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Soc 201 (Week 4 and 5)
benjamin waddellon 12 February 2015
Transcript of Soc 201 (Week 4 and 5)
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939): “Civilization is an exercise in self-restraint.”
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): “Anatomy is destiny.”
Rene Decartes (1596-1650): “Je pense, donc je suis” or “I think, therefore I am.”
Clarence Darrow (1857-1938): “Asking how people grew up may make all men equal yet.”
In groups, discuss:
Whether human behavior is the result of nature or nurture?
What evidence can you come up with for each position? (Think of specific examples.)
The lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential and learn culture.
Socialization is basic to human development
A person's fairly consistent patterns of acting, thinking, and feeling
Built by internalizing our surroundings
Humans need social experience to learn their culture and to survive.
Can personality develop without social experience?
Evolution of species
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
Human behavior was instinctive – our “nature”
U.S. economic system reflects “instinctive human competitiveness”
People are “born criminals”
Women are “naturally” emotional and men are “naturally” more rational
European explorers linked cultural differences to biology.
Viewed members of less technological societies as less evolved – “less human”.
view helped justify colonization v
Held that behavior is not instinctive but learned.
People are equally human, just culturally different.
Human behavior is rooted in nurture not nature
Nonetheless, ethically, researchers cannot place humans in total isolation to study what happens in the absence of socialization.
Studied rhesus monkeys.
Found that complete isolation for even six months seriously disturbed development
What do studies of isolated children teach us about the importance of social experience?
Evidence points to the crucial role of social experience in forming personality.
Humans can sometimes recover from abuse and short-term isolation.
There appears to be a point at which isolation in infancy causes permanent developmental damage.
“McDonald’s in Hong Kong” by James L. Watson
McDonald’s = attack on global culture?
Discussion of globalization by “focusing on the local”.
“In Hong Kong…the transnational is local” (86).
Demand: shifting class structure
British colony to transnational city
Regional center for financial services, high-tech
Cold meals= “offerings to the dead…” (86).
Café de Coral’s strategy was simple: It moved Hong Kong’s street food indoors…” (86).
“McDonald’s entered the Hong Kong market as a purveyor of snacks” (87).
Fish and plain hamburgers = best sellers
Service with a smile?
“In Hong Kong people are suspicious of anyone who displays what is perceived to be an excess of congeniality…” (89).
No Cantonese term, “friendly” is borrowed from English.
Cheap service = cooperative client?
“…average eating time for most Hong Kong customers was between 20 and 25 minutes, compared to 11 minutes in the United States…” (90).
Free napkins, utensils?
Hong Kong children: “rarely seen outside the home until the late 1970s” (93).
Dim Sam teahouses vs. McDs
Youth hang out (3-6pm)
“Hong Kong has itself become a major center for the production of transnational culture, not just a sinkhole for its consumption” (95).
March 16, 1968.
“Charlie” Company, Lt. Col. Frank Barker, Capt. Ernest Medina, Second Lt. William L. Calley, Jr., Unit, one reporter and one photographer.
“No written orders were ever issues (35).”
“Weakness of prior operations.”
“The My Lai Massacre: A Crime of Obedience?”
by Herbert C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton
“By nightfall, the official tally was 128 [to 500] VT killed and three weapons captured (37).”
“American military law specifically forbids the killing of unarmed civilians or military prisoners, as does the Geneva Convention between nations (38).”
“…pursuant to an order that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know to be illegal…or not excusable (39).”
“Meadlo cried as he fired…(40)”
CWO Hugh Thompson reports incident and at least two privates refuse orders.
Cover-up, Ronald Ridenhour and Seymour Hersh.
“Calley was the only person convicted, the only person to serve time (44).”
In groups, discuss the massacres and warfare.
Who is to blame for mass killings?
Should soldiers be punished in such situations or are these incidents a byproduct of warfare?
Is there such thing as just warfare?
Sanctioned massacres: context, target and intent.
Guerrilla warfare: “These consequences were anticipated by policymakers and indeed were indented as part of their pacification effort; the actions were designed to clear the countryside and deprive guerrillas of their base of operations, even if it meant destroying the civilian populations (45).”
Productivity rates, moral questions and euphemisms.
In groups of 2-3, discuss cases of “social currents,” in which individuals give in to the currents of the collective body. Also, consider cases where the “collective spirit” has drove individuals to do things they otherwise would not have done.
“Police accounts of normal force”
by Jennifer Hunt.
The capacity to use force.
Four examples of force
Legal or excessive?
Most studies focus on excessive use of force.
“It explores how police themselves classify and evaluate acts of force as either legal, normal or excessive” (367).
is that coercion necessary to subdue control, and restrain a suspect in order to take him into custody” (367).
“Even when they conform to my own sentiments and when I feel their reality within me, that reality does not cease to be objective, for it is not I who have prescribed these duties; I have received them through education (19).”
“Thus there are ways of acting, thinking and feeling which possess the remarkable property of existing outside the consciousness of the individual (20).”
Emile Durkheim, “What Makes Sociology Different?.”Ch3
“If you do not conform to ordinary conventions, if in my mode of dress I pay no heed to what is customary in my country and in my social class, the laughter I provoke, the social distance at which I am kept, produce, although in a more mitigated form, the same results as any real penalty (20).”
“Thus certain currents of opinion, whose intensity varies according to the time and country in which they occur, impel us, for example, towards marriage or suicide, towards higher or lower birth-rates, etc. Such currents are plainly social facts [social structure] (23).”
“Thus individuals who are normally perfectly harmless may, when gathered together in a crowd, let themselves be drawn into acts of atrocity (22).”
Examples of excessive force
1980/1990s, War on Drugs
2000s, War on Terrorism
Federal incentives (grants, quotas)
Local incentives (forfeiture of assets)
SWAT: Paramilitaries in the U.S.
In groups, discuss the following questions (provide examples):
Why does every society have deviance?
How does who and what are defined as deviant reflect social inequalities?
Can you think of examples of behavior that would be considered “deviant” in one social context and “acceptable” in another?
The recognized violation of cultural norms
The violation of a society’s formally enacted criminal law
All deviant actions or attitudes have in common some element of difference that causes us to think of another person as an “outsider”
Attempts by society to regulate people’s thoughts and behavior
Criminal Justice System
A formal response by police, courts, and prison officials to alleged violations of the law
The Biological Context
What does biological research add to our understanding of crime?
Early interest in criminality focused on biological causes
Theorized that criminals are physically different
Genetics and Crime
Genetics and Crime
Sheldon, Glueck, and Glueck (1950)
Suggested body structure might predict criminality
A powerful build does not necessarily cause or predict criminality
Genetic research today
(especially defective genes) together with
(especially early abuse) are strong predictors of adult crime and violence
These factors together were a better predictor of crime than either one alone
What are the limitations of the biological approach in explaining deviance?
Most actions defined as deviant are carried out by people who are physically normal
Biological approach looks at the individual
Offers no insight into how some kinds of behaviors come to be defined as deviant
Psychological explanations of deviance focus on individual abnormality
Most psychologists think personality is shaped by social experience
Deviance is viewed as the result of “unsuccessful” socialization
Personality patterns have some connection to deviance.
Most serious crimes are committed by people whose psychological profiles are normal.
Wrongdoing has more to do with the organization of society.
All behavior – deviance as well as conformity – is shaped by society.
Deviance varies according to cultural norms.
Can you give examples of how laws differ from place to place?
People become deviant as others define them that way.
Should we define a person who takes a grape from the produce aisle without the intent of paying for it a criminal?
The Social Foundations
Both rule making and rule breaking involve social power.
Who makes and breaks the rules?
What are the punishments handed out to? The poor? The rich?
To whom do laws serve, the majority or the rich minority?
The Social Foundations
Emile Durkheim (French)
Deviance is a necessary element of social organization
(1)Deviance affirms cultural values and norms.
(2)Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries.
(3)Responding to deviance promotes social unity.
(4)Deviance encourages social change.
The extent and kind of deviance depends on whether a society provides the means to achieve cultural goals
In the U.S., what are examples of culturally approved goals and the institutionalized means provided for people to achieve these goals? Are all people provided with these means?
Conformity lies in pursuing cultural goals through approved means
Merton’s Strain Theory
Using unconventional means to achieve a culturally approved goal
The inability to reach a cultural goal prompts the deviance of ritualism
Merton’s Strain Theory
Rejecting both cultural goals and means
Individuals “drop out” of society
Reject cultural dimensions of success and conventional means
Further step is forming a counterculture alternative
Merton’s Strain Theory
With strain theory in mind, in groups of 3-4 design an effective strategy for inner-cities experiencing issues with street gangs. (Consider both long-term and short-term solutions.)
**Are there cases that Merton’s theory does not explain well?
In groups, come up with an example of each of Merton's five categories. (Be able to explain how your example fits Merton's theory.)
Explains how people come to see deviance in everyday situations.
Labeling Theory (Like a "Self-fulfilling prophecy"
The idea that deviance and conformity result not so much from what people do as from how others respond to those actions
Norm violations that provoke slight reaction from others and have little effect on a person’s self-concept.
Response to primary deviance by which a person begins to take on a deviant identity and repeatedly breaks the rules.
Effect of labeling process.
A powerfully negative label that greatly changes a person’s self-concept and social identity.
Operates as a master status
"If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."
W. I. Thomas (1863–1947)
Links deviance to social inequality
Who or what is labeled deviant depends on which categories of people hold power in a society
Deviance and Inequality:
Capitalism is based on private control of property – threats are labeled as deviant.
Capitalism depends on productive labor – cannot or will not work – labeled deviant.
Capitalism depends on respect for authority figures – resist and be labeled deviant.
Anyone who directly challenges the capitalist status quo is likely defined as deviant
Deviance and Capitalism
Society positively labels whatever supports the operation of capitalism.
Capitalist system tries to control those who do not fit into the system.
Social welfare and criminal justice systems blame individuals, not the system, for social problems.
Deviance and Inequality
How would a Marxist analysis explain the fact that hundreds of miners have died in coal mines in West Virginia and other states in recent decades without anyone being charged with any crime?
Deviance and Inequality
Jeremy (life sentence, 3 strikes)
“Once he gets past the ‘little trouble’ that brought him to this unit, Jeremy likely will do his time in the ‘general population,’ where the vast majority of prisoners live” (354).
“Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison”
by Lorna A. Rhodes
Maximum security prisons: for the “mad” and the “bad”
Behavior: “madness” or “resistance” or result of “institutional mechanisms of control”?
“…projects of exclusion are framed in entirely individualistic and non-rehabilitative terms…” (357).
“Those outside prisons assume that “the worst of the worst” refers to prisoners who have committed particularly heinous crimes…” (361).
“Deinstitutionalization” of psychiatric hospitals in 70s and 80s
“It makes a person upset, and it’s like you’re diseased because you’re upset.”
Vincent (sentence nearly up, deranged)
“…no obligation other than to let hiom go from the gate of their prison into the surrounding semi-rural landscape” (355).
Division of labor within the prison: “clumsiness” of system.
“Their long months in isolation suggest that when both the mind and body of the prisoner become disheveled…it is increasingly difficult for him to be imagined in anything less than permanent quarantine” (365).
In groups, discuss the role of prisons in light of the four goals outlined above:
Retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation and security.
Does the current system overemphasize any of these four factors?
If so, what consequences might this have?
“Deviance and Liminality”
by Beth Montemurro
“Matza (1969) argued that all members of society have periods of nonconformity and, as a result, develop justifications or accounts in order to explain why they violate the norms, rules, and laws of society…(119).”
4:20 at Folsom Field in Boulder, Semana Santa, etc
Liminality: “…the bachelorette party calls attention to the transitory or liminal status of the bride-to-be…(119).”
Sex symbols: “81 percent…[of] all the parties that I observed included a sexual element or theme (120).”
In groups, discuss situations of “liminality.”
What other examples can you think of in which individuals commit “deviant” acts due to the “liminality” of the moment?
What explains these momentary lapses from established values and norms?
“Bachelorette party” vs. “Bridal shower”
“…the sexualized games at the shower connect sex to marriage and childbearing (122).”
“The women in the study have grown up with a sexual double standard that suggest that men who have multiple sexual partners are to be congratulated while women who do so are to be punished (122).”
In groups, discuss situations of “liminality.”
What drives the transition from “bridal showers” to “bachelorette parties”.
Is sexual promiscuity more acceptable for women today than in years past?
Finally, what is to account for these cultural shifts?
Early Discussions of Nature vs Nurture
Cultural Diversity and Colonialism
In groups, discuss the following:
What policy implications do these types of studies have?
For example, do these types of studies have any implications for the realm of education?
Taking these studies into consideration, do you think IQ tests measure intelligence or perhaps something else?
Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales
Alfred Binet (France, 1905)
Lewis Terman (U.S., 1916)
IQ scores and education.
What do we learn from studying situations of warfare?
What policy recommendations might studies like this influence?
Must we simply accept acts of atrocity as a by-product of war?
Anna (Penn, 1930s)
Isabelle (Ohio, 1930s)
Genie (Cali, 1970s)
Strangers Abroad: Margaret Mead
Males/Females act feminine
Males/Females act masculine
"Sex Temperament in Three Tribes," by Margaret Mead.
"If those temperamental attitudes which we have traditionally regarded as feminine--such as passivity, responsiveness, and a willingness to cherish children--can so easily be set up as the masculine pattern in one tribe, and in another be outlawed for the majority of women as well as for the majority of men, we can no longer have any basis for regarding such aspects of behaviour as sex-linked" (Mead 1935:1).
Gender Norms: Nature or Nurture?
John B. Watson
Harry & Margaret Harlow
"One's mother tongue does indeed mold the way one thinks about many aspects of the world, including space and time."
Which way is north?
"Se me extravio mi tarjeta..."
El Tiempo in Colombia
Garifuna in Nicaragua
"How Language Shapes Thoughts," by Lera Boroditsky.
In groups of 2-3, discuss whether or not there is any value in saving endangered languages. Then, discuss how you might go about saving a language from extinction.
Slave ship wrecks 1700s
Redistributed in Caribbean
Garifuna, English, Spanish
Fishing economy and sustenance farming
Off the grid
Orinoco in the 21st Century
Language in Global Perspective
Chinese (including Mandarin, Cantonese, and dozens of other dialects) is the native tongue of one-fifth of the world’s people, almost all of whom live in Asia.
English is the native tongue or official language in several world regions (spoken by one-tenth of humanity) and has become the preferred second language in most of the world.
Language in Global Perspective
: a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another.
Lost in translation
!Que poca madre!
?Que onda guey? o ?Que pedo guey?
What's up my nigger? (Story of Manuel...)
“Language is the key that unlocks centuries of accumulated wisdom (46).”
Cognitive Patterns and Language
Language and History
African Slaves + Native Mothers = Garifuna
Story of Humberto Solis
Language shapes our thoughts, and structures our actions. Thus, what we do is, as much as anything, a product of our linguistic traits.
Lera Boroditsky, How Language Shapes Thought
Radley Balko on Rise of the Warrior Cop