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SOCA02H3 Chapter Notes -Norm (Social), Social Capital

5 pages100 viewsWinter 2011

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA02H3
Professor
Mc Kinon

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DOWN ON MAIN STREET
Paul Draus
Robert G. Carlson
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
Rural poverty is a persistent social fact.
While the city environment is often characterized by a higher degree of anonymity
and more liberal attitudes toward individual behavior, the small town is presumed to
possess a level of unavoidable intimacy, in which the individual is constantly
confronted with the familiar.
Some scholars have proposed that high degrees of network interconnection and
reciprocity, or social capital have an inverse effect on levels of crime and high-risk
health behaviors, 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 behaviors such as
illicit drug dealing and using are defined as essentially out of place.
Like inner-city neighborhoods in the wake of deindustrialization, rural communities
may suffer from the long-term effects of the farm crisis, the collapse of other
traditional industries such as logging or mining, and accompanying losses of jobs
and population.
Illegal drugs are one corollary of rural-urban connectedness, and the transmission of
drug behaviors reflects the shared strains and desires of cities and small towns.
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Content, Composition, and Context
Bridging and bonding refer to the nature of the networks themselves: whether ones
social contacts like one to other loose networks and resources or if they simply tie
one tightly into a single, dense network.
Three crucial dimensions of social networks: that of network structure, that of
network content, and that of network function.
In the case of drug-using networks, the surface function may itself form the basis of
social relationships that constitute the network.
The tight social networks of the small town might in fact amplify drug-using
behaviors, rather than constrain them.
The relationship between social capital and health outcomes is not always positive.
Some research has found that the impact of social relationships on individuals’
mental states and behaviors can vary significantly depending on the context and
characteristics of those relationships.
Social capital that is valuable in one place may actually serve as an obstacle to
integration in the wider society.
The same social environment may be experienced very differently by people
occupying different subjective positions within it, and ones social networks are
amajor component of how one experiences a social milieu.
Social networks profoundly shape the daily social processes that constitute ones
tangible experiences and opportunities.
Qualitative research on the relationship between social networks and substance use
behavior has also shown distinct differences across contexts.
oResearch among African American women in rural Florida indicates that
local social support networks may moderate the negative effects of addiction,
and protective effects have also been attributed to social networks among
urban Latino adolescents confronting drug use opportunities.
Pre-existing social capital was a valuable resource for middle-class individuals
recovering from addiction.
Social networks and social stressors combined to reinforce smoking patterns, not
reduce them.
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