodies, asking them to engage in intercourse, then measuring their
Laboratory method does have applicability with respect to physiological and
anatomical sexual responses, and many behavioural psychologists and researchers
in related fields have found that measuring patterns of sexual arousal in the
laboratory are reliable and valid, and they continue to pursue this line of research
2. The social bookkeeping tradition of Alfred Kinsey and other survey-takers
Some social bookkeeping is necessary for knowing a wide range of facts, including
matters crucial to sexual deviance or “transgressions”
It is only by means of social bookkeeping that we can discover correlations or
relationships with key factors or variables of importance to social scientists
In spite of their limitations, surveys and polls (“social bookkeeping”) do have great
value in the study of sexual behaviour, including sexual deviance
3. The experimental method of Masters and Johnsons and the other many psychologists
and physiologists

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Social Deviance Exam
4. The descriptive / ethnographic / symbolic interactionist tradition of anthropologists and
participant observation sociologists, including Plummer himself
What’s Deviant About Sexual Behaviour?
The construction process applies not only to infusing phenomena and behaviour specifically
with sexual meaning, but also to filling the content of “sexual” definitions with a certain type of
evaluation positive, negative, or neutral, “normal” or “abnormal,” conventional or deviant
How deviance is socially constructed is central to any understanding of sexual behaviour it
is likely that sexual deviance is more likely to be regarded as “sick,” abnormal, and
pathological than any other type of deviance
A central feature in the psychiatrist’s and the psychologist’s conception of sexual deviance is
dysfunction or disorder an undesirable condition in need of treating or curing
However, the notions of dysfunction and disorder are alien to the sociologist’s, particularly the
constructionist’s, notion of sexual deviance
Sociologically, what defines sexual deviance, as with all other varieties of deviance, is that it
is a violation of societal norms and likely to result in the condemnation of the actor no
implication of dysfunction or disorder whatsoever is implied
Hence, the sociological conception of sexual deviance overlaps extremely imperfectly with
the psychological conceptions
Homosexuality Departing from Deviance:
In Western society, homosexuality is decreasingly regarded as a form of sexual deviance
Over time, a decreasing proportion of the American population believes that homosexual
relations should be against the law, the media are increasingly depicting gats in a non-
demeaning, non-stereotypical fashion, a growing number of Christian denominations are
accepting gays both as members and as clergy, the sodomy laws have been struck down as
unconstitutional, Canada has legalized gay marriage and in a growing number of
jurisdictions, “civil unions,” which grant partners the same rights as married couples, have
been legalized
Albeit with important exceptions, increasingly homosexuality is “departing from deviance”
Still, fundamentalist and evangelical Christians condemn homosexuality more than seculars,
non-Orthodox Jews, and ecumenical Christians
Public Opinion:
Public opinion has become much more accepting to homosexuality than was true a
generation ago
One indication that the condemnation of unconventional sexual practices is slowly declining is
that younger selections of the population condemn homosexuality less than older sections do
Correlates of Homophobia:
“Homophobia” is the hatred of homosexuals the homophobe is a person who says that
homosexuals should be regarded as deviant and treats them as such
Age and education are two major factors: the older and the less educated the person, the
greater the likelihood that he or she says that homosexuality is wrong and that homosexuals
should not have the same rights as heterosexuals
Persons who are more “closed” tend to be older, more politically conservative, and religiously
fundamental, and have lower level of education; those who are more “open” tend to be
younger, politically liberal, secular, or religiously moderate and ecumenical, and have a
higher level of education
Psychotherapeutic Opinion:
Until the early 1970s, the majority of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists argued that
homosexuality represented a neurosis, illness, or disorder, much like depression or
obsessive-compulsive personality, that was caused by an adaption to an overbearing, too-
intimate mother and an absent, weak, or punishing father
These therapists claimed that they could “cure” or treat this neurosis

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Social Deviance Exam
In 1973, the membership of the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove
homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a close vote
and controversial position at the time, but it represented to tocsin of changes to come
By the 1980s and 1990s, the “pathology” theory of homosexuality, once dominant, had
become discredited it is accepted by very few practicing clinicians today; those who do are
older and they are dying out
Conservative, Evangelical, and Fundamentalist Christians:
“Homosexual behaviour is deviant behaviour according to the clear and consistent teaching
of Scripture, from the Book of Genesis to the end of the New Testament”
Christianity has moved from the monolithic opposition to homosexuality to a reluctant
acceptance, with pockets of resistance among evangelical and fundamentalist wings
It is likely to be decades before its more conservative wing accepts gay sex, and it is even
possible that such a change will never take place
Their current position is occupied by a mixture of critics who proclaim that homosexuality can
be “cured,” to those who believe it is a demonic “curse” to the extreme of execution and
Is Homosexuality Departing from Deviance? A summary:
In many respects, homosexuality is “departing from deviance”
Gay couples are, increasingly, permitted to adopt children; the media are depicting
homosexuals in a more realistic, less negative light; three-quarters of gays and bisexuals feel
more accepted by society today than a few years ago; an increasing percentage of
Christians, both clergy and laity, believe that homosexuals should be accepted on an equal
basis; sodomy laws outlawing homosexual acts have been struck down as unconstitutional;
the majority of psychiatrists and psychologists no longer believe that, in and of itself,
homosexuality is the manifestation of mental disorder; gay marriage is legal in Canada, and
marriage-like “civil unions” between two persons of the same sex are legal in several states
of the United States; heterosexuals are vastly more accepting of homosexuality than was true
even a decade ago; and in society’s more traditional sectors and institutions, monolithic
opposition to homosexuality has given way to conflict, dissention, and schisms
Sexual jealousy is a powerful emotion in our society extramarital sex is widely condemned
yet far more rarely practiced than most of us believe
Men and women differ in their response to their partner’s infidelity women are more likely to
be distressed by their partner’s emotional faithlessness, while men are more likely to become
upset about their partner’s sexual infidelity
Evolutionary psychologists believe that these responses are dictated by messages encoded
in the genes; social psychologists argue that it is a result of reasonable inferences about the
meaning of sex roles in our society
Gender The Crucial Ingredient:
Sexuality is “gendered” by that, sociologists mean that it is impossible to understand
sexuality of any kind apart from men’s and women’s gender roles
Everything that we do sexually is informed or saturated by our maleness or femaleness
what are seemingly the same acts mean very different things if performed by men vs. by
women both to the participants and to the society at large
We cannot understand sexual behaviour without simultaneously considering who we are as
males and females
Week 10 – Unconventional Beliefs and Cognitive Deviance:
Punished by death in Old Testament
o Only mentions men lying with men; not women lying with women
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