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SOCA02H3 (310)
Chapter

MSL NOTES ON READING #21 - DOWN ON MAIN STREET: DRUGS AND THE SMAL-TOWN VORTEX

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCA02H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon
Semester
Winter

Description
MSL READING #21: DOWN ON MAIN STREET: DRUGS AND THE SMALL-TOWN VORTEX BY: PAUL DRAUS & ROBERT G. CARLSON (p. 218-234) One type of social deviance, according to sociologists, is crime. If deviance is the violation of a social norm, then a crime is the violation of social norms that have been made into laws. Introduction: Small-Town America, Social Networks, and Substance Abuse As in the inner city, illegal drugs have a home in rural America. The abuse of mind-altering substances in small towns and rural areas is no novelty and should come as no surprise. Nonetheless, the belief in a rural-urban divide, in regards to drug use and other issues, persists. While the city environment is often characterized by a higher degree of anonymity and more liberal attitudes toward individual behaviour, the small town is presumed to possess a level of unavoidable intimacy, in which the individual is constantly confronted with the familiar. Cities are seen as places where people are physically proximate but socially distant, while in rural areas the situation is reversed. The closeness of social relations and the homogeneity of values in more rural areas, it is commonly believed, place distinct limits on individual behaviour. Some scholars have proposed that high degrees of network interconnection and reciprocity, or social capital have an inverse effect in levels of crime and high- risk health behaviours, including illegal drug abuse. Small towns are symbolically equated with the presence of high social capital, with imagined geographies of reciprocal care and control. They are often the unstated norm that the deviant inner city is defined against. The moral geography of small towns is idealized, and deviant behaviours such as illicit drug dealing and using are defined as essentially out of place. Thus, the dominant myth of the rural idyll serves to obscure the presence of rural social marginality and also to preclude research among those most affected by it. There is a dark underbelly to the dominant social capital narrative: the communitys belief that in its own imperviousness to problems of alienated you caused them to overlook signs of trouble that seemed obvious in retrospect. www.notesolution.com
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