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A Sociological Look… Deviance Theories.

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Presentation on theme: "A Sociological Look… Deviance Theories."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Sociological Look… Deviance Theories

2 Read through the following list of behaviors…
Continuously talking to oneself in public Drag racing on a public street or highway Regularly using illegal drugs A man wearing women’s clothing Attacking another person with a weapon All of these scenarios involve someone breaking the rules or norms of society. Behavior that violates significant social norms is called deviance.

3 The Deviance Spectrum…
Not ALL norm violations are deviant acts. It is society’s judgment on which behaviors are considered deviant. For example, police officer kills a perpetrator of a crime to defend him/herself…Deviant? Many people become labeled deviant as they continue to repeat the offense. Ex. person gets caught speeding while driving once, they are not deviant, but if it continues, they may have their license taken away because they are a danger to have on the road. That person has just become deviant.

4 To be labeled deviant: You must be caught committing the deviant act.
You must also be stigmatized by society. What is a stigma? A mark of social disgrace that sets the deviant apart from the rest of society. (Example: Prison mates wear a special uniform so they can be identified. This serves as a warning sign to others as well as a form of public humiliation.)

5 Social Functions of Deviance
Unifying the Group Draws a line between those who are within the “normal group” and those who are breaking social norms. Clarifying Norms Deviance helps clarify what the social norms are, when they are broken, it helps others to understand what is “normal” or acceptable behavior. Punishment of deviant people serves as a warning for others. Diffusing Tension Minor acts of deviance can be used as “stress relievers” for those unhappy with a certain situation. For example, participating in a small demonstration could help someone battling over their discontent with the current political system.

6 Identifying Problems Providing Jobs
Deviance can help bring about social change by identifying problem areas. If many people are participating in the deviant behavior, it could be a warning sign that something in society needs to change. Providing Jobs Dealing with deviance provides a multitude of jobs including judges, lawyers, police officers, prison personnel, parole officers, crime reporters, criminologists, etc.

7 Cultural Transmission Theory
Views deviance as a learned behavior, just as non-deviant behavior is learned (through interaction with others) In many cases, deviant people have been exposed to deviant behavior more often and, as a result, the person is socialized into deviant behavior rather then into socially acceptable behavior. Differential Association—The proportion of interactions a person has with deviant vs. non-deviant behavior will determine their socialized behavior.

8 Cultural Transmission Theory
The cultural transmission theory is an interactionist theory of deviance The difference between deviants and the rest of society lies in the norms to which each person chooses to conform. The deviant individual conforms to norms that are not accepted by the larger community. The non-deviant conforms to socially accepted norms.

9 Structural-Strain Theory
A functionalist perspective on deviance. Views deviance as the natural outgrowth of the values, norms, and structure of society. Not everyone in society has the ability to achieve economic success, and therefore deviant behavior is the result of unequal opportunity (lack of education, cannot find job, etc.) Anomie—A situation that arises when the norms of society are unclear or are no longer applicable. Individuals do not have sufficient guidelines for behavior. (This leads to high rates of suicide)

10 Ways of adaptation to society
Conformity—accept the cultural goals of society and the means of reaching those goals Innovation—accept the cultural goals of society, but not the means of reaching those goals. Many become deviants, using illegal means to gain wealth, power and status. Ritualism—Instead of violating the norms for achievement, they give up the goals while continuing to observe the expected rules of behavior (Passing up a job promotion due to fear of rejection.) Retreatism—Reject both cultural goals and ways in which to achieve them. Usually these people are drug addicts and beggars. Rebellion—Trying to set new group of goals and means by which to achieve these goals. These are where members of revolutionary groups fall.

11 Structural-Strain Theory

12 Control Theory: Turns to social structure for an explanation of deviant behavior. Control theorists see deviance as a natural occurrence and conformity as the result of social control. People who have weak ties to the community are likely to commit deviant acts. Individuals who are integrated into the community are likely to conform. “I follow school rules not because I care or agree with them, I just think getting in trouble is not worth it.” (feels controlled by teachers, administrators, security guards, etc)

13 Conflict Theory: Competition and social inequality lead to deviance. They see social life as a struggle between those with power (upper class) and those without power (working/lower class). People with power commit deviant acts to keep power (think corruption). People without power commit deviant acts for two reasons—to obtain economic rewards or because they have low self-esteem/feel powerless. Deviance here is anything that threatens the power base. They blame deviance mostly on the lower classes.

14 Labeling Theory: From the interactionist perspective, this theory focuses on how individuals come to be labeled as deviant and believe all commit deviant acts at some point in life—but not all are labeled deviant. Two types of deviance: Primary Deviance: nonconformity that goes undetected by those in authority. These people do not consider themselves deviant—nor does society. Secondary Deviance: Results in individuals being labeled deviant and accepting this label as true. Because they are labeled, it changes his/her life. This becomes the person’s master status. (adopt permanent deviant life-style)

15 Deviance is not ALWAYS BAD
Don’t mistake deviance for crime or being a criminal. It’s not always bad behavior! It’s just behavior that violates cultural norms. For example….

16 One evening after work, a man was waiting for a train when an individual came up behind him, put a gun to his back and asked for the man’s wallet. The man calmly and willingly handed over his wallet. He then said to the young man that had just taken his wallet at gun point “you look cold, can I offer you my coat?” The young thief gave him an odd look and then took the coat. Next, the man said “you look like you could use a good meal, would you like to grab dinner together? I know a really good diner not far from here.” Once again, the young man gave him an odd look and agreed to join him at the diner. The two shared a quiet but peaceful meal together. No one in the diner would have suspected that the young man had just stolen the older man’s wallet! Finally the check came. The old man took a look at the check, and said, “I’d be happy to pay for your meal, but there’s just one problem…you have my wallet.” The thief shifted in his seat, then willingly gave the old man back his wallet. The old man paid for the entire check and the two left the diner. On the street the thief turned around and asked “Why didn’t you call the police, make a scene, or try to get me in trouble?” The old man shrugged and said “anyone who would take another man’s wallet and coat must be in a desperate situation. What you needed was a coat, a meal and some hope, not my money. At this, the two turned and left each other. Each of the characters in this story are “guilty” of a deviant act….what are they?

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