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SOCB50H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Mens Rea

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Joe Hermer
Study Guide

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-Deviance: Behaviours, ideas and attributes that elicit a negative reaction, one of disapproval. .
Deviance is also something that does not follow a social norm, it offends/subverts the social
norm. People’s attribute can be the source of shunning and rejection. (example: Disfigured,
obese, ugly, crippled). Behaviours, ideas and attributes that fail to elicit a negative response
cannot be considered deviant.
-Norm: A norm is behaviours, an attribute or an idea that is widely viewed as acceptable at a
particular place and time. Norms are highly relative and situational. They are genreally
mainstream or dominant norms where a large number of people agree on them. Norms are
polymorphous and multi-sided. They tend to be agreed or disagreed on based on your culture,
principles, values and ideas. Many norms are also internalized. Some norms that we follow
everyday are very profound and invisible, we are not aware of them, but we follow them. We
participate in everyday mundane norms as it makes us comfortable and it is expected of us.
Humans are social creatures and we rely on each other, conforming to norms is a way for
others to not shy away from us. Following norms also help us minimize conflicts.
-Objectivist: Takes social norms as given and ‘natural’. They want to figure out how to make
people conform to norms. They focus most of their attention on explaining why people violate
social norms and how they can be dissuaded from doing so.
-Subjectivist: They do not take social norms as given; norms are a product of social relations.
There is an acknowledgement of conflict and dissent. Subjectivists are interested in how norms
are constructed and what the consequences are. There is an emphasis on origins,
implementation and impacts. Attention paid to emphasizing critical roles of social definitions
and social power in the creation of deviance.
-Law: A codified statement of government that has sovereign power. It is in the authority of the
-Mala in se: Bad in itself. Wide-spread consensus about things that you should not do.
(example: murder, rape, robbery, theft)
-Mala prohibita: Crimes that are illegal because the law says it’s criminal. These are mortality
offences. (example: Smoking weed, pornography, prostitution, public intoxication) These acts
have a high normative content to it.
-Actus Reus: The requirement of an act—the act of doing. Commission is the act of doing
something prohibited (example: assault, breaking and entering), while omission signifies the
failing to do something required by law (example: filing one’s income tax).
-Mens rea: The ‘guilty mind’. One must be capable for forming intent and capable of knowing
that an action is illegal. Operating on the assumption that people behave on the basis of their
own free will. They have the ability to accurately foresee the consequences of their actions.
-Denotative meaning: The literal, descriptive meaning that is stripped of norms.
-Connotative meaning: Relies on the cultural and historical context of the image and what the
image means personally and culturally.
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