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Crime and Deviance.docx

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Robert Brym

Crime and Deviance Module 3.1-Defining Deviance  Objective: learn how sociologists define deviance and how any behaviour can appear deviant depending on context  With repeal of DADT law (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), gays can now openly serve in military in U.S. without discharge, which reveals that what is considered “deviant” at one time and place, may not be at another time and place  Although there are a few countries now that openly accept gays in the military, not all treat them the same  Deviance: is any behaviour or physical appearance that is socially challenged and/or condemned because it departs from the norms and expectations of some group  Norms: rules and expectations for the way people are supposed to behave, feel, and appear in a particular social situation  Norms vary according to whom they apply to and whether 1. People know they exist 2. Accept them 3. Enforce them uniformly 4. Think they’re important 5. Back them up with force of law 6. Adhere to them in their public and private lives  Some norms exist for seemingly valid reasons, and others for not  Sociological Perspective: not the individual who violates the norm, but the social group’s response that determines whether a behaviour is deviant  Sociological understanding deviance lies with studying the context under which something is deemed deviant  Durkheim defined deviance as those acts that offend collective sentiments o There is no society without deviance o “perfect and upright person”  Durkheim argues that ritual of identifying, determining a punishment, an/or carrying it out for a “wrongdoing” establishes a sense of order and community  Who defines what is deviant?: sociologists focus on specific groups, behaviours, conditions, or artefacts and how they become defined as problems  Claims makers are those who articulate and promote claims and who tend to gain in some way if the targeted audience accepts their claims as true o Government officials, advertisers, scientists, professors, and other stake holders  Claims-making activities are actions taken to draw attention to a claim o Demanding services, filling out forms, lodging complaints, filing lawsuits, calling press conferences, and writing letters of protest  Success of claims-making campaign depends on access to media, available resources, position in society, and skill at fundraising, promotion, and organization  Sociologists study process of defined deviant group or behaviour, focus on who makes claims, whose claims are heard, and how audiences respond to them (also pay attention to any labels applied) o Also evoke specific cause, consequence, and/or solution to a problem  Organized crime is one of a wide range of behaviours that society has defined as deviant and/or criminal LO-1: What is Deviance?  All societies have norms that govern acceptable behaviour o But some people like to disobey and these violations are dealt with through various mechanisms of social control  Social control: systematic practices developed by social groups to encourage conformity and discourage deviance 1. Internalization 2. Negative sanctions 3. Formal means  Purpose: to ensure some level of conformity  Defining Deviance: deviance is relative-an act becomes defined as such when it is socially defined deviant-caries from time to time, place to place, group to group...  Line between deviant and non deviant can be ambiguous  Varies from mild transgressions to serious violations of the law  Crime: an act that violates criminal law and is punishable with fines, jail terms, and other sanctions  Sociologists study behaviours defined as deviant, who defines it, how and why people become deviants, and how society deals with them LO-2: Sociological Perspectives on Crime and Deviance  Functionalist: Strain theory-the proposition that people feel strain when they are exposed to cultural goals that they are unable to obtain because they do not have access to culturally approved means of achieving these goals  Deviance may be common in these societies because people may be willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals  Goals: material possessions and money; approved means: education and jobs  More used for lower classes, but can be used for higher classes (Conrad Black) o Opportunity theory: illegitimate opportunity structures: circumstances that acquire, through illegitimate activities, what they cannot achieve through legitimate channels  Can not achieve, through legitimate means, status and wealth, so turn to illegitimate opportunities such as theft, drug dealing, etc...  Three forms of delinquent subcultures 1. Criminal (gangs drug dealing, etc...) 2. Conflict (gangs fighting over turf) 3. Retreatist (drug and alcohol abuse)  Opportunity theory expands strain theory by pointing out relationship between deviance and availability of illegitimate opportunity structures o Control Theory-Social Bonding: communities characterized by poverty, physical deterioration, and internal conflict were too disorganized to exert effective control over residents’ behaviour  Social bond theory: proposition that the likelihood of deviant behaviour increases when a person’s ties to society are weakened or broken (Travis Hirschi)  Social bonding consists of: 1. Attachment to others 2. Commitment to conventional lines of behaviour (schooling and job success) 3. Involvement in conventional activities 4. Belief in legitimacy of conventional values and norms  Symbolic Interactionist: Differential Association theory-proposition that individuals have a greater tendency to deviate from societal norms when they frequently associate with persons who favour deviance over conformity (Edwin Sutherland)  Example would be the story of Max Vision, computer hacker  Ties to other deviants is important to organized tie and groups, such as bike gangs  Differential association contributes to our knowledge of how deviant behaviour reflects the individual’s learned techniques, values, attitudes, motives, and rationalizations  Critics still question why many still conform, and does not adequately assess possible linkages between social inequality and criminal behaviour o Labelling theory: proposition that deviants are those people who have been successfully labelled as such by others  Part of social control process is labelling people as deviants  Labels are applied most easily to those who lack the power to resist them  Saints vs. Roughnecks  Primary deviance: initial act of rule breaking; Secondary deviance: occurs when a person has been labelled deviant, accepts the label, and continues deviant behaviour  Labelling theorists have made important contribution to understanding of process by which society defines behaviours and individuals as deviant and consequences of that definition  Example of the blind people study, and mental patients  Why are some behaviours defined as deviant and others are not?  Moral entrepreneurs: people or groups who take an active role in trying to have particular behaviours defined as deviant  MADD  Moral crusades: public and media awareness campaigns that help generate public and political support for moral entrepreneurs’ causes  Critics say this theory neither explains what causes original acts that make up primary deviance, nor provides insight into why some people accept deviant labels and others do not  Conflict-Conflict Approach: Karl Marx wrote very little on crime and deviance, but many of his ideas influenced critical approach that is based on assumption that criminal justice system protects power and privilege of capitalist class o Critique based on inherent conflict between capitalists and working class o Crime is an expression of individual’s struggle against social conditions and inequality produced by capitalism o According to Quinney, people with economic and political power define as criminal any behaviour that threatens their own interests  Even though anti-combines legislation was passed in 1889, large companies still engaged in price fixing and other means of limiting competition; passing the law made the government appear responsive to public concerns o Some conflict theorists believe that corporate and white-collar crimes are because they are greedy and want more than they can have; street crimes occur for survival (represents a rational response by the poor to unequal distribution of resources in society) o Although some laws are only there to protect the rich and powerful, there are others that upper, middle, and lower class are in consensus about (murder, rape, etc...)  Feminist: early studies on “women’s crimes” focused almost exclusively on prostitution and attributes cause of this crime to women’s biological or psychological “inferiority” o Theories, that used existing female stereotypes, have had negative impact on understanding and treatment of female offenders o Feminist scholars have examined relationship between gender, deviance, and crime due to the works of Adler and Simons  Have concluded that roots of female criminality lie in a social structure that is “characterized by inequalities of class, race, and gender”  Gender discrimination at work  Marriage  Interpersonal relationships  Lack of job opportunities  Stereotypical expectations about appropriate roles for women  Exploitation by capitalism and patriarchy  Victimization o Feminist theorists feel that women who violate the law are not “criminal women”, but “criminalized women” meaning they commit crimes and acts of deviance because they had been forced into difficult situations that are not of their own making  Postmodern: Michel Foucault analyzed intertwining nature of power, knowledge, and social control (book: Discipline and Punish)  Panopticon o Technological developments makes for a modern Panopticon and has broadened the capacity of governments and corporations to control our behaviour o Valuable tools in improving public safety o However, raise issues about privacy and individual rights LO-3: Crime Classification and Statistics  Sociologists categorize crimes based on how they are committed and how society views the offences  Street crime: all violent crime, certain property crimes, and certain morals crimes (robbery, assault, breaking and entering, etc...) o Violent crime involves force or the threat of force against others, including murder, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault 
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