Chapter 7Deviance and Crime
Deviance: occurs when someone departs from a norm.
Informal punishment: involves a mild sanction that is imposed during face-to-
face interaction, not by the judicial system.
Stigmatized: People who are stigmatized are negatively evaluated because of a
marker that distinguishes them from others and this is labelled as socially unac-
Formal punishment: takes place when the judicial system penalizes someone
for breaking a law.
Social diversions: are minor acts of deviance that are generally perceived as
relatively harmless and that evoke, at most, a mild societal reaction, such as
amusement or disdain.
Social deviations: are non-criminal departures from norms that are nonetheless
subject to official control. Some members of the public regard them as somewhat
harmful while other members of the public do not.
Conflict crimes: are illegal acts that many people consider harmful to society.
However, other people think they are not very harmful.They are punishable by the
Consensus crimes: are illegal acts that nearly all people agree are bad in them-
selves and harm society greatly. The state inflicts severe punishment for consensus
Social constructionism: argues that apparently natural or innate features of
life are often sustained by social processes that vary historically and culturally. It
emphasizes how some people are in a position to create norms and pass laws that
define others as deviant or criminal.
White-collar crime: refers to an illegal act committed by a respectable, high-
status person in the course of his or her work.
Street crimes: include arson, break and enter, assault, and other illegal acts dis-
proportionately committed by people from lower classes. Victimless crimes: involve violations of the law in which no victim steps for-
ward and is identified.
Self-report surveys: In self-report surveys, respondents are asked to report
their involvement in criminal activities, either as perpetrators or as victims.
Victimization surveys: are surveys in which people are asked whether they
have been victims of crime.
Social control: refers to methods of ensuring conformity.
Motivational theories: identify the social factors that drive people to commit
deviant and criminal acts.
Constraint theories: identify the social factors that impose deviance and crime
(or conventional behaviour) on people.
Strain theory: holds that people may turn to deviance when they experience
strain. Stain results when a culture teaches people the value of material success
and society fails to provide enough legitimate opportunities for everyone to suc-
Subcultural theory: argues that gangs are a collective adaptation to social con-
ditions. Distinct norms and values that reject the legitimate world crystallize in
Techniques of neutralization: are the rationalizations that deviants and crim-
inals use to justify their activities. Techniques of neutralization make deviance and
crime seem normal to deviants and criminals themselves.
Differential association: theory holds that people learn to value deviant or
non-deviant lifestyles depending on whether their social environment leads them to
associate more with deviants or non-deviants.
Labeling theory: holds that deviance results not so much from the actions of the
deviant as from the response of others, who label the rule breaker a deviant.
Master status: Aperson’s master status is his or her overriding public identity.
It is the status that is most influential in shaping that person’s life at a given time. Control theory: holds that the rewards of deviance and crime are ample. There-
fore, nearly everyone would engage in deviance and crime if they could get away
with it, and the degree to which people are prevented from violating norms and
laws accounts for variations in the level of deviance and crime.
Conflict theory: The conflict theory of crime holds that deviance and crime
arise out of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless.
Moral panic: occurs when many people fervently believe that some form of de-
viance or crime poses a profound threat to society’s well-being.
Recidivism rates: indicate the p