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Course Summary Week 2 Sociology has a distinctive way of understanding human experience Week 3 This distinctive understanding is based on recognising that.

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Presentation on theme: "Course Summary Week 2 Sociology has a distinctive way of understanding human experience Week 3 This distinctive understanding is based on recognising that."— Presentation transcript:

1 Course Summary Week 2 Sociology has a distinctive way of understanding human experience Week 3 This distinctive understanding is based on recognising that patterns of social organisation and interaction exist, the social structure, that affect our behaviour Week 4 This social structure does not involve humans alone but also animals. Further it is based upon our biological structure Week 5 The social structure organises and directs our biological structure re emotions Week 6 Modern social structure is fragmented and potentially fragile. We become part of it through socialisation into dominant norms. Social fragmentation may reinforce social divisions and confused personal identity Week 7 This suggests we derive our personal identity from the social order. How is this done? Why do attempts to escape from socially defined identities tend to end in failure? Week 8 Is deviance a way of evading social control and socially constructed identities? Consideration of arguments that deviance itself is a) socially constructed; b) it benefits the social system; c) deviants do not simply break rules, they conform to different rules.

2 Social Order and Deviance Emphasis so far has been on the how social reality is constructed and maintained as orderly, particularly through interaction What of challenges to social order? Deviance: Any social behaviour which departs from that regarded as normal or socially acceptable within a society or social context. (Jary, D & Jary J Collins Dictionary of Sociology) Intention: to show that deviance is part of the social order

3 Social Construction of Deviance 1 What do deviant acts have in common? Only that they are called deviant. Labelling Theory of Deviance: a)deviant behaviour is any behaviour which is successfully defined or labelled as deviant. b)labelling produces or amplifies (intensifies) deviance

4 On Being Sane in Insane Places Rosenham On being sane in insane places Science vol.179: 1975 pp.250–8. Classic study Pseudo-patients presenting symptoms of schizophrenia Deception not recognised by doctors On admission to hospital patients acted normally Normal behaviour interpreted by doctors as evidence of mental disorder The power of the label

5 Hierarchy of Credibility 1 Michel Foucault ( ) 1.Claim to knowledge is a claim to power 2.Claims to power depend upon particular types of knowledge 3.In modern society powerful knowledge is expert knowledge

6 Hierarchy of Credibility 2 Berger (1929-) 1.The credibility of a statement depends on the social status of the speaker 2.The higher the status of the speaker, the more credible the statement 3.Hence, credibility is hierarchically distributed pupil defers to teachers knowledge nurse defers to doctors knowledge lower court defers to higher courts knowledge

7 Power & Reality Power: The ability to achieve desired ends despite the resistance of others (Weber) A major source of power: defining reality for others

8 The Thomas Theorem Thomas, William I. C. ( ) If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences Thomas, William I.; Thomas, Dorothy: The Child in America (Alfred Knopf, 1929, 2nd ed., p. 572 (amended) If powerful people define situations as real they are more likely to be real in their consequences

9 Social Construction of Deviance 2 Durkheim Argument that deviance is functional (beneficial) for the social system Deviance enables: –a). Collective reaffirmation of shared values, therefore encourages moral consensus

10 Deviance enables: –b) Definition of limits to acceptable behaviour, therefore enables social integration

11 Deviance enables: –c) Reactions that affirm group solidarity

12 Deviance enables: –d) Experimentation with new rules therefore enables adaptation to new circumstances


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