*All behaviors are shaped by society. Deviance varies according to the cultural norms of a society. People become deviant as others in society define them that way. Both the acts of rule-making and rule- breaking involve social power. The Function of Deviance: Structural – Functional Analysis
Durkheim felt that there was nothing abnormal about deviance. Deviance affirms cultural norms and values. Responding to deviant behavior clarifies a society’s moral boundaries and promotes community unity. Deviance also encourages social change.
Robert Merton: Structural- Functional Analysis Merton proposed that excessive deviance results from certain social arrangements. The type of deviance depends on whether a society provides people the means to achieve cultural norms. For example, the strain between our own culture’s emphasis on wealth and the limited opportunities people have gives rise to crime.
Medicalization of Deviance: Sutherland and Hirschi Sutherland’s TheoryHirschi’s Theory A person’s tendency toward deviance depends on the degree or amount of contact they may have with other deviants. Social control depends on a person imagining the consequences of his/her behavior.
Deviance and Inequality: Social-Conflict Theory Deviance reflects social inequality. People we think of as deviant share the trait of powerlessness. The norms of any society generally reflect the values and interests of the wealthy and the powerful People who threaten the rich are defined as radicals and/or thieves.
Deviance and Inequality: Steven Spitzer Spitzer contends that deviant labels are attached to people who interfere with the operation of capitalism. People who threaten the property of others are labeled as deviants. Those who will not or cannot work also risk being labeled as deviant.
The Criminal Justice System The criminal justice system is society’s formal system of social control. Police serve as the primary point of contact between the system and the people. 90% of criminal cases are resolved before trial through plea bargaining. The oldest justification for punishment is the public’s craving for revenge. (map pg. 180, chart pg. 182, map pg. 184, graph pg. 185)