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SOC Chapter Notes 1-7.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Jenna Valleriani

SOC212Chapter 1Issues in the Study of DevianceWHY STUDY DEVIANCEReasons for studyingresearching deviance could beVicarious experienceReformSelfprotection and sophisticationUnderstand oneself and othersIntellectual curiosityStudents view on deviance1980s Erich Goode asked 230 undergrads to write down examples of deviant behaviouroMurder 50oRape 37oHomosexuality 23oRobbery 23pretending youre a birdoowearing shorts when it snows1991 survey of 300 Canadian students less formaloMurderers rapists child molesters flashers delinquents junkies drug dealers mental cases prostitutes pimps morbidly obese idiots freaks nymphomaniacs pyromaniacs nerds cheats clowns boors lawyers politicians etc etcoThose living on campus addedFreeloading getting drunkthrowing up smoking in bed keeping watermelons in the fridge indulging in loud tasteless musicbeing a gross slobPublic opinions about deviance1960s JL Simmons reported that sample of 180 people varying in age sex education religion ethnicitylocale cited 152 distinct actspersons as deviantVaries greatlyAcademic views on deviance18951940 academics studying deviance mainly focused on outsiders deviance zoooDeviance was treated as absolute rather than constructed that is something that depends partly on attitudes of others who put a label on it and make the deviant by naming him or herMarxian and humanist writers in particular have maintained that deviance is found whenever human actions are exploitative or threaten the dignity and quality of life of othersIn 1930s sociology and social psychology were used as tools to deal with social problems unemployment mental illness family breakup delinquencycrimeoMany of these problems were related to phases of industrial capitalism such as Great Depression and oncoming but not yet recognized globalizationFrom 1960s on deviance is relative to situationobservers has become more commonly accepted black power granny power gay powerBy 1990s theorists of the post social had further undermined idea that 1 version white male mainstream version of what is normal could be used as a measure for deviance odeath of the sociology of devianceDEFINING DEVIANCEObjective CharacteristicsPurely objective def points to empirical features of subject what is physically present can be seen heard measuredDoesnt involve moralistic or emotional evaluations1 way around is to translate valueladen statements into 1s that have empirical referentsoie these boys are delinquentsthese boys damage other peoples propertyoallows for meaningful discussionaccumulation of information increases chances of diff researchers classifying these boys the sameactual assignment of deviance labels by society is never purely objectiveodeviance carries negative moral evaluationsometimes applied to people on flimsy or manufactured evidenceA BASIC DEFINITION NO ASSUMPTIONSDont assume what you may want to investigateUseful definitions are noncircular eg of what NOT to dodefining crime as something you canbe arrested for and defining something you can be arrested for as a crimeEvade circularity by finding something distinctive that is present in every case and that distinguishes deviance from other kinds of behavMany false starts have been made in effort to find something objective that distinguishes devianceoutlined belowoStatistical RealityAtypicality or deviation from a common centrethis conception represented in bell or Gaussian curve or normal distribution see graph Most commonnormal variations from normaldeviantAnother type of curve is the Jcurve of institutional conformity applies to behav as arriving on time getting back to car b4 meter runs out filing income tax before deadline etc Risk in use of statistical measures of deviance is fact that many kinds of disreputable behaviour are hidden rather than rareie Kinseys studies of human sexuality shocked North Americans in 40s and 50sAlso behav that is regarded as badcriminal may be statistically normal ie marijuanaStat method is simpleapparently objective but not reliableoHarmfulness
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