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Erickson’s Functionalist Perspective Deviance helps maintain boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Deviance bolsters cohesion and solidarity.

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Presentation on theme: "Erickson’s Functionalist Perspective Deviance helps maintain boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Deviance bolsters cohesion and solidarity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Erickson’s Functionalist Perspective Deviance helps maintain boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Deviance bolsters cohesion and solidarity of a community. Deviance promotes the stability of social life. Deviance provides employment.

2 Erickson Continued. A deviant is someone whose actions/identities have moved outside the margins of the group- when society holds him/her accountable for it, it reinforces boundaries. Every time society reacts to deviance it sharpens its authority and power. Agencies designed to curtail deviance often perpetuate it.

3 Durkheim Crime and deviance are normal, provided they don’t exceed a certain level. Deviance and Crime free societies are impossible to attain (see example with drug use and legalization debate). The authority the moral conscience enjoys must not be excessive. Individual originality must be able to express itself.

4 Durkheim and Anomie Anomie= absence of social ties that bind people to society, state of where norms about good and bad have little salience in people’s lives. Outcome of advanced Capitalism and ideology of individualism (latter 20 th century U.S.) –Who are you responsible to? Example of deviance and responsibility. –Weakening of social ties destabilizes society and leads to chaos. –Collective good versus individual self-interest? Did Durkheim believe functional society’s had to chose between these two things or did he advocate balance between them? Why?

5 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) As Becker relates, "Social groups create deviance [crime] by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance [crime], and by applying those rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders

6 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) Note that labeling theorists attempt to explain only what Lemert called "secondary deviance” Secondary deviance = the commission of crime after the first criminal act, with the acceptance of a criminal label

7 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) Secondary deviance begins with an initial criminal act, or what Lemert called "primary deviance" The causes of initial criminal acts are unspecified

8 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) If society, especially official agents of the state, reacts negatively to an initial criminal act, the offender will likely be stigmatized, or negatively labeled

9 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) It is possible, even likely, that an initial criminal act will not be reacted to at all, or that the offender will not accept or internalize the negative label

10 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) However, if the negative label is successfully applied to the offender, the label may produce a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the offender's self-image is defined by the label

11 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) Secondary deviance is the prophecy fulfilled The crime prevention implication of labeling theory is simply not to label or to employ "radical nonintervention” This might be accomplished by:

12 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) Decriminalization (the elimination of many behaviors from the scope of the criminal law) Diversion (removing offenders from involvement in the criminal justice process)

13 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) Greater due process protections (replacing discretion with the rule of law Deinstitutionalization (a policy of reducing jail and prison populations and construction)

14 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) Once a person is labeled and stereotyped as "criminal," he or she probably will be shunned by law-abiding society, have difficulty finding a good job, lose some civil rights (if convicted of a felony), etc.

15 Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) The criminal (and delinquent) label is conferred by all agencies of criminal justice-- police, courts, and corrections--as well as the media, the schools, churches, and other social institutions

16 Conflict Theory Deviance is caused by economic and political forces in society. Criminal law and the criminal justice system are viewed as vehicles for controlling the poor members of society. The criminal justice system serves the rich and powerful. Deviance and Crime are defined in ways that meet the needs of those who control society. Deviance is caused by economic and political forces in society. Criminal law and the criminal justice system are viewed as vehicles for controlling the poor members of society. The criminal justice system serves the rich and powerful. Deviance and Crime are defined in ways that meet the needs of those who control society. Unit

17 Conflict Theory (cont.) Crime is a function of the extent of conflict generated by stratification, hierarchical relationships, power differentials, or the ability of some groups to dominate other groups in that society

18 Conflict Theory (cont.) Crime, in short, is caused by relative powerlessness Conflict theory has two principal crime prevention implications:

19 Conflict Theory (cont.) On the one hand, dominant groups could cede some of their power to subordinate groups, making subordinate groups more powerful and reducing conflict

20 Conflict Theory (cont.) Increasing equality in that way might be accomplished by redistributing wealth through a more progressive taxation scheme, for example

21 Conflict Theory (cont.) On the other hand, dominant group members could become more effective rulers and subordinate group members better subjects

22 Conflict Theory (cont.) To do so, dominant groups would have to do a better job of convincing subordinate groups that the current inequitable distribution of power in society is legitimate and in their mutual interests

23 Conflict Theory (cont.) Members of subordinate groups, in turn, must either believe it or resign themselves to their inferior status

24 Conflict Theory (cont.) Either way, dominant group members hope that over time subordinate group members will learn to follow those who dominate them


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