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SOC 2070 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Y Chromosome, Morphine, Michel Foucault

Course Code
SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski
Study Guide

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Midterm Review
Week #1:
Why Study Social Deviance:
Some seek titillation of studying the “nuts and the sluts”
See deviance as outside themselves
Goal of teaching deviance is to show processes of labeling and social control are in our daily
It is within and without us
To appreciate it is neither to say we are better nor that there is no right and wrong, but to see
how social control is created, how being labeled feels, and how some people are discredited
and marginalized
Basic Definition:
Norm breaking with an expected or possible social negative reaction with consequences to
one’s identity leading to sigma and punishments
Norms can be societal-wide (Canada) or situational (a strip club, restaurant, or prison)
Not always fair: there can even be scapegoating when someone has to be punished,
Negative Reactions:
Shunning, distancing, avoiding
Excommunication, purging from group
Ostracizing and ridicule, not hiring, not renting to
Public interrogation, getting pulled over
Arrest, fingerprinted, conviction
Sentenced to jails, fines, execution, criminal record
Hounding, death threats, murder
There has to be a social norm, a violation by a person, a social audience, and a potential
likelihood of a strong negative reaction that labels the violator
Norms can be societal wide and high consensus, or they can apply to specific and local
situations and social audiences, in which case they are low-consensus
With the negative social reaction
We ask, “What kind of person would do that?”
The ABC’s Attitudes, Behaviour, Characteristics:
Attitudes and Beliefs:
Indifference at a funeral in Camus’s The Outsider
Anti-Semitism; so called “Political Correctness”
Behaviour and Actions:
Smoking and texting while driving kids; failing to report a murder
Characteristics and Conditions:
Lower caste, illegitimacy, rape; mongoloidism, albinism, left-handed
Tolerance vs. Indifference:
Tolerance is a mutual, almost contractual acceptance of different
Tolerance without rules (i.e., reciprocity) is merely indifference
Free speech is for those who disagree with us, regardless of who feel offended
Does a Free Society Need Some Intolerance?
Many things can be banned IF they are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as symbols of
o Hate speech, death threats, burquas and niquabs, Nazi uniforms, nooses,
Confederate flags, KKK parades
Tolerance is NOT a blank cheque to do as you will (Libertarians disagree), but a two-way
Some Necessary Distinctions:
By saying that deviance needs a likely negative social reaction. Goode is a “soft reactivist”
a position that can recognize hypothetical situations and imaginary and secret deviance
Calling someone a deviant doesn’t mean they should be condemned

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Midterm Review
Absolutists say that something is always wrong, relativists say “when in Rome…”
Societal vs. situational, i.e., it is a societal-wide high-consensus norm that everyone wear
clothes except on a nude beach or for a medical exam
Normative vs. Reactivist:
Some break a norm without deviance: depending on situation, how they do it and who they
Social norms are necessary for deviance and social control, but insufficient
The extreme reactivist position is if people negatively react as deviant, then that is deviant
But any explanation needs predictability
Contingencies affect labeling and reaction: i.e., if a person is invested with public trust or is a
private citizen or is seen as a victim or as entitled
Imaginary and Secret Deviance:
a. Salem Witchcraze occurred after food poisoning spooked religious extremists
b. Recent accusations of daycare sexual abuse
Secret: no one knows and no one is reacting, but if exposed, that would to likely occur: having an
affair, auto-eroticism, Marranos in Spain
Why we cannot rely on extreme reactivist position (it is deviance if and only there is a
negative reaction), but need to combine normative and reactive
So many confuse relative with arbitrary, I often say contextual
Absolutist right and wrong are universal
Relativity means things need to be evaluated in context (circumstances and inter-
We don’t throw away our own morals; rather, we describe and explain things independently
of them
Other Considerations of Relativtiy:
Extreme moral relativists argue there is no true right and wrong: (and condemn anyone who
Cultural relativism: things are judged by the values of the culture where they occur
Or, in “The Question of John Hu,” in the 18th century, a Chinese man visited France and
ended up in an insane asylum 0 was it a case of insanity or cultural difference or both?
Problems with Harm Based Approach:
We do not treat each life as equal
We accept some deaths as normal, others as tragic
In an emergency women and children first
Shorthand: “Missing White Woman Syndrome” women are seen as more important than
men and white women are considered more important than women of colour; filter in bias to
emphasize the stories of favoured group / class
Problems with Psychiatric Approach:
1. We shouldn’t just say that people with mental problems are deviant
2. We shouldn’t assume that if people are insane they will be like us
3. People have a variety of motivations, and we may also interpret the event differently
It becomes easy to just dismiss other points of view by calling them crazy
We may not want to admit there are different viewpoints, or that people who commit immoral
acts are sane
Problems with Statistical Reality Approach:
Yes, there is a connection between rarity and deviance… but
o Many rare things are innocuous: like polka dots
o Some rare things are good, i.e., being a composer
o True, if more people do something openly, often it will usually become less deviant
o Other things if increased cause greater condemnation and social control (i.e., moral
Identity and Stigma:
The deviant possesses stigma when their deviance becomes their “master status”
A “spoiled identity” gets fixed to them it becomes all what we see

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Midterm Review
Marginalized, avoided, derided
“Discreditable identity” not being stigmatized but possesses traits that could get them
“Passing” covering up “discreditable identity”
Defining Deviancy Down:
Uses neutral terms, rather than pejorative
One step often is medicalization of deviance
Media now lauds single-moms as heroic; vagrants are now the homeless
“Defining Deviancy Down” by Senator Moynihan:
Durkheim: the normal vs. pathological
o A certain amount of crime and deviance may not be positive, but necessary for social
o Excessive or pathological deviance is harmful without being helpful
The amount of deviance any society can afford to recognize at any one moment is relatively
He argues that devaicne has increased beyond the point so that we are defining it down
normalizing it when we should instead be reducing it
a. Altruistic to help, see labeling the deviants as adding to victimization
b. Opportunistic championing deviant against status quo provides “soap box” sanctimony
c. Normalizing describing deviant actions in emotionally-distancing jargon
We are getting accustomed to deviance illegitimacy and broken homes; drug use and
homeless mental patients; violent crime
Whether we do this out of concern or indifference, it hurts society, facilitating further deviance
Prohibition ended after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre that left 7 dead
Suggests we need to condemn what is harmful
Defining Deviancy Up:
Often done by “moral entrepreneurs who bring in new norms, allegedly for public good
Aimed not at deviant or those resistant, but at educated, mainstream middle-class
I.e., campus speech codes; sexual harassment; “conflict of interest” restrictions; text driving;
public smoking; wearing fur; traditional marriage
Chapter 1 What is Deviance? (Textbook Reading):
Deviance in Everyday Life:
Humans evaluate one another according to a number of criteria, including beliefs, behaviour,
and physical traits
Societies everywhere have rules or norms governing what we may and may not do, how we
should and shouldn’t think, what we should and should not believe, even how we should and
shouldn’t look, and those norms are so detailed and complex, and so dependent on the views
and different audiences or social circles of 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 4 necessary ingredients for deviance to take place:
1. A rule or norm
2. Someone who violates (or is thought to violate) that norm
3. An audience, someone who judges the normative violation to be wrong
4. A likelihood of a negative reaction criticism, censure, stigma, disapproval, punishment,
and the like by that audience
It is this negative reaction that defines or constitutes a given act, belief, or trait as deviant
without that reaction, actual or potential, we do not have a case of deviance on our hands
Humans create and enforce rules, but we also violate some of society’s rules; the tendency to
do as we please, against the norms, is inherently disobedient
None of the rules are considered valid by everyone in any society almost any action, belief,
or characteristic we could think of is approved in some social circles and condemned in
The Sociology of Deviance as Non-Pejorative:
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