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Deviance and Crime
Transcript of Deviance and Crime
Any behavior, belief or condition that violates significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs
Who Defines Deviance?
In Sociology, we generally acknowledge that deviance is "relative"-meaning an act only becomes deviant when it is socially defined that way
the systematic practices that social groups develop in order to encourage conformity to norms, rules and laws and to discourage deviance
Functionalist Perspectives on Deviance
Social norms are weak, absent or conflicting
Merton's "Strain Theory"
People feel strain when they are exposed to cultural goals that they are unable to obtain because they do not have access to culturally approved means of achieving those goals
Illegitimate Opportunity Structures
Cloward and Ohlin proposed a variation of Merton's theory
Illegitimate Opportunity Structures
-circumstances that provide an opportunity for people to acquire through illegitimate activities what they cannot achieve through legitimate channels
Gangs were used as the primary example
Conflict Perspective on Deviance
Among conflict theorists, there are different approaches to the question
Can mean many different things
Behavioral, Belief system, Appearance, etc.
Degrees of Deviance-folkways, mores, crimes
Internal vs. External
Socialization vs. Sanctions
Modern Functionalists identify deviance as universal and even useful for 3 reasons
1)Deviance clarifies rules
2)Deviance unites a group
3)Deviance promotes social change
However, these theorists would acknowledge that certain deviance can be dysfunctional
Merton identified five ways in which people adapt to cultural goals
(p.185 has a great chart of these five ways)
People accept culturally approved goals and means to achieve the goal
People accept society's goals, but use unapproved ways to achieve the goal
People give up on societal goals but still adhere to the socially approved means for achieving them
People give up on the approved goals and the approved means
The same as retreatism, but in rebellion, people actually seek to replace both the goals and the means
Respond-Which adaptation do you feel Chris from "Into the Wild" fit in with? Discuss why.
Criminal, Conflict, and Retreatist Gangs
Illegal activity makes attaining goals of wealth, power and supporting one's self possible
Located in places where there are not legitimate or illegitimate opportunities, therefore new "turf" is sought
Unable to gain access through legitimate means, unwilling to engage in illegal means to acquire wealth, consumption becomes emphasized, high levels of addiction
Who determines what kinds of behavior are deviant?
Deviance and Power Relations
Political/Economic elites determine deviant definitions, thus norms and laws are established to benefit those in power not to truly reflect right and wrong
Deviance and Capitalism
Deviance and Crime are a function of the capitalist economic system. Individuals with economic and political power define as criminal any behavior that threatens their own interests
Deviance and Feminist Approaches
Predominantly beginning in the 1970's, some Sociologists began examining gender and deviance (Adler and Simons)
There have been multiple branches of the feminist approach, with some focusing on gender discrimination, patriarchy, and capitalism's impact on women