Textbook Notes (367,759)
Canada (161,375)
Sociology (1,508)
SOC100H5 (533)
Chapter 5

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Nathan Innocente

Chapter 5 NotesNo act is deviant in and of itself People commit deviant acts only when they break a norm and cause others to react negatively From a sociological point of view everyone is a deviant in one social context or anotherDevianceinvolves breaking a norm and evoking a negative reaction from others Societies establish some norms as laws Crimeis deviance that breaks a lawwhich is a norm stipulated and enforced by government bodiesMany otherwise deviant acts go unnoticed or are considered too trivial to warrant negative sanctions or actions indicating disapproval People who are observed committing more serious acts of deviance are typically punished either informally or formallyFormal punishmentresults from people breaking laws For example criminals are usually formally punished by having to serve time in prison pay a fine or perform community service Informal punishmentis mild It may involve raised eyebrows a harsh stare an ironic smile gossip ostracism shaming or stigmatization When people are stigmatized they are negatively evaluated because of visible characteristics that distinguish them from others For example a study of newspaper portrayals of prostitutes in Victoria British Columbia shows that in the 1980s prostitutes were stigmatized as fallen women who spread disease and crime in public places and were themselves to blame for their moral failings In the 1990s and early 2000s the stigmatization of prostitutes changed as prostitutes were increasingly characterized as victims of ruthless pimps violent clients and the global sex trade The content of the stigma changed but in both periods negative and sensationalistic evaluations largely prevented serious discussion of how prostitution could be regulated so as to decrease risk to sex workers and their clients Types of deviance and crime vary in terms of the severity of the social response which ranges from mild disapproval to capital punishment They vary also in terms of the perceived harmfulness of the deviant or criminal act Note that actual harmfulness is not the only issue hereperceived harmfulness is involved too CocaCola got its name because in the early part of the last century it contained a derivative of cocaine Now cocaine is an illegal drug because peoples perceptions of its harmfulness changed Finally deviance and crime vary in terms of the degree of public agreement about whether an act should be considered deviant Even the social definition of murder varies over time and across cultures and societiesInformation on crime collected by the police is our main source of crime statistics These statistics have two main shortcomings First much crime is not reported to the police This is particularlywhich involve violations of the law in which no victim steps true of socalled victimless crimes forward and is identified Communicating for the purposes of prostitution illegal gambling and the use of illegal drugs are all victimless crimesIn addition many common or Level 1 assaults go unreported because the assailant is a friend or relative of the victim Many victims of sexual assault are also reluctant to report the crime because they are afraid they will be humiliated or not believed and stigmatized by making the crime public
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