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SOCI 2445 (18)
Chapter 3

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Carleton University
SOCI 2445
Darryl Davies

Sociology of DevianceChapter 3 page 4149Conflict TheoryIn a traditional or simple society people share the same cultural values and therefore can have harmonious relationships with one anotherSuch value consensus and social harmony are absent in modern industrial societiesInstead there is a great deal of social and cultural conflictSocial conflict has to do with the incompatible interests needs and desires of such diverse groups as business companies versus labour unions conservative versus liberal political groups etcCultural conflict has to do with the discrepant norms and values that derive from definitions of right and wrongthat is considered right in one culture is considered wrong in anotherConflict as well as its resulting criminality is an inherent normal and integral part of modern societyThose sociologists who held this view 70 years ago may be regarded as conflict theoristsThose conflict theorists failed to develop systematically the notion of conflict as the source of criminal definition rather than behaviour They were still very much tied to the traditional positivist concern with the casual explanation of criminal behaviour In the mid1960s a group of conflict theorists emerge to explore criminality systematically as a matter of definition Since the mid 1970s some of these new conflict theorists have begun to deal with the causation of deviance but in a different way from the early conflict theorists Legal Reality TheoryThere are two kinds of law according to William ChamblissOne kind is the law on the books the ideal of law and the other is the law in action the reality of lawAccording to the law on the books legal authorities ought to be fair and just by treating all citizens equallyThe law in action shows that legal authorities are actually unfair and unjust favouring the rich and powerful over the poor and weak Many people may blame the discrepancy between the two types of law on the evil character of lawmaking and lawenforcing individuals but Chambliss rejects such an individual interpretationHe shows how those individuals are heavily influenced by the historical and organizational background of the lawModern AngloAmerican law stems from the legal system of early England Its central feature is that personal wrongs are considered transgressions against the state and that only the state has the right to punish the transgressors
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