Sociology of Deviance: Cumulative Exam Review 04/12/2014
Why Study deviance:
1) the Vicarious Experience
- How we experience criminality and deviance through others
- We make so much money now through vicarious experience, shows such as criminal minds and CSI,
examines the deviant underground behaviours and the audiences find them far more interesting then every
day life. Ratings show for this. We experience the thrills without taking the risk ourselves.
- This however is not a good reason or motivation for research because it distorts the image of deviance
because it focuses on extremes.
- Makes deviance seem like its marginalized but deviance actually happens every day… every part of our
lives includes rule following and rule breaking
- Lately sociology has moved away from the extreme situations and has been looking at the more
normalized forms of deviance, this tells us deviance is not marginalized
- Often falls under policy sociology or people who are looking to change policy and public perception
about some form of behaviour
- People who are interested in reform usually aim to give people a better understanding of why bad things
happen in this world
- Usually people who have had personal experience with what they are trying to reform, usually driven by
personal pain or personal experience.
- Usually with the aim to change peoples minds about a certain deviant population, trying to de-stigmatize
a group of people.
- The search for reform policy’s sometimes outrun tested knowledge, for example, lots of popular
solutions not necessarily accurate to solve crime but have actually been counteractive
-Also the popular belief that if you understand a deviant behavior you will accept or excuse it and this is
not true at all
- Reform also trys to promote that many forms of deviance are not as bad as they are made out to be, the
promotion of harmfulness is done by people who have a vested interest in defining a behavior as
deviant… example the weed publication.. reefer madness, these people almost always have something to
gain from making these behaviors deviant
3) Self Protection & Sophistication
- Feel better when you know about something and understand something, if you understand something
your in a better position to be less fearful of it - Can spend more time protecting yourself from things that are actually harmful
- Read the Gift of Fear
4) Understanding Oneself and Others
- Some people enjoy having a deviant image sometimes… or all the time
- when we learn about other peoples choices … our choices become more clear… help us to make our
5) Intellectual Curiosity
- Just being intellectually curious, want to know why people do what they do.
1) Negative Response
- behaviour elicits criticism or punishment and is deviant in the eyes of the people who react this way.
- Ridicule, scorn, exclusion, punishment, discrimination, fear disgust
2) Tolerant Response
- Psychics, tolerated deviance within society
- Think their weird but don’t believe we should send them to jail
-Another example is people who believe in ghosts
3) Denial Response
- Don’t want someone to be viewed as deviant so we make what their doing okay, we make excuses for
them 4) Romanticization or Demonization
- In the absence of hard evidence a person can become seen as a monster or a hero
- Example of this is robin hood, hero to the poor deviant to the rich, guy who slid out of air plane
-Another example of this is women who fall in love with serial killers.
Subjective Positions on Deviance:
- Focus: Deviance as a social construction
- this position was born out of a rejection of the objectivist position
- Those who follow this position adhere to a different philosophy of reality, they believe reality is
something that is created between people.
- There is nothing inherent in a behaviour or characteristic that makes it deviant
- Born out of a rejection for objective definitions
- Reality is created by human interaction
- Value rich social research
- Deviant only if dominant moral codes of society say the behaviour is deviant
3 Types of Explanations:
- Use scientific methodology
- We can equate “objective” approaches with this explanation
- Functionalism and its spin-offs
- Scientific explanations, empathetic and ideological explanations
- This is the objective positions, positivistic positions
Empathetic Explanations: - Attempt to understand deviance as a “human” thing
- Mainly via symbolic interactionism and interpretation (interpretive sociology)
- Best way to study people is in their own environment whether its covert or overt
- Subjective perspectives/theories
- Crime funnel and dark figure of crime (Deviance that goes unrecorded)
- Based on a system of ideas that are held as irrefutable doctrine…
- Not really open to new ideas
- not used much, not scientific
- Based on system of ideas that are held as irrefutable doctorate
– religious authorities who demand obedience.
- Usually religious based and passionate belief
- Not open to new ideas
Early Explanations of Deviance: The Demonic Perspective
- Deviance was EXPLAINED (rather than described) as being caused by SUPERNATURAL FORCES.
- Deviance thought to be caused by forces of the supernatural realm
- when bad things happened in society like floods or crops failing No one looked to physiology, medical,
environmental or natural reasons for “bad” things.
- Looked to socerers, witches and demons to explain these events.
- No coincidences either… Pantheistic World View
- The doctrine that regards the universe as a manifestation of the gods
- Deviance (and all “bad” things) are the acts of gods and/or hostile spirits
- Deviance is not predictable or preventable
Monotheistic World View:
- Belief in only one god, deity or spirit….
- Ie: Judaism, Christianity, Islam
- Deviance of all forms has some human accountability …. For giving into the forces of evil.
- 2 Pathways: Temptation and Possession
Social Control of Demonic Deviance:
1) Exorcism: Cleansing the body of demonic influence
2) Destroying the demonic influence via purifying the individual through extreme suffering or death
- Still preformed in groups to this day and are led by a priest
- Can result in death from over cleansing
- Exorcisms can also be preformed by psychologists or psychiatrists to rid obsessive compulsive
- Techniques range from prayers, holy water, laying of the hands, dances, trances and burning of animal
- Collective psychosis or mania - Things such as plagues commonly followed by witch hunts
- Witch craze seen as a symptom of the new dualist or monotheistic way of looking at the world.
- Witch craze began with Roman Catholic Inquisition
- Witch hunting received considerable boost from the Franciscan and Dominican brotherhood
- First book to codify all that was know about witchcraft
- First set of standards about the persecution of witches
Classical Theories of Deviance: (Chapter 4)
- New philosophies emerging that challenged religious world views, looks at deviance as a rational
calculation, people have the choice to be deviant and break the law, people no longer viewed as inherently
Thinkers of enlightenment:
- Deviance: behaviour that eroded the greater good of society, greatest happiness for the greatest number
- Torture was futile – not a means for salvation, couldn’t save deviant beings in this way anymore
- Deterrence was emerging as the new way to control deviance
- Religion and science fought each other during this time
- Swift and certain punishment is what we got out of the enlightenment era
- Cost of deviant behaviour must be higher then the pleasure someone gets out of being deviant.
Punishment should only be enough for people to chose conformity.
- development of a system, a way to treat people who didn’t conform in society. Believed punishment
should fit the crime, did this so people who didn’t conform didn’t stand alone against a very chaotic
- This is where the idea of a right to a fair trial came form, a more systematic way of dealing with people. Rational,hedonisticactor withfreewill
Assessment of probablyrisk
Decisionto conformor offend
5 Central Tenants of the Classical View:
1) People are hedonistic; chose deviance or conformity when trying to meet their needs.
2) People have free will
3) Society represents a social contract
4) Punishment: sufficiently severe & predictable
5) Goal of Society: the greatest good for the greatest number
Social Justice In the 18 Century:
- Change in thinking was spurred by several factors:
- Law and punishment were arbitrary, unpredictable, tortorous, etc, often because judges could do
whatever they wanted… they were also underpaid and could easily be bought off by those with a lot of
money making the system unjust and unfair
- Life was chaotic, social order was out of control, lfe was unpredictable and hard for most people…
many people got away with their crimes
- if you did get caught you were made a terrible example of because punishments were public, sever and
- Mostly French thinkers
- Tried to apply reason to all aspets of life… if the accepted ways of doing things don’t make sense then
these things should be changed
- Opposed the clergy and divine right… didn’t like these things because these people were the richest in
franc and didn’t pay any taxes to begin
- Most philosophers turned away from traditional religious beliefs and looked towards reason. - Faith in reason rather than church
- Looked at jesus as a great moral teacher instead of the son of God
- Most were deists – they believed in God as the creator of the universe but rejected church rituals and the
authority of the clergy
- Their philosophy: The Greatest Happiness For the Greatest Number
- Wrote a book called Leviathan; great big sea monster
- Social Contract
- He live through the horrors of the civil war and convinced him that people are mean and rotten and if
they aren’t governed this is how life will be
- Hobbes argued that to escape this life people have to hand over their rights to have law and order
- Believed you needed a strong body… sort of like a monarchy
- Believed the best government would be one that had the power of a levianthon… demanded order from
Voltaire and Cesare Beccaria:
- Wrote a book together.. below are the six main points
- Believed crime was a reasonable behavior, waned to make crime less rational by changing social
- Social contract is workable when laws are universally enforced and clearly stated.. this shows them
trying to get rid of that unsystematic way of dealing with crime.
1)All people are motivated by pain and pleasure
2) The basis of all social action should be the greatest good for the greatest number
3) The greatest happiness is ensured by the social contract
4) The social contract is workable when laws are known, clear and enforced 5) Crime must be considered an injury to society
6) Punishment: justifiable only to prevent criminal conduct
-AUtilitarian… obsessed with changing society as is was
- Utilitarian= greatest good for the greatest amount of people
- he saw society was a complete mess and law needed to be completely reformed.
- Control deviance by changing the rules and showing that conformity was the best way to happiness, not
by hurting people for their choices.
- He had formulas for how to punish people. If you get X units of pleasure for breaking the law your
punishment should be X+1
- believed punishment should only ever be used to stop further non conformity
- Developed the Panopticon prison, all seeing place and the philosophy of surveillance.
-At the time prisons were only a holding cell before being punished, Bentham thought this should be the
extent of the punishment that they would reflect on what they did this is when prison became the
- Symbolic representation of society
- idea of constant surveillance, possibility of being watched is always there.. this cuts down on staff
- Put these in very heavily populated arrears to remind people what would happen if you break the social
- idea of this prison never caught on though Bentham tried
- Fouco used the panopticon as a representation of society, we are constantly being watched by others to
see who’s being deviant, idea that in modern society we surveil people and we are surveilled all the
time… Prime example is Facebook
- Classical theory in application was too rigid
- Systems were gradually modified - Judges needed a little more power to consider circumstances in which crime and deviance were
- 3 new concepts: mitigating factors, past record, differences in free will
- found once they applied everything it was too rigid, neoclassical thinkers modified it…
- Mitigating factors are factors that make crimes more acceptable, taking into consideration the
circumstances in which the crime occurred.
Classical Theory: The modern Legacy
1)Absolute deterrence- Penalties that are so sever and quick that no crimes are committed
2) Relative deterrence- Frequent and serious enough that encourage people to make other choices
3) General deterrence- We see others getting caught and don’t want to do it because of this
4) Specific deterrence- Direct personal effect, actual personal experience of getting punished encourages
you to make the right choice next time. This usually works better with reward… sometimes punishment
works in the opposite way.
5) Restrictive deterrence- people are deterred from doing things selectively, selectively avoid doing what I
do based on who’s around
- Fear of being caught redirects peoples activities.
- Deterrence only works for people who are not committed to a life of time.
Biological & Physiological explanations of deviance:
- Looking at the idea that maybe the body is responsible for criminal behavior, and not rational decision
- Positivism This was a time for the emergence
- Scientific explanations of crime and deviance
- Biological Determinism; essentially mean behaviour is determined biologically
- Yet another paradigm shift from the Classical Era Born Criminal Theory
Emerging: Criminal Anthropology
- What we know now is that no one is born a criminal or evil, no one is pre-determined to be a deviant
- criminal anthropology was developing, deviance is not just inborn but can be determined by someone’s
Physiognomy: study of facial features, this was when someone’s facial features was associated by
personality and someone’s behaviour
Phrenology: mapped the brain – identified areas related to personality & behaviour, example, if the front
of your brain means the violence section and there was a lump there that would mean that your are violent
Craniometry: classifying human types by brain size and skull measurements, if size was too big or too
small then it was a sign of criminal behaviour or deviance. Had strange tools that precisely measure your
Lombroso: Criminal Anthropology
- Italian psychiatrist
- Credited as the father of criminology
- Focus: Biological causes of deviance & crime and biological determinism.
- Looked at physical and biological determinants of crime
- BiologicalAtavism: criminals were evolutionary throw-backs or degenerates
- This theory relied on strange physical characteristics and abnormalities of people like bushy eyebrows
- His work was pretty off scientifically
- We still do this socially, make assumptions on what or who people are based on what they look like.
- The evolution of human societies from “primitive” to “civilized” - The criminal, the poor, the mentally ill, the less intelligent, those with low morals… would die out.
- Herbert spencer applied concept of evolution to an understanding of history ad society and coined the
term survival of the fittest
- If people within societies weren’t adapting as well as others they would die off but what was considered
superior unfortunately that was the British
- This was justification for a lot of nasty things to happen by more advanced societies (Example,
civilizing the savages, because they believed themselves to be more superior.)
- This thinking is dangerous because it can reduce the life chances of those seen as less fit
- Believed more fit people should pro create and those less fit should be sterile and die off.
- Believed they natural process would kill off the bad people and small minorities
- Gregor Mendal; started out working with seeds in plants
- This eded up having a huge impact on the study of deviance in humans
- Believed that deviance was genetically inherited; when this is the case its also inevitable… you don’t
have a lot of control over what kind of person you will be because its already determined.
- Deviance was inherited and therefore inevitable.
- Not only was it assumed that the fittest would survive but the determining factor in who was fit was
- These beliefs and assumptions led to the idea of the hereditary degenerate and degenerate families which
caused a lot of discrimination and policies to eliminate inferior beings.
Eugenics & Theories of Deviance:
- Francis Galton
- This means good birth - Habe very similar principles applied to it
- Little bit more micro, looking at specific groups of people in society
- Popularized by Social Darwinism
- Some social groups are more evolved than, and therefore biologically superior to, other groups.
- Result: programs & policies to increase reproduction in “superior” groups and decrease reproduction in
- Example of this is the holocaust, hitler being a big proponent of Eugenics.
-Another example is the Lebensonborn project; the idea of a master race program
Leilani Muir & the Sexual SterilizationAct (Alberta)
- 1928: Sexual SterilizationAct act passed in albert
- People who were seen to be a moron or morally defective were be allowed to sexual sterilize them
-Anyone who didn’t exemplify proper social norms
- Evaluate and involuntarily sterilize “mental defectives” and “morons” at puberty.
- Leilani’s mom dropped her off at the red deer training school and never came back, it was more of a
child prison then a school
- Shortly after she was assessed and labelled a mental defective without her knowledge or permission she
- Years later when she left the school she tried to go about a normal life got married and she couldn’t get
regnant and the doctor told her she looked as though she had been though a slaughter house.
- Then when her and her husband couldn’t get preggo they wanted to adopt and she couldn’t because of
the stigma of being a resident at the red deer training school; perfect example of labelling affecting your
-After all this she sued the province of Alberta and she was awarded 740000 in damages and 240000 of
legal costs, then the government of albert made it illegal to sue the province
- This protected them from getting sued by any of the thousands who lived in this school
- This also is a good example of someone fighting their label and winning Genetic Loading; the one with the most credibility to Neisha, suggests that the hypothesis some sort of
criminal behaviour or episodes of violence that a person who is not normal engages in… says a person
can be born with an abnormality in the brain that you would never know about but they look at that
abnormality as a gun… environmental factors end up being the trigger to that gun. Stressors can include
things like alcohol, pornography etc.
Theories of the Body and Mind & The Social Disorganization Perspective
- Psychological explanations of Deviance, focus on the mind of the individual
- small section of the medicalization of deviance in text that we don’t have to read until the new year, only
need to know like two pages of chapter 6 for today
- Sigmund Freud
- Founder of psychoanalytic school of psychology, these had a large impact on the study of deviance
- Major contributor to the world of the unconscious mind
- Freud never claimed to be any kind of philosopher but had some pretty good ideas about how people
think and look at the world.
- One of his positions was the ID EGO and SUPER EGO
The ID: pleasure principle, think of children as little walking ID’s , the part of us that wants and that can
be greedy… the only part of the personality Freud said we were born with the other parts are from
- Purely the manifestation of the pleasure principle, hedonistic element to this, the part of ourselves that
remind us we are animals…. Also the impulsive part of us
- Part of Psyche that can be emotional and is our survival instincts.
- It is biological and rooted in the mind at birth
The SUPEREGO: holds your morals, judgy, moralizing and encompasses all the things we know to be
right and wrong
- The part that lets us function and be a functioning member of society… the job of the super ego is to
suppress the wants of the ID… it is our conscious
- Developed through socialization and incorporated societal expectation. - Part of ourselves that feels proud and ashamed
- Its about being socially appropriate
The EGO: The Reality Principle, the mediator
-Allows you to let out the wants of the ID but at socially appropriate times
- what’s interesting about this is that its useful because it shows how biological and social forces come
together to explain the process of the human mind.
-Acriminal may lack the strength of the EGO or SUPEREGO to keep the ID in check
- Deviant behaviour