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Chapter 7 Deviant Behavior. Positivism Both biological and psychological views of criminal behavior seethe individual at fault in some way, not society.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7 Deviant Behavior. Positivism Both biological and psychological views of criminal behavior seethe individual at fault in some way, not society."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7 Deviant Behavior

2 Positivism Both biological and psychological views of criminal behavior seethe individual at fault in some way, not society. These theories are considered “positivist.” Positivism is the belief that applying scientific methods to the study of society, would reveal basic truths. So in the case of criminal behavior, this would mean that research would show causes of crime and have ideas about how to eliminate it.

3 Crime in social context Society has many sub-cultures. These sub- cultures may have certain rules or norms that differ from the mainstream of American culture. Which groups have opportunities for which crimes? What about gang sub-culture?

4 Functionalist theory on crime Crime results from tensions in society and a lack of moral regulation. Emile Durkheim—anomie—no clear standards of behavior in certain contexts. There is more room for individual choice today, so some non- conformity is to be expected. Deviance is necessary for society. It has an adaptive function because it has new ideas and challenges society. It brings about change.

5 Functionalist con’t Deviance promotes “boundary maintenance” between good and bad behaviors. A criminal event promotes a collective response and clarifies social norms. An example is the New town school shootings. The response by the community and by America heightens group solidarity. All are outraged and shocked. Now there is a push for gun control regulation changes.

6 Functionalist con’t Merton, a more recent American sociologist, said there is a strain on individual behavior when accepted norms conflict with social reality. Americans want material success and believe it can be achieved with hard work and discipline. Many Americans have little opportunity, but are under great pressure to succeed. Deviance results from economic inequalities, relative deprevation. Do we agree with this?

7 Sub-cultures Cohen said some sub-cultures reject middle class values and establish different norms ie,. Stealing cars may be accepted. Others emphasize the lack of opportunity for success using mainstream ways. However, many people in low income communities adjust expectations downward according to what they see in their world.

8 Interactionist Theories Interactionists say deviance is socially constructed. How did certain behavior come to be seen as deviant? Why are certain groups labeled deviant? Differential association—in a society with many sub- cultures, some will tend to encourage illegal activity. Criminal behavior is learned within certain groups, especially peer groups. People learn to steal to make money, just as others work to make money. Labeling theory—interpret deviance as process of interaction between deviants and non-deviants.

9 Who is labeling the behavior deviant? Labels that create definitions of deviance are groups with power. Certain behaviors may be considered normal behavior by some in society but not by all. Primary Deviation- one act of deviant behavior. Secondary deviation-individual accepts the label and considers himself deviant.

10 “Learning to be deviant” may be reinforced by organizations that are supposed to correct such behavior, such as a social service agency or the police. Social service people may label children as poor, may assume poor children do not do well in school, are not supervised,etc.

11 Conflict Theory Draws on elements of Marxism in that it says people choose to engage in deviant behavior due to inequalities in economic system. Powerful groups use the law to maintain order. For example, many states have long prison sentences for drug dealing. White-collar criminals often appear to have better outcomes with justice system.

12 Control Theory Crime occurs due to imbalance between criminal impulses and social controls to prevent it. People are rational and selfish. They weigh benefits and risks of criminal behavior. Bonds that link people to society: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. If these bonds are strong, social control and conformity are maintained.

13 Control con’t Control theorists see crime as an increase in opportunity ie, more houses are empty all day, many consumer goods to steal. Best policy is to take measures to control a criminal’s ability to commit crime. This does not address underlying causes. Sometimes it shifts crime to a different area.

14 Theory of Broken Windows Any sign of social disorder encourages crime. Minor acts of deviance can lead to more serious crime. Police target quality of life crimes such as drinking or using drugs in public. But are certain groups targeted? Is that fair? Is that legal?

15 Conclusions Contexts where certain behavior is deviant vary widely. Social learning and surroundings may determine whether some one commits a criminal act or is a criminal. Labeling theory is very popular today. How do some activities come to be illegal? What about power relationships? How crime is understood leads to policies to deal with it.

16 Violent crime in U.S. Most believe it has to do with availability of guns, influence of frontier and independence in culture, subcultures of violence in large cities. Early in U.S. history, some immigrant areas did their own policing to control neighborhoods.

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