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The Dark Knight – An example of deviance
Group One: Functionalist Perspective
Perspective/ theory
Functionalist perspective- deviance is a natural
part of society. Social order of balance and justice
is important but the deviance that challenges this
order is vital and normal
Examples seen in the film
Strain theory- natural outgrowth of values, norms
and structures of society. Social structures within
in society may pressure citizens to commit crime.
Can lead to deviance when legitimate
opportunities are blocked, have to find
alternative ways to pursue traditional goals
Anomie- situation that arises when the norms of
society are unclear or no longer applicable, leave
individuals without guidelines for behavior
5 ways to respond to culturally approved goals
conformity: many accept culturally approved
goals and means
innovation: accept cultural goals, but do not
accept the approved means to reaching these
goals, devise new means for achieving goals and
then violate accepted norms (become deviants)
retreatism: reject both cultural goals and
acceptable means of attaining them, may drop
out of society
rebellion: want to substitute a new set of goals
and means for the approved set
ritualism: find it impossible to achieve cultural
goals by acceptable means, they abandon the
goals while continuing expected rules of
Examples seen in the film
Group 2: Functionalist Perspective – part two
Perspective/ theory
Social disorganization theory- one of the first theories
developed by criminologists to explain crime in urban
areas, when a regions social fabric breaks down, its
social institutions become weakened and the
involvement of its community members is weakened.
Durkheim’s functionalist perspective of how deviance
is normal and helps society
Clarifying Norms – defines the boundaries of
acceptable behavior, punishment serves as warnings to
Unifying the Group – serves to draw the line between
conforming members of society and “outsiders” – the
nonconforming members, reinforces sense of
community and belief in shared values
Diffusing Tension – acts that allow individuals to
relieve tension without disrupting the basic fabric of
Promoting Social Change – can help prompt social
change by identifying problem areas
Providing Jobs – provides legitimate jobs
Examples seen in the film
Group Three: Conflict Perspective
Perspective/ theory
ruling class labels threatening behavior as
lower class has limited opportunity, forced
into deviant behavior
to protect their power, ruling class
establishes ideologies to explain deviance
as a problem among lower class
law enforcement are directed toward the
types of crimes committed by lower
classes (results in higher arrest rates)
people without power do not necessarily
commit more crimes than others, but are
the types of crimes that are most likely to
be detected and punished
Deviance and crime are socially organized to
benefit the dominant and powerful interest of a
society often at the expense of the marginalized
and disenfranchised
Examples seen in the film
Group Four: Symbolic Interactionist Perspective/Functionalist
Perspective/ Theory
Differential association theory – argues individuals
learn and practice deviance through interaction
with others
 Ratio of deviants to nondeviants
 Deviant behavior practiced by significant
 Age of exposure
Control theory- certain aspects that keep people
from deviating and busting loose
Inner controls (part of control theory and why
we don’t all deviate) internalized morality
Outer controls (part of control theory and why
we don’t all deviate) – people who influence us
not to deviate
Cultural Transmission theory- Deviance is a
learned behavior, learned through norms and
values that are deviant
Examples shown in the film
Group Five: Batman/ Bruce Wayne
Deviance and conformity
Examples from the film
How is he a deviant?
How is he a good guy?
Why do people continually
question his moral orientation?
Techniques of neutralizationrationalization that excuse
questionable behavior
Deviance is a social constructionwhat is deviant in one culture or
situation may not be deviant in
How does the following exchange between Batman, Harvey Dent and Lt. James Gordon exemplify deviance?
Harvey Dent : We need Lau back, but the Chinese won’t extradite a national
[turning to Batman] under any circumstances.
Batman: If I get him to you, can you get him to talk?
Harvey Dent: I’ll get him to sing.
Lt. James Gordon: We’re going after the mob’s life savings. Things will get ugly.
Harvey Dent: I knew the risks when I took this job, Lieutenant. Same as you. [Turns
back to Batman.] How will you get him back, anyway? [Turns to where
Batman is, or rather, where he should be, as he’s already vanished.]
Lt. James Gordon: He does that.
Group Six: The Joker
Examples from the film
Stigma- mark of social disgrace
that sets the deviant apart from
the rest of society
Social learning theorysocialization occurs through role
modeling and the social
reinforcement of behavior
(deviant or violent role models )
more likely to be more deviant
Deviance is a social constructionwhat is deviant in one culture or
situation may not be deviant in
How does he challenge the people
of Gotham’s morality?
How does the following quote from The Joker exemplify deviance and conformity?
“You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell
the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of
the plan" … Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos.”