Chapter 8:DEVIANCE & SOCIAL CONTROL

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Section 1 - Deviance
CHAPTER 8:DEVIANCE & SOCIAL
CONTROL
SOME IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS…
The first part of this section explains the nature &
function of deviance. Here are some important
terms from earlier in the year that will help with
the information in this section…
 NORMS – shared rules of conduct that tell us how
to act in specific situations.
 MORES – norms with great moral significance
attached to them.
 FOLKWAYS – norms without great moral
significance (the common customs).
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WHAT IS DEVIANCE?
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What do these behaviors all have in common?
Talking to yourself in public;
 Drag racing in a school zone;
 Regularly using illegal drugs;
 A man wearing women’s clothing;
 Attacking another person with a weapon.
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WHAT IS DEVIANCE?
All the behaviors on the previous slide violate
society’s norms in some way. Can you think of
other examples of acts that violate norms?
 Not all norm violations are “deviant” acts;
 Criteria for deviance…
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The act must have serious negative consequences for
society (murder, sexual assault, drug dealing)
 The deviant act must be detected;
 The individual committing the act must be stigmatized
by society.
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SOCIAL STIGMA…
Stigma is the mark of social disgrace that sets
the deviant apart from the rest of society.
 Stigmas have been used as a form of social
control throughout history.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLif1Ams6V
Q&feature=related
 Can you think of modern examples of how
certain people or acts are stigmatized in our
society?
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“OUTWARD SIGNS” OF STIGMA…
The label of deviance is usually not an outward
sign…rather it is the extreme negative social
reaction to deviant behavior;
 This reaction can be so strong that it leaves the
deviant with a “spoiled social identity.”
 Examples??
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU3Q4nRW
q7I
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SOCIAL FUNCTIONS OF DEVIANCE
CLARIFYING NORMS: deviance defines the
boundaries of acceptable behavior by reminding
us of the norms that guide our lives. Also the
punishments that accompany many deviant
behaviors are deterrents.
 UNIFYING THE GROUP: members of society who
conform are “in” and those who don’t – the
deviants – are “out.” But sometimes deviant
subcultures emerge – they view their behavior as
normal and have their own norms. This bonds the
deviant groups as well.
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SOCIAL FUNCTIONS (CONTINUED)…
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DIFFUSING TENSION: minor acts of deviance can diffuse
social tension & keep the social order from unraveling.
(Example: “Occupy”)
PROMOTING SOCIAL CHANGE: when large numbers of
people violate a social norm it indicates change is
necessary in the society.
PROVIDING JOBS: Judges;lawyers;police & prison
officers; all are legit jobs that would not exist without
deviant behavior. Criminologists are sociologists who
specialize in criminal behavior. What other legit jobs can
you think of that result from deviance?
3 SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES EXPLAIN
DEVIANCE…
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IN A NUTSHELL…
 The FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE views deviance as a natural part of
society;
 The CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE views deviance in terms of power and
inequality; and
 The INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE looks at how interaction among
individuals influences deviance.
THE FOLLOWING SLIDES WILL HIGHLIGHT THE KEY IDEAS ACCOCIATED
WITH EACH PERSPECTIVE & DEVIANCE:
FUNCTIONALIST PERPSECTIVE: developed by Robert Merton – called “Strain
theory” – views deviance as a natural outgrowth of the values, norms & structure of
society. There are certain values & goals that a society id’s as important, but not
everyone can attain those. (EX: not everyone can attain the education level needed
to qualify for high paying jobs). This strain between incompatible goals & means
causes some to experience ANOMIE – the situation that arises when the norms of
society are unclear or don’t apply to everyone. Anomie causes confusion both for
individuals and society.
FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE CONTINUED
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Merton says there are 5 ways that individuals
respond to achieving culturally approved goals:
 CONFORMITY
– “playing the game” using legitimate means;
 INNOVATION, RITUALISM, RETREATISM &
REBELLION – all involve deviance. See table on page 180 of your
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text.
Of the 5 responses above, only conformists & ritualists are not seen as a
threat to society.
MERTONS STRAIN THEORY & ADAPTATION
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Deviance is a natural outgrowth of the values, norms,
structure of society; ANOMIE arises when the societal
norms are unclear or no longer applicable. It leads to
confusion and the following responses…
People respond to the culturally approved goals &
methods of achievement in 5 ways:
Conformity;
Innovation;(accept goals but not approved means)
Ritualism; (abandon the goals but continue to follow
rules of behavior)
Retreatism; (reject goals & means of achievement)
Rebellion; (work to create new goals)
CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE
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These theorists believe that conflict & social inequality
lead to deviance. Life in society is a struggle between
those with power and those without. BOTH groups will
commit deviant acts. People with power are deviant in
an effort to maintain their position; people without
power are deviant either to obtain economic reward or
to battle feeling powerless. Often the people with power
establish belief systems, rules & laws that are directed
toward the lower class (whom they perceive as a threat
to their power). As a result, the lower classes tend to
have higher arrest & conviction rates.
INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE
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Interactionists have 3 major explanations for deviance:
1 – control theory
2 – cultural transmission theory
3 – labeling theory
CONTROL THEORY –The focus here is on why some
people conform while others don’t .Social ties among
individuals determines this. The more integrated you
are into the community, the more likely you are to
conform. People who display strong attachment and
commitment to the values & norms of society will
conform; those who don’t are more likely to be deviant.
CULTURAL TRANSMISSION THEORY
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This theory says deviant behavior is learned through
interaction with others. If you primarily interact with
those who are not deviant in childhood, then you will
most likely conform. Of course, the opposite holds true
as well. This idea is referred to as differential
association – the bottom line is that if most of your
interactions are with non-deviant people then you will be
less likely to engage in deviant behavior.
Sometimes this doesn’t hold true & people become
deviant anyway (or vice versa)…that is called
neutralization – people who were raised in a culture that
encouraged conformity may suspend their beliefs &
commit deviant acts anyway.
LABELING THEORY
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This theory focuses on how people come to be
labeled as deviant. Labeling theorists believe all
people commit deviant acts during their lives,
ranging from minor to serious. However not
everyone is labeled as deviant. This is explained
by the 2 types of deviance described in this theory:
Primary deviance – which goes undetected by authorities;
Secondary deviance -you are labeled in some kind of public
setting (referred to as a degradation ceremony). Labeling people
as deviant & treating them as such may encourage more
deviant acts.

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