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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 8: DEVIANCE AND SOCIAL CONTROL"— Presentation transcript:

What is deviance? Why do people commit deviant acts?


3 What is Deviance? Deviance is any violation of rules or norms
Deviance is “relative”: “what is deviant” varies from society to society and group to group. “Crime” is also relative. Although deviance is typically associated with behaviors, it can also include violations of ability (such as blindness) and appearance (such as obesity). “Stigma” refers to “blemishes” that discredit a person’s claim to a “normal” identity, according to Sociologist Erving Goffman.

4 By making behavior predictable, norms make social life possible.
Consequently, all human groups develop a system of social control with formal and informal means of enforcing norms. One important means are negative sanctions, which can range from frowns to capital punishment. The more seriously the group views a norm, the harsher the penalty for violating it. Groups can also employ positive sanctions. An especially effective negative sanction within primary groups and small communities is shaming, which typically involves subjecting a “rule-breaker” so public ridicule, humiliation, and/or condemnation.

5 Explanations for Deviant Behavior
Biological explanations of juvenile delinquency and crime focus on genetic predispositions. Psychological explanations focus on abnormalities within the individual (personality disorders) Sociological explanations focus on outside the individual, looking for sociological influences.

Symbolic interactionists use differential association theory, control theory, and labeling theory to explain deviance.

7 Differential Association Theory
According to this theory, families, friends, neighborhoods, and subcultures with which people associate teach them attitudes, that in turn, translate into conforming or deviating behaviors. Research indicates that delinquents are more likely to come from families who get into trouble with the law. ½ of all jail inmates have a relative who has served time. Further research demonstrates that delinquency tends to be clustered in certain neighborhoods with children from these neighborhoods more likely to become delinquent than children from other neighborhoods. Although groups influence behavior, symbolic interactionists also stress that they do not determine behavior. People make their own choices.

8 CONTROL THEORY According to Control Theory people generally avoid deviance because of an effective system of inner and outer controls. Inner controls include internalized morality—conscience, religious principles, ideas of right and wrong, fear of punishment, etc. People’s outer controls consist of other significant people in their lives, such as family, friends, and police, who influence them not to deviate. The stronger an individual’s bonds are with social structures, such as the family or school, the more effective their inner controls are. These bonds are based on attachments, commitments, involvements, and beliefs. These components summarize one’s level of self-control. The key to learning high levels of social control is socialization, especially in childhood. Parents help their children develop self-control for disciplining them and punishing their deviant acts.

9 LABELING THEORY According to this theory, people are assigned labels that become part of their self-concept, which, in turn, channels them toward conforming or deviant behaviors

10 Labeling, cont’d. Some groups revel in being labeled deviant.
“The Saints and the Roughnecks” study vividly illustrates how labels can become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

11 STRAIN THEORY Robert Merton developed strain theory to analyze what happens when people are socialized into accepting cultural goals and the legitimate means to achieve them. People who experience strain are likely to feel anomie, a sense of normlessness. Merton identified 5 responses people have to society’s attempt to motivate them to strive for success. 1) conformity (using socially accepted means to attain goals) 2) innovation (accepting the goals of society but using illegitimate means to attain them) 3) ritualism ( giving up on excelling or advancing in one’s cultural goals but nevertheless maintaining conventional rules of conduct) 4) retreatism (rejecting cultural goals and the institutionalized means of achieving them) 5) rebellion (rejecting and seeking to replace cultural goals and the institutionalized means of achieving them)

Social classes have distinct styles of crime associated with their different opportunity structures. Functionalists point out that industrialized societies socialize people into wanting material possessions while, at the same time, providing them with school systems that promote middle-class values which conflict with the values and behaviors of members of the lower-classes. According to sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin, as educational failure occurs, many poor people turn to robbery, burglary, drug dealing, prostitution, pimping, gambling, and/or hustling, to achieve the cultural goal of success. The more privileged social classes commit “white collar crimes” such as tax evasion, bribery, fraud, and embezzlement. The public is more aware of crimes committed by poor people because of the associated violence, but in terms of dollars, white collar crime is far costlier. There has been a growing number of female offenders in recent years.

Claim that power plays a central role in defining and punishing crime. The group in power uses the law and criminal justice system to maintain its power and privilege over other groups. The fundamental class division is between capitalists and the working class. Conflict theorists contend that the law works as an instrument of oppression.

14 Conflict perspective, cont’d.
Because property crimes of the working class threaten both the sanctity of private property and the positions of the powerful, these crimes are most likely to be prosecuted, and afterward, severely punished. As more groups have gained access to power, the legal system has changed. For example, homosexuality is no longer a crime or a psychological disorder, but, rather, a sexual orientation.

1. denial of responsibility (“I’m not responsible because……..”) 2. denial of injury (“Nobody got hurt”) 3. denial of victim (“the person deserved what he/she got”) 4. condemnation of the condemners (“Who are these people to judge?”) 5. appeal to higher loyalty (“I had to stick up for my family”, etc.)

16 REACTIONS TO DEVIANTS Includes everything from mild sanctions to capital punishment. The U.S. has more prisoners, as well as a larger percentage of its population in prison, than any other nation. 94% of the inmates in U.S. prisons are men and almost ½ are African American. 43% of U.S. inmates have less than a high school education; 2.7% are college graduates. Almost all prisoners are young, between the ages of 18 and 44. Most have never been married. With more people in prison and “get tough” legislation, such as mandatory sentencing and the 3-strike laws, crime has dropped. An extremely high recidivism rate (% of former prisoners who are rearrested), makes it apparent that prisoners are not rehabilitated. Official crime statistics should be interpreted with caution. Many crimes go unreported, and power plays a central role in which behaviors or beliefs get defined as crime, and how actively “criminal behaviors” are prosecuted and/or punished. Definitions of crime change as people’s views change. “Hate crimes” are a new category created recently. Over the past 100 years, there has been a growing tendency toward medicalizaton of deviance, viewing deviance, including crime, as mental illness.

17 CRIME Imprisonment: Removing deviants from society.
The Recidivism Rate—the proportion of people rearrested: 1) for those sentenced for violent crimes within just 3 years of release, 2 out of 3 (62%) are rearrested and ½ (52%) are put back in prison. 2) for property offenses it is even higher. These statistics show that if our prisons are meant to rehabilitate they are failures.

Functionalists contend that deviance, including violence, is a natural part of society and fulfills necessary functions for society: 1) clarifies moral boundaries and norms 2) promotes social unity 3) promotes social change

Capital punishment is the most extreme measure the state takes. Some sociologists contend that the death penalty exhibits gender, social class, and racial bias.



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