SOC211: Deviance and Control 25/11/2013 12:52:00 PM
General definition: deviant behaviour is defined as the actions of persons
considered being not right, just or proper.
This general definition includes a broad spectrum of acts (and statuses):
crime, poverty, mental illness, drug use, suicide, etc.
“Crime” used as a synonym for deviant behaviour.
Goffman notes in his book, (“stigma” refers to a mark of infamy or
disgrace), the tendency for the scope of the subject of deviance to broaden,
to include more statuses and behaviours.
Refers to certain characteristics of what is admirable based on
appearance and education and high status which is known as the
People who do not fall under the identity norm criteria are more
subject to stigma, lower social status.
Reading from Understanding Deviance
Chapter 1: Confusion and Diversity
Radical sociology may speak of oppression and alienation caused by the
institutions of capitalist society.
Deviance liberation and conformity collusion; it will point to endemic
contradictions and crises that will culminate, perhaps, in a society rid of
Ambiguity is a central feature of deviance.
Deviance is a residual category, a label of last resort; is political and is
based on exercise of power.
The criminal justice system creates criminals because needs a client
The Luddites protested against the introduction of steam technology in
the early 1800s.
There maybe a debate about whether a riot us „really‟ a political event or
„mere‟ lawlessness. Description becomes even more difficult because their
can sometimes be political consequences from the acts of deviants who
are not overtly committed to a political stance. Sources of Diversity
Sociology has its own language, and techniques, but it has also fed on
ideas that have originated in other fields.
Such interplay of projects and thought become more complicated as the
minds of different sociologists work on the materials offered them.
Product differentiation has inevitably been accompanied by the making of
Then there is the impact of the academy that both spurs and limited the
growth of intellectual variety.
The matter is yet further complicated by the very different traditions that
are borne by the university departments and schools in which
„deviantology‟ is studied and taught.
Such insulation can be further reinforced by the division of intellectual
labour within universities.
Chapter 2: Sources of Knowledge and Deviance
The Elusive Quality of Deviance
Basic unwritten agreement among sociologists this that deviance should be
considered as banned or controlled behaviour that is likely to attract
punishment or disapproval.
Sociologists working on visible and undisguised processes have problems
enough. Their work becomes vastly complex when subjects and events
are deliberately hidden.
Deviants rarely engage in collective efforts to interpret their own
It is not at all remarkable that theories and theorists will tend to describe
phenomena quite differently.
Sociology research is constrained by the very structure of its own field.