Reading Lec 14 - Crime & Deviance

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16 Feb 2011
Sociology February 9
, 2011.
Crime & Deviance
New Society – Ch. 14
Deviance – breaking a nor m
John Hagan – Nor m violations can be differentiated by how serious they are by 3
different measure of seriousness: (1) how harmful t he act in question is deemed to
be, (2) how much agreement there is that the behaviour in question is wrong, and
(3) the severity of the sanction, or punishment, imposed on that behaviour
Labeling theorists – publicly recognizing someone as criminal or deviant is
important cause of criminal or deviant behaviour
Social constructionism – also same as labeling approach, however social
constructionism is broadly concerned w/ all kinds of social problems, whereas
labeling theor y applies specifically to crime and deviance
Strain theory – crime and deviance are result of societal pressures to break rules
relate to Durkheims anomies, where anomie exists when norms governing
behaviour are vaguely defined
Merton modified the concept to explain patterns of crime and deviance in 20
Merton – all societies establ ish culturally approved goals for their members and
socially approved means of achieving those goals
Imbalance b/w goals and means creates stress for lower class people, may want
things but lack legitimate means of achieving them (school and work
oppor tunities)
One mode of adaptation (Merton called itinnovation”) involves using criminal
means to achieve economic success goals
Social leaning theories – willingness to break rules is consequences of sorts of
socialization experience to which individuals have been exposed
E.g. people motivated engage in crime because have acquired favourable opinions
about what others regard as deviant behaviour
Edwin Sutherland, d ifferential association – pr imarily responsible for deviant
and non-deviant behaviours. If people experience more non-deviant than deviant
associations as they g row up, they are likely to follow the straight and narrow
Sutherland – criminals need to learn the skills of the trade (how to steal a car, or
rob a bank) and learn rationalizations that tell them that stealing other peoples
money or property is justifiable
Travis Hirschi, Control theory – set of ties binds young people to the
conventional world, and when those ties are weak, deviance and crime occur
Hirschi – we all have within us a natural inclination for rul e braking that is only
kept in check because we have developed attachments to family and friends,
commitments to conventional ambitions and activities in school and at work,
prosocial values and beliefs that we share w/ people who are important to us, and
conventional activities at school and at work
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