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Chapter 3

Sociology 2259 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Symbolic Interactionism, Labeling Theory, Nonverbal Communication

Course Code
SOC 2259
Lauren Barr

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Chapter 3- Explaining deviance: The perception, reaction and power:
Nonpositivist theorizing:
Positivist theories shine spotlight act/ actor and try to explain why some people behave in
deviant ways while others don’t- deviance ident clear-cut way and once ident, explan
outcome can be sought
Subjective views deviance claim cannot know deviance when see it and instead have to
be told behav/ characteristic deviant- nature social expectations= perceptions and
reactions act
Interpretive theories- something might be unique and unrepeatable- only reality emerges
through reciprocal, intersubjective understanding b/w people and those theorists focus on
meanings that emerge from interactions b/w ppl engaged symbolic dialogue
o Emph how people dev understandings of world around them, other people and
Critical theories- self-reflective value-orienting foundation, that is, underlying interest in
emancipation and working toward social justice
Focus power relations underlie creation social rules
Interpretive theories: Understandings of “Deviance” and “normality”:
Symbolic interactionism: Communication creates understanding:
Symbolic interactionism- foundations range interpretive theories used study deviance, in
fact, some deviance specialists equate interactionism w interpretive theories and
Society created by social interaction, occurs via communication through symbols- all
communication symbolic in nature, symbols constitute eng alphabet found written and
verbal comm in English
Nonverbal communication, avenues gestures and facial expressions, symbolic as well
Clothing form communication as well
Symbolic communication complex and nuanced, same symbols may have different
meanings in dif contexts
Distinct set interactions over course life, way understand world varies
Role taking- vicariously placing ourselves in roles others, try to see world from
respective points of view and determine own attitudes and actions accordingly
Looking-glass self- det how look/ act and how feel about ourselves, we imagine how
appear other people and what think of that appearance
Significant others- people important to us- perceptions and reaction matter to us=
substantial impact on actions
Generalized other- “other people” more gen, almost as generic person
Deviance dance- some individs/ groups try to socially type certain people as deviant,
while other individuals/ groups argue same people normal
Labelling theories: Becoming an outsider:
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Labelling theories- being labelled deviant and consequences label→ individs “caught”
deviance and given deviant label, people start to treat differently, way corresponds label,
changes how perceive themselves and own identities begin to incorp label which effects
behavs and life choices
Observers in society, mainly ident part deviant evil (tagging) but soon come gen
judgment person as whole (dramatization of evil)- no longer initial act evil but person
(Tannenbaum, 1938)
Changes self-image and identity, identity built around label and subsequent behav
correspond label and identity
Lemert (1951)- primary deviance- little acts rule breaking seldom noticed and rarely
caught buy others, secondary deviance- build life around rule breaking
Getting caught sets into motion series processes result transition primary to secondary
Once person labelled deviant, label becomes master status- charactistic others ident you
Deviant label= master status certain life opp blocked, in that legit, “normal” world no
longer be accepting so may turn to deviant world
Process exclusion becoming outsider-stigmatization
Dramaturgy- social life analogous being in theatre, assign/ assume part roles to “play”
Certain groups people, play roles certain ways, control images present and messages
convey audience bringing out front-stage selves, retreat select groups people part private
lives allow back-stage selves emerge, true selves
Spoiled identity- labelled deviant no matter try to do, others still perceive as deviant b/c
Can respond spoiled ident many ways (ident management/ impression management)
humour, educational techniques (explaining things people often stigmatize)
Neg treatment some engage defiance, standing up perpetrator / cowering- agreeing leave
sit, pass as non- Muslim/ non-Middle-Eastern
Unlike disintegrative shaming (deviantized persons rejected by comm), reintegrative
shaming effective treatment crim behav- criminal stigmatized/ shamed criminal act, but
temp stigma, criminal shown leaving criminality behind will result in being fully
accepted back into comm
Being labelled can enhance personal growth, bring fams closer together and exempting
individs from some demands and responsibilities daily life
Tertiary deviance- people been labelled and dev identity based on label may resist idea
label “deviant” one- behav not deviant and seek redef “normal” include act/ charact ex:
homosexuals HIV positive activism remove stigma ass illness and increase acceptance
The deviant career: Progressing through deviance:
Deviant career- deviance emerges, progresses and changes and stages involve just as
stages in dev career→ not make living deviance, deviance unfolds
Career contingencies/ seen sig turning points, inf directions people take various points
deviant career
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