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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC211H5
Professor
David Brownfield
Semester
Fall

Description
Adler and Adler Page 57-108 In earlier times, scholars of crime approached deviant behaviour as rooted in people’s biological abnormalities or predispositions  Tried to find links between incarcerated criminals and genetic deficiencies  Lombroso and his followers suggested that criminals were more like primitive human beings, resembling their ape-like ancestors  Viewed criminals as born and not made and therefore unresponsive to rehab and treatment Body type theorists correlated criminality to “somatypes”: body builders thought to be related to certain personality characteristics or temperaments In the 1930s, brain studies were popular which suggested that some people might cease their deviant ways if their brains were surgically altered The Structural Perspective  Dominant theory in sociology for the first half of the 20 century  Durkheim advanced their theory that society is a moral phenomenon – believed that at its root, the morals (norms, values, and laws) that individuals are taught constrain their behaviour  These moral beliefs determine how people behave, what they want, and who they are  Durkheim suggested that societies with high degrees of social integration would increase the conformity of its members  Durkheim called anomie the social phenomenon in which people were partially losing their sense of belonging to their communities and the norms and expectations of their groups were becoming less and less clearly defined, and this social disintegration he believed led to greater degrees of deviance  D: deviance was functional for society and produces positive benefits o Serves to remind us of moral boundaries in society o Each time a deviant act is committed and publicly announced, society is united in indignation against the perpetrator o Society is reminded of what is right and wrong, and social integration becomes higher for those who conform  When the numbers of people declared deviant by current moral standards rises or falls too much, society alters its moral criteria to maintain the level of deviance in the optimal range o When society lowers the bar of acceptability, fewer acts are viewed as deviant and more become recast as tolerable o When the bar is raised, behaviour formerly considered acceptable becomes redefined as deviant  Deviance defines the moral boundaries for everyone in society  This perspective locates the root cause of crime and deviance outside of individuals, in the invisible social structures that make up any society o Explanations for deviance are found in the features of society  Societies with greater degrees of inequality are likely to show more crime than those where people have roughly similar amounts of what society values  Structuralists locate the cause of crime in two main factors: differential opportunity structure, and prejudice and discrimination towards certain groups o Groups with access to greater power, political, and economic opportunity may use these to define their acts as legitimate and the acts of others as deviant, at the same time as they corruptly use their power to their own advantage o Groups with less access to legitimate opportunity structure due to reduced educational opportunity, diminished access to health, lower class background, and disadvantaged legitimate networks and connections do not have the same opportunity to succeed normatively  Merton: claimed that contradictions are implicit in a stratified system in which culture dictates success goals for all citizens, while institutional access is limited to just the middle and upper strata o Instead of going through the motions while knowing that their legitimate path to success is blocked, some members of the lower- class retaliate by choosing a deviant alternative  Only way to achieve their goals is to bypass the approved means in order to get at the approved goals  Cloward and Ohlin: thought Merton was correct in directing us toward the notion that members of disadvantaged socioeconomic groups have less opportunity for achieving success in a legitimate manner o Disagreed with Merton that those groups, when confronted with the problem of differential opportunity, could automatically choose deviance and crime o Differential opportunity: O and C suggest that all disadvantaged people have some lack of opportunity for legitimate pursuits but they do not have the same opportunity for participating in illegitimate practices  Deviant behaviour depends on people’s access to illegitimate opportunities o Three types of deviant opportunities are present:  Criminal – arise from access to deviant subcultures  Conflict – attract people who have a propensity for violence and fighting  Retreatism – attract people who are not inclined toward illegitimate means or violent actions, but who want to withdraw from society (drug users)  Opportunity to climb the opportunity ladder depend on the following factors: o Some neighbourhoods rife with more criminal opportunities, networks, and enterprises than others, and people reared in these grow
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