SOC 223 Final Exam
Monday, April 22, 2013. 9:00-11:30am PAS 2083
**The Final exam has 3 major written questions (essay and short answer formats).
What is Deviance? A negative quality attributed to some activity or actors by an audience. It is any activity, actor,
idea, or humanly produces situation that an audience defines as negative (threatening, evil, immoral, offensive) in
some way. It is an inevitable component of community life. Deviance is social in its definition – deviance is brought
into existence only when something is so defined by an audience. The deviant mystique is auras, fascinations,
interests, curiosities, and related images that people develop with respect to deviance.
One person may see something as bad or forbidden while another sees it as good, interesting or fun. Certain situations
may appear even more alluring to some people because they are forbidden by others in the public.
Chapter 1 of DM – Encountering the Deviant Mystique
1. What is the Deviant Mystique? Explain this from an interactionist viewpoint. The deviant mystique refers to the
allures and fascinations, the anxieties and fears, and the repulsions that people associate with wrongdoing and
morality. It is interactionist in that it concentrates on humanly known and enacted realities.
2. Tell how interactionist’s approach the study of deviance? Interactionists approach the study of deviance as a study
of community life in the making. It study‟s the community life that encompasses people‟s participation in all areas
where deviance and morality are viewed as problematic.
3. How does this differ from structuralism and moralist/activist approaches?
Interactionist Structuralist Moralist/activist Idealist
Envisions deviance as a Explain deviance by Focus on the matters of Deny the authenticity of human
social essence that is virtue of an interplay of judging, directing, knowing and acting. They
produced by minded, factors through to cause controlling people‟s attempt to talk deviance out of
acting, and interacting people to act in certain situations, behaviours, and existence by reducing everything
people who engage one manners. experiences. to the realm of words, concepts,
another in the full range or ideas – anything can be
of community contexts. anything.
Interactionists vs Moralists Interactionist vs idealist Interactionist vs structuralist
Moralists promote I‟s differ from idealists in: 1) recognizing the S‟s ask “why” or “what makes”
standpoints by which authenticity of people‟s knowledge, moralities, people do things. I‟s ask “how”
deviance can be defined and and judgments as meaningful of study 2) people make sense of the situations
deviants can be identified emphasizing the centrality of activity for that they find themselves in and how
while interactionists study comprehending the human condition. Idealists they act towards things they are
the process by which human content that they can redefine deviance out of aware of. I‟s put emphasis on the
group life takes place. existence, I‟s see the engaged nature of things that people consider
community life. The human world is a world of meaningful in symbolic or linguistic
Symbolic Interactionism - Chapter 2 of DM – Intersubjective Accomplishment
1. What are the 7 basic premises (assumptions) of symbolic interactionism (Mead, Blumer). Human Group life is:
1 – Intersubjective: the human world is symbolically/linguistically understood, constructed, and experienced. 2 – Multi-perspectival: the world can have multiple meanings to people. People develop meanings as their interact
with one another and develop styles of relating to objects.
3 – Reflective: people develop capacities to become object of their own awareness. They attribute meaning to
themselves & develop lines of action that take themselves into account.
4 – Activity Based: human group life is organized around the doing or accomplishing of activity and behaviour.
5 – Negotiable: people are able to influence and resist others
6 – Relational: people associate selectively. They develop particular bonds and attend to associations with others in
the communities they find themselves in.
7 – Processual: group life has an emergent quality or ongoing social construction; it‟s an ongoing process.
Thus we view human group life is viewed as intersubjective, multiperspectival, reflective, action-based, negotiable,
relational, and processual. This course analyzes group life from the perspectives of the people involved in instances
of deviance, the way s in which these people interpret and engage situations, the role that other people play in the
process, and the interchanges and relationship that people develop with others.
2. How is deviance defined from an interactionist viewpoint? Symbolic interactionism focuses on the nature of human
knowing and acting as this takes place within the community context. From an interactionists‟s viewpoint, deviance is
a social process. Interactionists emphasize that the study of human behaviour is the study of human lived experience
and that human experience is rooted in the meanings, interpretations, activities and of ongoing group life.
Deviance is a matter of human enterprise.
3. What sorts of questions do interactionists ask in their attempts to explain deviance? The what and how of the life-
world of the other.
4. What are the central features of symbolic interactionist? Explain these. SI is the study of the wa in which people
make sense of their life-situations and accomplish their activities, in conjunction with others, on a day-to-day basis – it
studies the way in which people do things within the context of community life. Central features:
- the notion that human life is group life – human life is intersubjective in its essence (intersubjective – sharedness of
meanings). Humans cannot be understood apart from the community context that they live in – people derive their
essence from their communities. There can be no self without the other.
- It is the attainment of language that makes the possession of a “self” possible (Mead). Language provides a basis for
which people establish common understandings and it is through ongoing (symbolic) interaction with others that
people learn about other and gets a better sense of their self.
5. How do symbolic interactionists study deviance? Tell what these involve. They approach the study of deviance as
one of many manifestations of the human condition that people may develop in dealing with one another in the course
of community life.
They take a distinctive, comparatively recent approach to deviance. Focus on sociological approaches. Mindful of the
emergent nature of human lived experience. Open to the participants viewpoints and doesn‟t impose their own concept
on the participant.
Ethnographers rely primarily on three sources Observation (encompasses visual and audio senses, documents, diaries,
records, maps, etc.), Participant-observation (allows the researcher to get much closer to the lived experiences of the
participants – more active roles as the research tries to fit into the dynamic settings at hand), and interviews (open-
ended inquiries into the experience of others) in order to achieve intimate familiarity with the life worlds of those they
People studying people should attend to the 7 premises of symbolic interactionism: to the intersubjective nature of
human behaviour, the viewpoints of those they are studying, the interpretations or meanings people attach to
themselves and others, people‟s attempts to influence others, the bonds people develop over time, and the processes
people experience over time. To study deviance, one must overcome or permeate the deviant mystique – they must look past or through the
repulsions, auras, fascinations that surround deviance and to concentrate on the ways in which the people involved in
all aspects of the deviance process work out their activities with other in the community.
Theatres of Operations (Chapter 3 in DM)
1. Is deviance synonymous with difference?
2. To what does the "deviant mystique" refer?
3. Why is it important that students of deviance be attentive to the deviant mystique?
4. Who are the people who contribute to the deviant mystique? In what ways do they do this? Elaborate as much as
you can (chpts 1-3). See below.
Tell what the Deviant Mystique is all about.
The Deviant Mystique considers the great many people who may become involved in the production of deviance in
community life and the various roles that these people play in the process.
1. In what ways do people participate in deviance? What roles do they assume in the deviance-making process?
Five forms of participation:
a. Practitioners – those who participate more actively in particular forms of deviant activity – they experience a
fuller sense of what deviance involves and move beyond notions of the deviant mystique.
b. Supporting casts – those who make contact with particular deviants for their own personal or economic
advantages. They play integral roles in facilitating and accommodating deviance. They may not be interested
in becoming practitioners themselves but they provide goods and services or places for practitioners to
use/meet at (for example a bar, restaurant, or hotel and drugs or gambling).
c. Implied parties – people who live with or have close relations with those they know to be deviants (ex: family,
friends, and neighbours).
d. Vicarious Participants – experiencing aspects of the situation of someone in one‟s mind. “Mindedness” allows
one to play deviance without totally embracing the notions in practice. They can do so in idealized settings
and can experience deviance from a distance. Some of these participants may become an actual participant in
deviance but most are highly receptive to the mindedness they do.
e. Targets – those who identify themselves as recipients of unwanted features of the behaviours of others.
Victims and villains. Rather than deny a target role one must be attentive to the viewpoints of all parties
involved and of the interchangeable positions as targets and tacticians.
Five roles that people involved in the control of deviance may engage:
a. Spotting trouble – Someone defines something as troublesome, threatening, disconcerting.
b. Raising consciousness – Someone promoting particular moral codes in a community, alerting others of a
problem at hand and seeking solutions to that problem. They often have supporters in the community and are
given authority for dealing with problems.
c. Identifying deviants – labeling people as deviant
d. Regulating deviance – people try to deal with troublesome cases by either doing nothing, trying to change the
perpetrators, alter their own behaviours, or refer troublesome cases to third parties.
e. Providing secondary aid – Lawyers, counselors, therapists, social workers – those who work with people
participating in deviance.
f. Those who talk about deviance in some capacity also participate in deviance because what they say generates
images and understandings of deviance, whether what they say is true or not.
Five important sources of talk about deviance:
a. Interpersonal Exchange – interpersonal networks and causal talk about others is a central means of conveying
information about specific people within communities. Can be in the form of rumors and secrets. b. Educators and scientists – Provide careful, reliable and thorough information about deviance; they are viewed
as experts. Some of them may contribute to the deviant mystique.
c. Politicians and political advocacy – political activities can be highly instrumental in drawing attention to
d. Religious and ethical moralists – religious voices may contribute to the mystique by putting some acts or
actors within the context of the struggle over good and evil or the sacred and profane.
e. Mass media – Source of confusion – rumor mills. Report matters pertaining to deviance. People maintain
many images of deviance from the media. There is also an interactive aspect of media exposure because
people discuss media messages with others.
Defining Things as Deviance - Chapter 4
1. Hebert Blumer (Social Problems as Collective Behaviour) outlines 5 basic steps in the "natural history" of social
problems. How does Blumer define social problems?
Blumer Defines social problems as “matters of community definition”. Blumer identifies five processes as central to
the matter of publicly defining situations or practices as “social problems”. These include emergence (initial
awareness and publicity); legitimation (public and official acknowledgement); mobilization for action (assess
information, suggestions and probabilities); formation of an official plan and implementation of the official plan (and
the problematics of successfully doing so). At each point Blumer says the process is problematic and adjustive and
negotiable. Social problems represent sites of collective enterprise and generally involve multiple viewpoints and
contested bodies of knowledge and beliefs.
Emergence (creating awareness). Blumer says it‟s a problematic situation: A)defining situation as more troublesome,
threatening and enduring. B) dramatizing conditions C) spreading information within the community D) striving for
audience attention amidst other concerns (distractions) E) using (and enlisting) the media.
Legitimating Definitions of the situation involves A) justifying the positions taken B) pursuing endorsements and
support of influential community members; C) providing evidence; D) referencing experts; and E) credentialing
people who speak on behalf of the cause
Mobilizing for action includes sub processes such as A) emphasizing the necessity of immediate, effective action; B)
coordinating activities with supportive others; c) neutralizing controversy and alternative viewpoints D) developing
alliances; and E) confronting opponents
Formulating an Official plan - If peoples interested are sustained they may become involved in formulating an official
plan. A) defining and promoting preliminary agendas; B) encountering obstacles, resistances, and blockages; and C)
negotiating and redefining the agendas with insiders and outsiders
Implementing the official plan - Focus on A) announcing policies and programs; B) assigning responsibility and
culpability; C) establishing rule enforcers; D) encountering resistance from targets, rule enforcers and other third
parties; E) assessing the effectiveness of the official plan; and F) enforcing and adjusting the official plan in attempts
to make it readily implementable
1. What are the major players in Anthony Platt's analysis of the "Rise of the Child Saving Movement"?
Anthony Platt outlines the roles of moral entrepreneurs in the rise of the child-saving movement in North America in
the late 1800s. As the movement took shape a wide variety of people became involved: physicians, clergy, court
personnel, welfare workers, and educators. She describes the movement though, still as a feminist movement as
people claimed that childrearing was seen as essentially female domain.
This group was concerned with controlling crime, social welfare, and the protection of the young. The child-savers
were not only instrumental in creating A) a new category of deviants (delinquents), but were also responsible for
generating b) a new legal administrative process (juvenile court and c) a new correctional system (juvenile
reformatories). They thought that children were born with defects that could foster a life of crime and/or could be
corrupted by undesirable living conditions, the intention was to use expertise combined with an emphasis on social
welfare and religious and moral direction to reform youthful offenders and to protect other young people from
undesired influences. Labeling Deviants - Chapter 5 of DM
1. We discussed a 5-step process of labeling in class - what are those five stages? What does each process centrally
Typing refers to the process by which one person (agent) arrives at a private definition of another (target). Not all
typings are made known to the target and/or other, and although agents may occasionally blurt out their private
typings, they are seen to make decisions as to whether or not to make these typings known to others.
Designating occurs when agents make indications (verbal and/or behavioral) about targets to theirs, thus more publicly
defining targets as particular types of people. As others (including the target) learn of these designations, they tend to
assess (move to below definition)
Assess these for their appropriateness or “goodness of fit” relative to their knowledge and views of the target. When
target references are seen as to inappropriate (too soft, or harsh, inaccurate), interested persons then decide whether to
resist target designations and in what ways to do so.
Readjust - People readjust their notions of the targets. labels are contested at one or more points in time, those
invoking the initial designation or others need not accept these challenges as viable. People may change their minds on
2. Of what significance is labeling for the stabilization of people's involvement in deviance (refer to Becker,
Dramatization of Evil - The delinquent defines his acts as adventure, or fun while the community defines it as
nuisance, or evil. This definition slowly gets moved from the actions of the delinquent to the delinquent himself. This
process makes the criminal. It tags, defines and emphasizes the very traits that are complained of.
Lemert (see “secondary deviation below)
Career Contingencies Becker posits that deviance is best examined in process terms, by an attentiveness to the
conditions affecting peoples participation in activities over time. Just like someone has a career as a doctor or ballerina
or student someone might have a career as a gambler, or burglar. The difference is not the activities that the people do
but the meanings that people attribute to their activities and associates. Deviance is a social activity, a product of
3. To what does the concept, "secondary deviation" refer (Lemert)? What does this process entail? How is it different
from "primary deviation"? For Lemert, what does the "labeling process" entail? Of what significance is this notion for
understanding people's careers as "deviants?"
Secondary deviation refers to a special class of socially defined responses which people make to problems created by
the societal reaction to their deviance. When a person begins to employ his deviant behavior or a role based upon it as
a means of defense, attack, or adjustment to the overt and covert problems created by the consequent societal reaction
to him, his deviation is secondary. Lemert uses the term primary deviation to define the many instances of deviance
that do undetected or might be responded to only in fleeting manners and perpetrators maintain essentially acceptable
identities in the community. Secondary deviation as those behaviours that develop as a consequence of community
attempts to control instances of behavior that they define as troublesome and in need of regulation, modification or
sanction. Lemert therefore envisions people as more likely to continue their involvements in deviance when they are
subject to more extensive and persistent identification (and reaction, including exclusion) as deviants in the
community. If people see the person as deviant they may act in ways that serve to reaffirm the targets identities in the
community (self-fulfilling prophecies).
4. When and how, according to Harold Garfinkel, (the conditions of successful degradation ceremonies) are
imputations of deviance most likely to "stick" or be accepted within a community?
Garfinkel posits that degradation ceremonies are most likely to be successful when 1) the alleged “activity” is
considered more unusual, is presumed intended by the perpetrator, and is at variance with fundamental group values; 2) the “denouncer” is perceived to act in the interest of the group, has the authority to speak on behalf of the group,
and is himself considered an honourable member of the group; 3) “witnesses” to the activity in quest are of personal
interests relative to the target; and 4) the “perpetrators” are considered disrespectable in other ways
5. Provide clear definitions to the following terms that Erving Goffman uses in Stigma:
a. Discreditable (give an example): When people anticipate that others might condemn their activities were they to
learn of them, when people participate in deviance in secret and know if their actions became public they would
be stigmatized. they have not yet been identified a discredited (A man visiting a prostitute and has not been
b. The “wise” (give an example): People who may develop suspicions about discreditable attributes that would go
unnoticed by other audiences (because they might have past involvement in similar practices or knowledgeable
through intimate awareness of others involved). example: A past drug user seeing the initial side effects in
someone else who has not yet been caught for using drugs.
c. Moral career: Peoples sense of self-worth over time.
d. Passing (give an example): One allows oneself to be viewed as normal, respectable and the like (despite
possessing some quality that others would consider discrediting)
e. Natural cycle of passing: Situations in which people A) pass inadvertently B) come to see advantages of
avoiding discreditation C) embark on practices explicitly intended to enable them to avoid being discredited by
f. Covering (give an example): An attempt to reduce the visibility of their discreditable qualities and making
themselves less obtrusive in certain regards
g. Ambivalence of identity: Discredited people do not know when (or to what extent) they will be accepted as
normals or treated as deviants by their associates.
h. Minstrelization: those who envision themselves as subject to deviant statuses also may openly dramatize, fluent
or emphasize these identities or other aspects of their roles, thus drawing attention to this problematic sense of
8. Using Goffman’s work on Stigma as your base, answer the following:
What is stigma?
a. Stigma is a negative quality or evaluation attributed to some person or group rather than an inherent or
objective quality of some target. Tribal stigma (group association), body (or physiological qualities); and
character (traits, habits, mannerisms) imputations. Some people assume active roles in attempts to minimize
the unwanted negativity associated with imputations of deviance, but that also may attempt to project images
of self that encourage others to define them in more desired manners.
b. What is meant by “secondary gains” associated with stigma? Illustrate with a clear example. Secondary gains
refer to advantages of “being identified as a deviant; stigmatized.
How do people acquire identities as deviants? From other labeling them as deviant and them from internalizing this
Structuralist: interchangeable with the term positivist. Refer to the idea that something makes or causes people to act in
certain ways. They ask why did or what makes people do things. They focus on conditions, forces, factors, or variables
they think are responsible for specific outcomes or results.
Structuralist approach to deviance: asks what things make or cause people to behave in certain ways. They assume two
major emphases: 1- internal forces that affect individuals from within (they are psychologically different from others)
and 2- external forces that impact people to produce troublesome behaviour or outcomes (cosmic, geographical,
demographical). Structuralists claim that things have fixed or objective qualities. Interpretivist: place considerable emphasis on the ways in which people make sense of their situations and assume that
people invoke agency in developing their behaviours or activities. Emphasize the ways people interpret situations and
act towards these in meaningful, purposive terms.
Interpretivists differ among themselves – some say human agency is individualistic, some say it is a
collectively achieved process. Some see agency as a quality, others as what people actually do. Interpretivists claim
that is it people who define or give meaning to particular things.
Symbolic Interactionist has a strong intersubjectivist emphasis (emphasis on language). Intersubjectivitst: recognition
that human realities are achieved through a mutuality or sharedness of language within particular groups or
Human behaviour is a product of the forces, factors Human behaviour is actively constructed by people on an
or structures ongoing basis as they take themselves and others into account
within a context of community life.
Objectivist viewpoint on human behaviour (objects People are qualitatively different from other objects.
have meaning that people attend or people assign
meanings to objects.
Pre-existing, standardized, non-reflective object- Emphasis on the ways in which people create object-focused
based reality. realities in minded term.
People are qualitatively different from other objects.
Ethnographic inquiry (building on participant observation) is
the predominant methodology.
Subcultures/Deviant Life-worlds: Chapter 6, 7, and 8 in DM
1. Outline the basic premises (assumptions) of symbolic interaction (chapter 2 of DM). (SEE CHAPTER 2 ABOVE)
a. What questions do S.I.’s ask in approaching the study of deviance? (SEE CHAPTER 1 #2 ABOVE)
2. People (deviants included) act toward objects in terms of the meanings that they have for these objects. Tell how
people give (develop, share) meanings to things.
a. Discuss this process in light of Howard Becker’s analysis of “Becoming a Marijuana User.” Becker says that
a given kind of behaviour is the result of a sequence of social experiences during which the person acquires a
conception of the meaning of the behaviour, and perceptions and judgments of objects and situations, all of
which make the activity possible and desirable. The motivation or disposition to engage in a activity is built
up in the course of learning to engage in it and does not come before this learning process. Therefore it is not
certain „traits‟ that „cause‟ the behaviour, it is persons concept of the activity and of the experience it provides
How a person goes from not being a marijuana user to a user. Starting: they know that others use it to get high,
he is curious about it, ignorant of what it might turn out to be, and afraid it will be more than he bargained for.
1) Step 1: Learning to smoke the drug in a way that will produce real effects. They try it for the first time
and they might not get a high (because they don‟t smoke it right) therefore their conception of it does not
change and they get to pleasure, usage will most likely stop. If they can get high they get pleasure and
conception of it will change. Marijuana is considered useless to the person unless their conception of it
changes and can only do this if they get high. 2) Step 2: Learning to recognize the effects and connect them with drug use. If they get high they have to
recognize the symptoms and then associate this with the drug. Again if this does not happen then the
person‟s perception of the drug will not change and they will stop using it. If the persons can relate certain
symptoms to being high and his experience (in his mind) is caused by the drug then his conception will
change. Interaction with others is important as they help identify what the symptoms are and if each other
are high. They show each other the symptoms (it might be missed, like playing one song for two hours but
the person only thinks it was 2 minutes and others tell him). SO it takes more than just the user getting high
for the perception to change, they have to perceive that they did get high.
3) Step 3: Learning to enjoy the sensations he perceives. If he is to continue being a user he must definition
the experiences and symptoms he has while as pleasurable. Some people don‟t like losing track of time,
feeling dizzy, thirsty, hungry. He must define these experiences as pleasurable. the experience might be
interpretive as scary or unwanted and they stop using. Even experienced users might have a fighting use
while high and stop using. Once they decide it is not pleasurable for them they will stop. The like hood
depends on the degree of the individual‟s participation with other users. Others can quickly talk him out of
a. Does Becker see drug use as a function of “individual qualities” or “personality types”? Explain. Drug use is
a matter of how people conceive drug use. If go the process of learning that drug use is pleasurable then they will be a
user. Therefore it is done in a community with others and other influence how the user defines his experiences. It is
not some physical or genetic but something that is a process and developed in community. .
3. Objects take on meanings by the ways that people act toward them. Tell how people give meanings to
things/acquire meanings for things.
a. Discuss this process from an interactionist viewpoint, drawing specifically on Daniel Wolf’s study of outlaw
bikers. Be sure to display your familiarity with both S.I. and Wolf’s study.
b. Discuss this process from an interactionist viewpoint, drawing specifically on Howard Becker’s study of
people’s involvement with marijuana (as an object). Display your familiarity with this study in developing
4. In class we spent some time discussing the “career contingency” concept (Chapter 6 of DM, four broader
a. Outline the four basic processes subsumed by the CC model and tell what they entail (not just initial
involvements). The notion of career contingencies encourages analysts to ask about things to which the
participants more commonly attend as they work their way through the situations at hand. Examining the
“what” and “how” (vs. why) of involvements and focusing on the histories or careers of people‟s participation
in particular situations.
The four basic processes of career contingency:
1) Initial Involvements: Considers the ways in which people enter into these situations; how people enter into
group-related activities and individual activities. Emphasis is put on the ways in which people engage
situations as agents (attending to people as minded, reflective, acting, and interacting entities. This process
also acknowledges people`s ability to shape one another`s participation in situations (to influence and resist
others). This examines people`s initial involvements in process terms (people`s involvements can be
tentative, partialized, and multifaceted in their developments. The situation is not the same for all who
venture into particular subcultures because their past experiences differ. Also, the initial i