Ch. 9 Deviance
SchoolSimon Fraser University
DepartmentSociology and Anthropology
Course CodeSA 150
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SA 150 Ch. 9- deviance
The Social Foundations of Deviance:
1) Deviance varies according to cultural norms. Ex. Different legal drinking ages
at diff. provinces
2) People become deviant as others define them that way. Depends on how others
perceive or respond to other ppls’ activities.
3) Both rule making and rule breaking involve social power. Powerful ppl use
rules to protect their interests. (Marx)
Emile Durkheim: the Functions of Deviance:
1) Deviance affirms cultural values and norms. There can be no justice w/o crime.
2) Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries. Ppl draw social boundary
betw. Right and wrong.
3) Responding to deviance promotes social unity. Anniversaries to mourn a
4) Deviance encourages social change. Today’s deviance’s may become
tomorrow’s morality. Ex. Rock and Roll.
Robert Merton’s Strain Theory:
•There is limited opportunity, especially among the poor, to get rich. Thus,
ppl may resort to other ways to get rich
•Innovation: the attempt to achieve a culturally approved goal(wealth) by
unconventional means (drug sales)
•Ritualism: resolve the strain of limited success by abandoning cultural
goals in favour of almost compulsive efforts to live “respectably.”
•Retreatism: the rejection of both cultural goals and means so that one, in
effect, drops out. Ex. Alcoholics, drug addicts.
•Rebellion: reject both cultural def’n of success and normative means of
achieving it. Also, rebels advocate radical alternatives to the existing social order
(often suggestions are huge political or religious transformations)
Deviant Subcultures (Ohlin and Cloward):
•Criminal subcultures: illegal opportunities create these subcultures that offer
knowledge, skills and other resources needed to succeed in unconventional ways.
•Conflict subcultures: In highly transient neighborhoods that don’t provide
opportunity, legal or illegal, violence ignites due to frustration and desire for fame
•Retreatist subcultures: alcoholics, and/or drugs.
6 focal concerns of deviant subcultures:
1) Trouble, arises from frequent conflict w/ teachers and police
2) Toughness, the value placed on physical size, strength, and athleticism
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