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Deviance- Ch 1 and Unit 1.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Andrew Robinson

Chapter 1: Social Deviance 1  Deviance: behaviours, bleiefs or characteristics that many people in a society find or would find offensive and which excite, upon discovery, disapproval, condemnation, hostility or punishment o The process by which the actors, the believers, and the possessors character is tainted, stigmatized, and inferiorized  Denying the reality of deviance is entirely mistaken for 3 reasons: 1. We can find widespread agreement that certain acts and beliefs are wrong 2. What is regarded and reacted to as wrong is not simply about firm society wide consensus, but also about how certain social circles of people feel and what they do in specific situations and contexts 3. Some disagreement prevails even about widely accepted norms There are 4 necessary ingredients for deviance to take place 1. A rule or norm must exist 2. Someone must violate that norm 3. An audience must be present, someone who judges the normative violation to be wrong 4. There must be a measurable likelihood of a negative reaction by that audience (criticism, disapproval, censure, stigma)  When we say that in American society, generally, prostitutes, political radicals, and atheists tend to be looked down upon and regarded as deviants, this does not mean that we necessarily agree with the judgement.  It means that as sociologists, we recognize the certain negative consequences are likely to result from announcing this to a cross section of society o The terms deviant and deviance are absolutely non-pejorative: descriptive terms that apply to what others think and how they react o Deviance is an analytic category: it applies in all spheres and areas of human life: it is trans-historical an cross-cultural concept Societal and Situational Deviance  Societal deviance: composed of those actions and conditions that are widely recognized, in advance and in general, to be deviant (hierarchical) o High degree of consensus o Hierarchical/Vertical: the people with the most power get to say what is deviant and what is normal. Certain acts, beliefs and traits are deviant society wide because they are condemned but the majority, the most powerful members of society.  This raises the question of the dominance of one category or society over another. Some groups are more powerful, influential, and numerous than others  Social scientists say that a dominant beliefs or institution is hegemonic: it holds swat over beliefs helf or institutions supported by less powerful social groupings Chapter 1: Social Deviance 2  Situational Deviance: does not exist as a general, society-wide quality, but in actual, concrete social gatherings, circles or settings o A given act, belief or trait can be a normative violation in one group or society, and conformist in another o Mosaic/Horizontal: society/societies are mosaics of separate and independent collectivities of people who do not influence each other  This is compatible with the situational definition of deviance  Low consensus deviance: what fetches condemnation in one social circle produces indifference or even praise in another ABC’s of Deviance  Attitudes: unpopular, unconventional beliefs that may or may not manifest themselves into actions o Holding unconventional, unorthodox, or unpopular beliefs may be regarded as cognitive deviance  Behaviour: any overt action (including the failure to act) that is likely to attract condemnation, hostility or punishment o Actions speak louder than words. A dishonest character is revealed or manifested mainly by dishonest behaviour, a weak will and an inability to resist temptation  Conditions: physical characteristics or traits that likewise, make someone the target of an audiences disapproval o Possessing unconventional, unacceptable physical traits is deviant. If the disabled receive negative social reactions from the abled, they are deviant o Achieved status: some statuses are achieved, like graduating college o Ascribed status: statuses which are not achieved, but are thrust upon an infant at birth Tribal Stigma: a form of deviance that automatically discredits someone because they belong to a rac
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