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Chapter 14

NS - Chapter 14 – Deviance and Crime.docx

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McMaster University
Sandra Colavecchia

Chapter 14Deviance and CrimeConceptions of crime and devianceCrime and deviance as normviolating behavior One way of conceptualizing crime or deviance is to emphasize its rulebreaking qualities focusing in particular on its behavioral dimensionsSociologists refer to the rules in question as norms generally accepted ways of doing things Deviance involves breaking a norm Crime involves breaking a lawNorms are enforced in many waysThe most important are laws which are regulated by a criminal justice system that includes police courts prisons etcThe CJS responds to law violators in legally prescribed ways Many of the norms that control everyday life do not require legal interventionJohn Hagan suggested that norm violations can be differentiated by how serious they are how much agreement there is that the behavior is wrong and the severity of the sanction or punishment imposed on that behavior Hagan employs his conception of seriousness to identify different kinds of devianceHe designates a small group of offences as consensus crime acts that are felt to be very harmful and wrong and for which the harshest criminal sanctions are reservedThese consensus crimes are referred to in legal philosophy as crimes mala in secrimes that are evil in themselves Conflict crimeconflict means not that they involve acts of interpersonal violence or aggression but that members of the community disagree over whether the behaviors in question are harmful wrong or deserving of severe criminal sanction Mala prohibitacrimes wrong by definitionIe gambling prostitutionSocial stigma people may be condemned ostracized and musicalized because of a marker that sets them off from otherssuch as mentally ill homosexual or alcoholic peopleSocial diversionminority heterosexual and homosexual activities as well as forms of symbolic or expressive deviance involving adolescentsThe more serious the form of deviance the less likely it is to occurHagans typology is subject to changedrunk driving and women abuse is now treated more seriously than before One of the biggest changes is the view of cigarettesCrime and deviance as labels and social constructsLabeling theory A second approach to the study of deviance and crime is one that sees it as a matter of definitions or labels that have been applied to some behaviors but not others
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