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SOC211H5 (29)
Chapter 2


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Nicole Myers

Readings Ch 2 Understanding and Testing Theories of DevianceMany Paths Many Theories If deviance is a destination many paths lead to it some more heavily used than othersOne path is marked psychopathy some people are pyromaniacsAnother is fraud a person burning property to claim insurance moneyAnother path is organized crime using arson in extortion racketsEmpathetic Explanations Empathy however has limits Scientific Explanations Scientific explanations make use of the scientific method or adaptations of itThis method first developed in the study of the physical world provides techniques for developing models of how the world works as well as hypotheses about the connected of thingsThe scientific method works best with inorganic and nonsocial realities and does not handle human agency the capacity to think and act creatively in response to social meanings very wellWe use the term positivism to indicate work that may be extreme in its refusal to give any importance to human feelings understandings and choicesThe scientific method provides for controlling observations so that the knowledge gained will be tested and cumulativeThe scientific approach has been most fully developed in the area of biological explanationsEarly biological positivists abused the approach and produced many invalid studiesIdeological Explanations Ideological Explanations are based on systems of ideas that are held as irrefutable doctrineThey are not just tentatively proposed in the manner of scientific hypotheses but rather are often a matter of passionate beliefIdeologies are almost impervious to new information or alternative interpretationsIn deviance studies ideological explanations are found most openly in the writings of prescientific religious authorities who demanded obedience to the dogmas of the Church and in the work of some radical conflict theorists who believe just as tenaciously in the tenets of Marxism or one of its competitorsThe Formulation of Theory Theories are generally developed through alternating processes of inductive and deductive logicIn an inductive approach we look at many specific cases and then make generalizations about themIn inductive approaches we derive specific expectations from general rules that have been suggested either by previous research or by the logical relations of an existing theorySensitizing Concepts
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