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Canada (158,391)
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SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 5

SOC100 - Chapter 5 – The Social Definition of

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University of Toronto St. George
Arnd Jurgensen

Chapter 5 – The Social Definition of Deviance and Crime Deviance – Involves breaking a norm and evoking a negative reaction from others Societies establish some norms as laws Crime is deviance that breaks a law, a norm stipulated and enforced by government bodies - Both deviance and crime are relative - Many famous individuals are known for their deviance, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. Sanctions - Negative sanctions are actions indicating disapproval of deviance, people who are observed committing serious acts of deviance are typically punished formally or informally Informal Punishment – Mild sanction imposed during face-to-face contact, rather than the judicial system Formal Punishment – Harsh sanction usually because of breaking laws, criminals are formally punished Stigmatization – Negative evaluation of someone because there is something that makes them different from others Looking down on mentally handicapped individuals - Suicide bombers are deviant, but they are not crazy, they are also well-educated middle-class citizens - The direct reason is revenge Measuring Crime - Canadian Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) Information on 400+ municipal police departments across Canada on 91 categories of crime Two main shortcomings: 1. Victimless crimes No victim steps up to the plate when a crime is introduced Communicating for the purposes of prostitution, illegal gambling, and use of illegal drugs are all reasons Many common “level 1” assaults go unnoticed because they are from family or friends or somewhat close ties. 2. Authorities and wider public decide which criminal acts to report and ignore Authorities crack down on drugs, more drug-related crimes will be counted because more drug criminals will be found out Changes in legislation make new offences or amend existing ones Self-report surveys – Respondents are asked to report their involvement in criminal activities, either as perpetrators or victims - Self-report data compensate for many of the general problems associated with official stats - This data is useful because it shows that a majority of Canadians have committed a crime, and that a quarter of the population believes they have been a victim of a crime The lecturer even asked us this! Victimization Surveys – People are asked whether they have been victims of crime - Examined householder’s experience with crime, crime prevention, feelings of being unsafe, on average 55% of these incidents are reported to the police - Provide good info about victims, but not about offenders Decrease in Crime because of: - Declining population - Somewhat stronger economic conditions - Controversial, but crime rates may be linked to legalization of abortion Proportionately fewer unwanted Criminal Profiles Age and Gender - In more than 80% of Canadian adult criminal cases, the accused is mainly a man - Although with each passing year a slightly higher of women are arrested - Most crime is committed by people who have reached middle age (15 – 24 olds) Race - Race is also a factor for who is arrested - Aboriginals are 2% for the adult population, but they account for 15% to 19% of Canadians sentenced to custody Overrepresentation, it’s only ‘cause they commit street crimes and are majorly poor Police may be racist and discriminatory themselves Street Crimes – Breaking and entering, robbery, assault More detectable than white collar crimes White Collar Crimes – Embezzlement, fraud, copyright infringement, false advertising, and more - This is why black people are incarcerated more than any other race - Studies show older white and Asians with no criminal record are significantly less likely to be stopped for police searches than the younger/less educated - Better and more educated blacks are more likely to be stopped Toronto police are racial profiling Explaining Devian
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