SOCI 2510 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Puritans, Ritualism In The Church Of England, Cesare Lombroso

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Chapter 9: Deviance/Crime
Textbook Notes:
Deviance: is the recognized violation of cultural norms
crime: the violation of a society's formally enacted criminal law
what deviant actions or attitudes, whether negative or positive, have in common is some element
of difference that causes us to think of another person as an “outsider”
social control: attempts by society to regulate people's thoughts and behaviour.
Process is often informal, when parents praise or scold children, or being made fun of
Criminal justice system: a formal response by police, courts, and prison officials to alleged
violations of the law
cases of serious crimes involves it
Cesare Lombroso – theorized that criminals stand out physically with low foreheads, prominent
jaws and cheeckbones, hairiness, unusually long arms. Now physical traits distinguish criminals
from noncriminals
William Sheldon - suggests that body structure might predict criminality. He linked criminality to
muscular, athletic builds.
Glueck and Glueck cautioned that a powerful build does not necessarily cause criminality
The researchers concluded that genetic factors (e.g defective genes) together with environmental
factors (e.g abuse early in life) were strong predictors of adult crime and violence
most psychologists believe that personality is shaped primarily by social experience. Deviance is
then viewed as “unsuccessful” socialization
research done by Reckless and Dinitz illustrates the psychological approach
they asked a number of teachers to categorize twelve-year-old male students as likely or
unlikely to get into trouble with the law: the “good” boy displayed a strong conscience (what
Freud called superego), could handle frustration, and identified with cultural norms and
values; the “bad” boy had a weaker conscience, displayed little torelance of frustration and
felt out of step with conventional culture.
As we might expect “the good” boys went on to have fewer run-ins with the police than the
“bad boys.Assuming that staying out of trouble meant the control of deviant impulses, the
autors called their analysis containment theory
both the biological and psychological approaches view deviance as a trait of individuals, but
wrongdoing is largely a function of society.
The Social Foundations of Deviance:
Deviance varies according to cultural norms – a thought or action is inherently deviant, it
becomes deviant only in relation to particular norms
People become deviant as others define them that way- by doing a “deviant action,” whether
you are mentall ill or a criminal depends on how others perceive, define and respond to it
Both norms and the way people define rule breaking involve social power – the law, declared
by karl marx is the means by which powerful people protect their interests
Durkheim's Basic Insight:
Deviance affirms cultural values and norms – deviance draws the boundaries of acceptable
Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries - by defining some individuals as deviant,
people draw a boundary between right and wrong.
Responding to serious deviance brings people together - people often react to serious
deviance with shared outrage
deviance encourages social change – deviant people push a society's moral boundaries,
suggesting alternatives to the status quo and encouraging change.
Aboriginal suicide has been attributed to the effects of rapid social change and damages to social
Kai Erikson's classic study of the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay brings Durkheim's theory to life
that they created deviance to clarity their moral boundaries. Deviance is not a matter of a few
“bad apples” but a necessary condition of “good” social living.
Deviance may be found in every society but the kind of deviance people generate depends on the
moral issues they seek to clarify
Merton's strain theory:
deviance depends on the extent to which society provides the means (e.g schooling and jobs)
to achieve cultural goals (e.g financial success). Conformity lies in pursuing cultural goal
through approved means.
According to Merton, the strain generated by our culture's emphasis on wealth and the lack of
opportunities to get rich encourage some people to engage in stealing, drug dealing, or other
forms of crime. Merton called this type of deviance “innovation” - using unconventional
means (e.g. Street crime) to achieve a culturally approved goal (e.g wealth)
Conformity – having no problems
Innovation involves accepting a cultural goal, financial success, but rejecting the conventional
means – hard work at a legal job – in favour of unconventional means, street crime
The inability to reach a cultural goal may also prompt another type of deviance that he called
“Ritualism.” For example, people may believe that they cannot achieve the cultural goal of
becoming rich: therefore, they rigidly stick to the conventional means (the rules) in order to at
least feel respectable. They embrace the rules to the point where they lose sight of their larger
A third response to the inability to succeed is “retreatism” - the rejection of both cultural goals
and means so that a person in effect “drops out.” Some alcoholics, drug addicts, and street
people are retreatists. The deviance of retreatists lies in their unconventional lifestyle and in
what seems to be their willingness to live this way.
The fourth response to failure is “rebellion.” Like retreatists, rebels (such as radical
“survivalists”) reject both the cultural definition of success and the conventional means of
achieving it, but they go one step further by forming a counterculture supporting alternatives
to the existing social order.
Lecture Notes:
descriminating people and making them feel as outsiders
norms (rules/sanctions)
two major types of norms:
social norms
white lies: an unimportant lie/one that does no one any harm
black lies: malicious wounding lie
legal norms
CCC (Canadian Criminal Code), laws
Informal social control operates to regulate deviance and crime for the most part
formal social control involves the law and the criminal justice system
Criminal Justice System – biases of people o f colour, class, ethnicity, ethnicity
“Justice” - JUST US
deviance is reported and noticed
Perceptions of crime and the reality of it
most of the crime read by the media are a major source of our perceptions
reality by conduct (experience) – Victim Vicarious
car theft and homicides are highly reported and involved in the research, and rapes are barely
the media is the guide and influence in our perceptions
Factors of crime: classic sociological paradigm – linking positions to conduct
% black
drop-outs – drop out, surrogent parents
there is enought crime that can damage higher and higher social classes
quality of parenting affects the chance of being deviant, teachers as surrogent parents
December 3, 2009
Lecture Notes: