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16 - Crime and Social Deviance

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CRIME AND SOCIAL DEVIANCE GAINING A SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON CRIME AND SOCIAL DEVIANCE How Norms Make Social Life Possible - Making behaviour predictable - Norms lay out the basic guidelines for how we play our roles and how we interact with others. - Social order – a group’s usual and customary social arrangements - Human groups develop a system of social control, formal and informal means of enforcing norms. Comparing Psychological, Biological, and Sociological Explanations - Explain crime and social deviance by looking for answers within individuals. - Personality disorders – abnormalities within the individual - Psychologists – “deviating individuals have deviating personalities” - Biological – “genetic predispositions” o Intelligence – low intelligence leads to crime o The “XYY” theory – an extra Y chromosome in males leads to crime o Body type – people with “squarish, muscular” bodies are more likely to commit street crimes - To account for why people commit crimes, sociologists examine such external influences as socialization, subcultural membership, and social class. - Social class – people’s relative standing in terms of education, occupation, and especially income and wealth. The Relativity of Social Deviance - Social deviance – violation of norms - Not the act itself, but the reactions to the act that make something socially deviant – Howard Becker - Acts perfectly acceptable in one culture may be considered socially deviant in another culture. - Stigma – attributes that discredit people - Crime – the violation of norms that have been written into law o Varies from one human group to another THE SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE - Basic principle: each of us acts according to out interpretations of situation, not according to bling predispositions. Differential Association Theory of Criminal Behaviours THE THEORY - Sutherland stressed that people learn criminal behaviors o Not the result of biology or personality - Differential association – learning to deviate or to conform to society’s norms is influenced most by the people with whom we associate. Labelling Theory - Focuses on the significance of labels give to people. REJECTING LABELS: HOW PEOPLE NEUTRALIZE SOCIAL DEVIANCE - 5 techniques of neutralization to help deflect society’s norms: o Denial of responsibility  Not responsible for what happened because… o Denial of injury  No one got hurt o Denial of a victim  People deserved what they got o Condemnation of the condemners  Accuse people who pointed their fingers at them o Appeal to higher loyalties  Had to help my friends REJECTING LABELS: BECOMING PROSTITUTES - Primary social deviance – fleeting acts that do not become part of the self- concept o Edwin Lemert - Secondary social deviance – when girls do come to think of themselves as prostitutes - In tertiary
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