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Moral Passage Reading.docx

Social Sci, Edu and Soc Work - Sociology
Course Code
SOCY 276
Stacey Alarie

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Moral Passage: The Symbolic Process in Public Designations of Deviance.
– Joseph Gusfield
Public reactions in labeling deviants as outsiders
Historical changes leads to changes in the way we treat deviance
Functions of the Law
Laws favour public and societal interest
Government defines public norms of morality
They influence the allocation of resources
They dictate which acts violate public norms
Political act
Competing and conflicting cultural groups
Instrumental function of government acts
Government directly influences actions of people
Eg laws against bargaining
They must be enforced in order to work
Symbolic Function of Law and Government acts
Do not depend on enforcement for their effect
There is symbolic meaning in behaviours when certain people see it
We put meaning on the decision to act itself
Becomes symbolic when it affects public norms
Laws demonstrate what the interest are in a society
Laws demonstrate social control
Eg gambling
Law is used to control and prevent that behaviour
Law is also used to minimize conflicts between cultures
Law is used to demonstrate public morality for that society
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