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Chapter 2

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SOC 2070
Andrew Robinson

Social Deviance Chapter 2 Positivist Theories There are 2 distinct but interlocking enterprises that make up the study of deviance: 1. Essentialism: Objectivity, real, scientifically explainable 2. Constructionism: rules, judgements, labelling, contexts, audiences  Essentialism implies positivism. All positivists believe than an objective common core or threads hold all deviance and crime together—non believed that they are just a matter of social convention or construction. Positivism is the application of scientific method to the study of human behaviour 3 assumptions: 1. Empiricism: material world is real and science can know the world through the senses  “I trust my senses to tell me what is true”  Things that are not directly or indirectly observable through the senses cannot be explained/integrated into theoretical and conceptual perspectives and therefore are not scientific  This poses a problem because most human behaviour cannot been seen at the moment enacted 2. Objectivism: deviant behaviour is an objective ad real phenomena that can be distinguished from conforming behaviour  Reject the notion of right and wrong and believe there is a common and material reality to crime that is contained within the actions themselves, not how the actions are thought of  Things exist regardless of definitions. Ex: mental illnesses are not present just because we say there are or because of how they can be defined. They would be there regardless or acknowledgment or definition 3. Determinism: What causes deviant behaviour, beliefs and conditions?  Why do people commit crimes and deviance? How do certain characteristics and social situations influence this? What are the patterns?  Seeks natural explanations that can be found in the material world  Looks at the cause and effect explanations Theories Freewill/ Classical Sound  Tied to the enlightment period: philosophical ideas, tried to make sense of human nature and link it to social control  Role of hedonism: self interest causes people to seek pleasure and avoid pain o Why people may not want to commit crimes ex: reputation, don’t want to go to jail, morals and ethics o Why people may turn to crimes ex: make money, satisfy desires o Difficult to balance the impulsive side of people and the cautious side  Importance of free will: we determine our own behaviour o People chose to commit crimes or choose to conform to the law o Costs and benefits of committing crime  False assumptions made: o We now see that people are not completely rational in their behaviour, engage in deviant/ criminal behaviour for reasons aside from please and pain o What is pleasurable to one person may not be to another o The calculation of pleasure and pain when committing crimes is more complicated that what was thought because many criminals fo not get caught  Routine activity theory: argues that criminal behaviour will take place when and where there is o A) A motivated offender o B) A suitable target o C) the absence of a capable guardian o Ex: If students writing a test has no one watching over them, they would be much more likely to cheat Social Disorganization and the Chicago School:  Deviance and crime is not result of the individual, but rather the social structure  Entire neighbourhoods become so disorganized that merely living in the increased the likelihood of engaging in certain forms of deviant behaviour  Why are some neighbourhoods more disorganized than others? o Land values: low rental and property value are seen as undesirable and unattractive to live in, however, they attract individuals that are geographically unstable and socially, racially and ethnically heterogeneous; hence, they do not form unified and organized communities  Doesn’t explain many other types of deviance such as homosexuality, most types of cognitive deviance and white collar crime, doesn’t take power into high enough consideration. Anomie/Strain Theory Anomie: disturbances in the social order  Cartain pressures can produce very unconventional behaviour even if it comes from very conventional origins or intentions  Merton’s theory of anomie: o Disjunction between culturally defined goals and structurally available opportunities o Our greedy desires are created by our culture o It is the gap between the cultural order that says we must become materially successful and the economic order that doesn’t give use what we want that causes deviance Malintigrated society  Macro scope 
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