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The Individual & Society Part I: Conformity & Deviance.

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Presentation on theme: "The Individual & Society Part I: Conformity & Deviance."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Individual & Society Part I: Conformity & Deviance

2 Today What is conformity? Why do people conform? What is deviance? What causes deviant behavior?

3 Conformity Conformity: Adherence to social standards and norms Social Psychology – Two main types of conformity: – Normative Conformity – Informational Conformity

4 Normative Conformity The influence of others that leads individuals to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them Results in public compliance but not necessarily private acceptance of the group’s beliefs and behaviors

5 Information Conformity Conforming due to the belief that others’ interpretations of a given situation are more correct than ours, will lead us to correct course of action

6 Other types of conformity… Identification: people conform to what is expected of them based upon their social roles Compliance: altering behavior in order to fit into their expected roles while still internally disagreeing with the group Internalization: change in behavior to be like another person who is respected, well-liked, etc.

7 The Asch Experiments Solomon Asch -1950s Test of Conformity: – To what degree an individual’s opinions are influenced by group majority?

8 The Asch Experiments Look at the line on the left. Which line on the right is the same size? Would you change your answer if everyone else in the room answered differently?

9 Video: Asch Conformity Experiment

10 Critical Response Paragraph #2 How does the Asch experiment demonstrate conformity? DUE MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 th In-class OR via by MIDNIGHT. No late work accepted this time.

11 Critical Response Paragraph #2 Modified Grading Guidelines Introductory, Argumentative Statement – State the name of the experiment (1 point) – Mention that is an example of conformity (1 point) Evidence & Argument – TWO examples from film – Define the type of conformity it shows (1 point) – Mention TWO parts of the experiment that make it an example of that kind of conformity (2 points) Statement of Conclusion & Broader Implications – Summarize the findings (basically, restate your first sentence) – 1 point – Offer a suggestion of broader implications – for instance, what does this say about people in general? – 1 point Other – No first or second person – 1 point – Correct grammar and spelling – 1 point – Appropriate length (5-7 sentences in ONE paragraph) – 1 point

12 Social Control Social control: ways of directing or influencing group members' behavior to conform to the group's values and norms Anthropologists: Direct and Indirect constraints Sociologists: Internal and External Mechanisms of Control

13 Internal Mechanisms of Control Individuals conform to moral standards because they don’t just learn them, they sometimes internalize them Individuals may experience discomfort, such as feeling guilt, for violating internalized social norms Operates on the individual even in the absence of others’ reactions

14 External Mechanisms of Control External mechanisms of control: Social forces that are external to the individual and channel behavior towards accepted norms This includes others’ responses to behavior: rewards and punishments (sanctions) Various types of sanctions: – Positive and Negative – Formal and Informal

15 Positive & Negative Sanctions Positive sanctions: Actions that encourage the continuation of a certain behavior Negative sanctions: Actions that discourage the repetition or continuation of a certain behavior

16 Formal & Informal Sanctions Formal sanctions: Applied in a public ritual usually under the control of authorities Informal sanctions: Actions that arise spontaneously with little or no formal direction

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18 Deviance Deviance: Failure to conform to norms and standards of the group; culturally relevant Several biological, psychological, and sociological explanations have been theorized to explain deviance

19 Biological Theories of Deviance Earliest attempts to scientifically explain deviant and criminal behavior are biological Centered around importance of inherited factors; downplayed environmental influences Earliest studies focused on physical characteristics; modern studies focus on genetic structure

20 Example: Cesare Lombroso Inherited facial and body characteristics indicative of an inherited primitiveness, reversion to ancestral savagery This and similar approaches have now been completely discredited Italian criminologist – late 19 th century Criminals tend to have particular physical traits: – Heads higher at rear than forehead, longer lower jaws, flattened noses, scanty beards, long ears, etc.

21 Psychological Theories of Deviance Downplays biological factors Emphasizes the role of parents and early childhood experiences – behavioural conditioning - in producing deviant behavior Includes: – Psychoanalysis – Behaviorism

22 Example: Psychoanalytic Approach to Deviance Based on work of Sigmund Freud and followers Emphasize role of unconscious, innate, impulsive drive (“Id”) in causing individuals to preform deviant acts All people have deviant tendencies due to Id, but learn to control them through socialization process If socialization process fails, the Id takes control

23 Example: Psychoanalytic Approach to Deviance Weakness: difficult to test as "id" or unconscious as it is not visible or directly measurable; overemphasis on innate drive at expense of social and cultural factors

24 Example: Behaviorist Approach to Deviance Emphasizes how people adjust and modify behavior in response to rewards and punishments that actions elicit – Behaviors leading to favorable actions likely to be repeated – Behaviors leading to unfavorable consequences unlikely to be repeated Usually rewarded for conformist behavior, but occasionally situation is reversed in specific circumstances, e.g. a teenager associating with a delinquent gang Deviant behavior is learned by series of trials and errors

25 Sociological Theories of Deviance Like psychological explanations, emphasizes environmental influences rather than inherited biological factors Unlike psychological explanations, focuses on ongoing social and cultural factors rather than individuals early childhood experiences in contributing to deviance Includes: – Strain Theory – Control Theory – Differential Association Theory – Labeling Theory

26 Example: Strain Theory Deviance is the outcome of social strain due to the structure of (American) society Society overemphasizes importance of monetary success while failing to emphasize importance of legitimate means to achieve that success Individuals who occupy favorable positions high in the social class structure have many legitimate means at their disposal to achieve this success, whereas those in lower, less favorable positions do not Because of this shared goal of financial success, but unequal access to important resources, the form of deviance a person engages in depends on the position he or she occupies in the social structure

27 Example: Strain Theory

28 Strength: emphasizes external causes of deviant behavior, which are within the power of society to correct – very influential among sociologists Weakness: inability to explain kinds of deviance that occur among all social strata and social groups (e.g. drug dependence, domestic violence) and for reasons other than acquiring wealth

29 Example: Control Theory Why do most individuals NOT commit deviance? – Cause of deviance is ABSENCE of what causes conformity Social Attachments –> Social Control –> Conformity – Intimate attachments to parents, teachers, peers, etc. help people establish values linked to conventional lifestyle Absence of social attachments, and subsequently, social control, leads to deviance – Without attachments, opinions of others do not matter- individuals are free to violate social norms without fear of social disapproval

30 Example: Differential Association Theory Edwin Sutherland Criminal or deviant behavior is learned in the context of intimate group – criminal techniques – how to break into a house – criminal attitudes –such as rationalizations for committing crime Acquired through long standing interactions with others who hold this view Deviant behavior emerges the same as conformist behavior does – but due to different experiences and different associations, it leads to deviance rather than conformity

31 Example: Labeling Theory Examines process by which people come to be labeled as deviant Deviance is relevant – individuals are not deviant until given that label by a person of social power Emphasizes effect of the label on an individual and subsequent behavior

32 Summary Conformity can be External and internal mechanisms exist to maintain social control and conformity – External mechanisms include formal and informal, positive and negative sanctions Despite mechanisms of control, some individuals still deviate from norms – Several biological, psychological, and sociological theories exist to explain deviance – Some combination of explanations and theories is probably needed to gain fullest understanding of deviance and its cause


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