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C HAPTER 7 Deviance and Social Control. “It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.” Howard Becker, 1966 W HAT.

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Presentation on theme: "C HAPTER 7 Deviance and Social Control. “It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.” Howard Becker, 1966 W HAT."— Presentation transcript:

1 C HAPTER 7 Deviance and Social Control

2 “It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.” Howard Becker, 1966 W HAT IS D EVIANCE ?

3 D EVIANCE Order and stability are the cornerstones of social life. Deviance – behavior outside the normal range of social expectations; any behavior that departs from societal or group norms; any violation of norms. Deviants – people who violate rules, whether the infraction is minor or serious.

4 P OSITIVE & N EGATIVE D EVIANCE Negative Deviance – involves behavior that underconforms to accepted norms. Negative deviants reject the norms, misinterpret the norms, or are unaware of the norms.

5 P OSITIVE & N EGATIVE D EVIANCE Positive Deviance – encompasses behavior that overconforms to social expectations. Positive deviants conform to norms in an unbalanced way.


7 D EFINING D EVIANCE Deviance is a matter of social definition. Because norms vary from group to group, society to society, and time to time, the behavior considered to be deviant varies. What is Deviant to Some is not Deviant to Others Deviance is ‘relative’. Can you think of other examples that demonstrate the relativity of deviance?

8 D EFINING D EVIANCE Depends on three circumstances: 1. social status and power of the individuals involved 2. social context in which the behavior occurs 3. the historical period in which the behavior takes place

9 F ORMS OF S OCIAL C ONTROL Social control – means for promoting conformity to norms Internal control – lies within the individual; self-imposed; acquired during socialization External control – exists outside the individual; based on sanctions designed to encourage desired behavior Negative sanctions – frown, gossip, imprisonment, capital punishment, death penalty Positive sanctions – smile, award, prize Shaming – a sanction that is particularly effective when used by members of a primary group or in a small community. Degradation Ceremony

10 B IOLOGICAL E XPLANATIONS OF D EVIANCE Lombroso - believed criminals were throwbacks to earlier human evolutionary development. Sheldon - attributed crime to body shape (endomorphs, mesomorphs - most likely to be criminals, and ectomorphs). Explanations focus on genetic predispositions

11 S OCIOLOGISTS ’ E VALUATION OF B IOLOGICAL E XPLANATIONS There are five main reasons sociologists have not placed much stock in biological explanations of deviance. 1. They ignore the fact that deviance is more widely distributed throughout society than are heredity and other physical abnormalities. 2. They almost totally discount the influence of social, economic, and cultural factors. 3. Early theories were based on methodologically weak research. 4. There are ideological problems and controversial implications inherent in the biological approach. 5. Biological factors are more often invoked to explain the deviance of armed robbers, murders, and heroin addicts than, say, the crimes of corporate executives, government officials, and other high-status persons.

12 P SYCHOLOGICAL E XPLANATIONS OF D EVIANCE All psychological explanations of deviance locate the origin of criminality in the individual personality. They take for granted the existence of a “criminal personality,” a pathological personality with measurable characteristics that distinguish criminals from noncriminals. Contend that criminals are born, not made.

13 C RITIQUE OF P SYCHOLOGICAL E XPLANATIONS 1. They often ignore social, economic, and cultural factors shown by sociological research. 2. Focus on deviance such as murder, rape, and drug addiction with relatively little to say about such deviance as white-collar-crime. 3. Tend to view deviance as a result of physical or psychiatric defects rather than as actions considered deviant by social and legal definitions. 4. They cannot explain why deviant behavior is engaged in by individuals not classifiable as pathological personalities. 5. Psychological theories emphasize pathology and suggest eugenic solutions to the crime problem that are unacceptable to some segments of society.

14 S OCIOLOGICAL E XPLANATIONS OF D EVIANCE Look for Answers Outside Individuals Socialization Membership in Subcultures Social Class Perspectives…

15 S YMBOLIC I NTERACTIONIST P ERSPECTIVE OF D EVIANCE Differential association theory states deviant behavior is learned principally in primary groups. The idea of “birds of a feather flock together.” Labeling theory views an act as deviant only if other people respond to it as if it were deviant; the view that the labels people are given affect their own and others’ perceptions of them, thus channeling their behavior either into deviance or conformity. Most people resist being labeled deviant, but some revel in a deviant identity. Self-fulfilling prophecy

16 L ABELING T HEORY C ONCEPTS Primary Deviance – a person engages in an isolated act of deviance. Secondary Deviance – acts of deviance become part of one’s lifestyle and personal identity. Stigma – termed coined by Goffman, an undesirable characteristic or label used by others to deny the deviant full social acceptance.

17 F UNCTIONALIST V IEW OF D EVIANCE Negative consequences of deviance: encourages social disorder erodes trust encourages further nonconformity in others diverts resources from other social needs Positive consequences of deviance: helps clarify norms & offers a safety valve increases social unity & brings about needed social change

18 S TRAIN T HEORY Merton’s strain theory adapted Durkheim’s concept of anomie. Anomie – the strain people experience when they are blocked in their attempts to achieve those goals. Strain theory – deviance is most likely to occur when there is a discrepancy between a culturally prescribed goal (economic success) and a legitimate means (education) of obtaining it.

19 A PPLICATION OF S TRAIN T HEORY Cloward & Ohlin (1998) – refined strain theory to emphasize that deviant behavior is not an automatic response but must be learned. Illegitimate Opportunity Theory – Explains why social classes have distinct styles of crimes.

20 E VALUATION OF S TRAIN T HEORY Strain theory has had great staying power due to its applicability to juvenile delinquency and crime. Its emphasis on social structure rather than individuals has been a strength. However, it assumes a consensus in values (everyone values success in economic terms). Does not explain an individual’s preference for one mode of adaptation over another. It offers no help in explaining other types of deviance (e.g., mental illness).

21 C ONTROL T HEORY Everyone is propelled towards deviance, but a system of controls work against these motivations to deviate. 1. Inner Controls 2. Outer Controls Effective Inner Controls 1. Attachment 2. Commitment 3. Involvement 4. Belief

22 C ONFLICT P ERSPECTIVE OF D EVIANCE Emphasizes social inequality and power differentials. Most powerful members of a society are said to determine group norms and the definition of deviant. Law is an instrument of oppression.


24 R ACE, E THNICITY, AND C RIME Statistics show that African Americans and Latinos are dealt with more harshly than Whites – from arrest through indictment, conviction, sentencing, and parole. Even when criminal offense is the same, African Americans and Latinos are more likely than Whites to be convicted and serve more time in prison than Whites.

25 O CCUPATIONAL AND C ORPORATE C RIME White-collar crime is any crime committed by respectable and high-status people in the course of their occupation. Occupational crime – illegal acts be people either in their employment or in their personal financial pursuits. Corporate crime – crime committed on behalf of organizations.

26 C RIME IN THE U NITED S TATES Crime is defined as acts in violation of the law. Data comes from the Uniform Crime Report and National Crime Victimization Survey.


28 J UVENILE C RIME Juvenile crime refers to violations of the law committed by those less than eighteen years of age. Juvenile offenders are the third largest category of criminals in the U.S. Juvenile crime reached its lowest in a decade in Several factors account for this. A decline in the demand for crack cocaine. Gangs have reached truces. Police have clamped down on illegal guns. Repeat juvenile offenders have been given stiffer sentences.

29 G LOBAL C RIME The United States has more violent crime than other industrialized countries – highest murder, rape, and robbery rates. According to the United Nations Survey of Crime ( ): rape and robbery increased, assault increased, burglary decreased homicide declined General trend in crime suggests that the world is becoming slightly safer.

30 G LOBAL T ERRORISM Terrorism – the illegal use of violence to intimidate a government or group or individual in pursuit of political, religious, economic, or social goals. Transnational terrorism – involves terrorists in one country committing terrorist acts against targets in another country. Domestic terrorism – occurs against targets in the same country as the perpetrators.

31 According to U.S. Justice Department (2008): 12,000 terrorist attacks against noncombatants occurred around the world in % in the Near East 35% in South Asia Terrorism occurs under certain social conditions: in politically weak states or in nations that have undergone years of political violence in countries with a foreign occupier in countries with widespread racial or ethnic discrimination in the presence of extreme secular or religious ideologies

32 C RIME C ONTROL IN THE U NITED S TATES A criminal justice system may draw on four approaches to punishment: Deterrence – emphasizes intimidation, using threat of punishment to discourage crime. Retribution – criminals pay compensation equal to their offenses against society. Incarceration – removes criminals from society. Rehabilitation – attempts to resocialize criminals.

33 Q UESTIONS FOR C ONSIDERATION Select one of the approaches to crime control that you believe has been successful. Explain why you believe it has been successful. Do you think there are parts of the world where it would not be successful? Why? Elaborate on your position. How have you seen labeling theory demonstrated in society? Provide examples and explain.

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