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What is deviance and how is it explained?

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1 What is deviance and how is it explained?

2 What is Deviance? Deviance- behavior that violates significant social norms Acts of Deviance may be judged differently based on… The situation The society Time period People may be considered deviant based on… Continuously breaking a norm Example: Continuously getting speeding tickets Committing an act that has serious negative consequences for society

3 Labeling Someone as Deviant
Two parts to labeling someone as deviant: Must be caught committing a deviant act Must be stigmatized by society Stigma- mark of social disgrace that sets the deviant apart from the rest of society Can be outward signs, but usually are negative social reactions that result from being labeled deviant.

4 Social Functions of Deviance
Émile Durkheim found that deviance fulfills some social functions: Clarify norms- When rules are broken and the guilty are caught, members of society are reminded of the norms Unify the group- Drawing the line between conforming members and “outsiders” creates a sense of community and belief in shared values Diffuse tension- committing minor acts of deviance to relieve tension without disrupting society in a major way Promote social change- When large numbers of people defy a particular norm it points out that that particular norm may need to be changed Another social function deviance fulfills: Providing jobs: Provides jobs to help maintain norms Examples: Judges, police, crime reporters Criminologists- social scientists who study criminal behavior

5 Deviance Perspectives: Where Does It Come From?
Functionalist: natural part of society Conflict: power and inequality Interactionist: influence of individuals’ interaction

6 Functionalist Perspective
Developed by sociologist Robert K. Merton Strain Theory- deviance is the natural result of social structures within society (based on values, norms, and structure) Anomie-situation that arises when the norms of society are unclear or are no longer applicable. Occurs when people cannot meet society’s approved goals because they do not have the means. Leaves individual without sufficient guidelines for behavior causing confusion for individuals and for society.

7 Functionalist Perspective Cont’d
Ways in which individuals respond to culturally approved goals and legitimate means of achieving these goals: Conformity- accepting goals and means for achieving goals Most common Only way which does not include deviant behavior Innovation- accept the goals, but do not accept approved means for achieving goals Come up with new plans for achieving goals Example: Drug dealers want to be economically successful (acceptable goal), but reach that goal illegally Ritualism- reject the goals, but accept approved means for achieving goals Have a ritual of upholding norms Example: A worker who does not care about money, but still continues to work hard and be promoted

8 Functionalist Perspective Cont’d
Ways in which individuals respond to culturally approved goals and legitimate means of achieving these goals: Retreatism- rejection of goals and rejection of acceptable means to obtain them Examples: beggars, drug addicts Rebellion- rejection of goals and means to obtain them and replace them with new goals and ways to obtain them Examples: revolutionary movements Strain Theory Video


10 Conflict Perspective Conflict Perspective- competition and social inequality lead to deviance Social life is a struggle between the upper class and the lower class People with power commit deviant acts to maintain their power People from lower classes commit deviant acts for one of two reasons: To obtain economic rewards Have low self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness

11 Conflict Perspective Cont’d
Conflict theorist, Richard Quinney, believes that the ruling class defines what behavior is deviant. The ruling class also develops ideologies that explain deviance as a problem found primarily among lower classes. The law system enforces the type of laws lower class individuals commit vs. the type of laws ruling class individuals commit Example: Lower class selling drugs vs. upper class embezzling money Example: Celebrity caught with drugs vs. lower class caught with drugs

12 Interactionist Perspective
Interactionists have three different theories: Control Theory Cultural Transmission Theory Labeling Theory

13 Interactionist Perspective: Control Theory
Control Theory- believes deviance is a natural occurrence but focuses on why people conform rather than the causes of deviance Social ties determine conformity Strong ties=conformity Weak ties=deviant acts Control Theorist, Travis Hirschi, found that people develop strong social bonds by… Form attachments with others who accept the norms of society Have strong belief in moral codes of society Show commitment to traditional societal values and goals Fully involved in nondeviant activities Travis Hirschi and Michael Fottfredson found that conformity is the result of self-control Self-control determined by socialization especially during childhood Rewards and punishments

14 Interactionist Perspective: Cultural Transmission Theory
Cultural Transmission Theory- deviance is a learned behavior learned through interaction with others Differential Association- frequency and closeness of associations a person has with deviant and nondeviant individuals The more a person interacts with those committing deviant acts, the more likely he/she is to be a deviant


16 Interactionist Perspective: Cultural Transmission Theory Cont’d
Techniques of Neutralization- suspending moral beliefs to commit deviant acts Gresham Sykes and David Matza identified these techniques: Denying responsibility Ex: “It was an accident” Denying injury Ex: “No one was hurt” Denying the victim Ex: “He had it coming” Condemning the authorities Ex: “The courts are corrupt” Appealing to higher loyalties Ex: “I was protecting my family”

17 Interactionist Perspective: Labeling Theory
Labeling Theory- how individuals come to be labeled as deviant All people commit deviant acts that range in seriousness. Not everyone is labeled as deviant though.

18 Interactionist Perspective: Labeling Theory
Two types of Deviance: Primary Deviance- nonconformity that goes undetected by authority May be well-concealed, may not be well-concealed Not considered deviants Secondary Deviance- individual is labeled as deviant and accts the label as true Degradation Ceremony- in a public setting the individual is denounced, found guilty, and given new identity of deviant Labeling someone as a deviant may cause that person to continue coming deviant acts

19 Cultural Transmission
Perspective Theory Questions Functionalist How do individuals respond to culturally approved goals and the legitimate means of achieving them? (conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, rebellion) Strain Conflict What is the result of competition and social inequality? (deviance) Who decides what is deviant? (ruling classes) Interactionist Why do people conform to norms? (strength of social ties determines conformity) Control How do people learn conformity or deviance? (through socialization, or interaction with others) Where does this learning mainly occur? (primary groups) Cultural Transmission How do people become identified as deviant? (through secondary deviance, or being detected as deviant) Labeling

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