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Chapter 8 Section 1: Deviance
Obj: Explain the ___________ and ______________ functions of deviance; compare the
________________ that have been proposed to explain deviance.
Most people ________________ the majority of the norms in their society. However, individuals do
not internalize every norm. Even ________________ – the rewards and punishments used to
enforce conformity to norms – cannot bring about complete social control. There are always
individuals who break the rules of their society or the group. Behavior that violates significant social
norms is called _______________.
The Nature of Deviance
Every society has countless norms that govern behavior. Some norms deal with fairly
_______________ behaviors, such as personal cleanliness or table manners. Other norms are
vital to the smooth operation of a society and the safety of its members. For example, norms
governing the taking of another person’s ________ or property are ____________ in any society.
Because there are so many norms governing behavior, occasional ________________ are
unavoidable. An act that is considered deviant in one situation may be considered
_______________ in another, even within the same society. For example, to kill someone is
generally illegal. However, if a member of the _____________ or a police officer kills someone in
the line of duty, the action is usually judged quite differently.
What is considered deviant also varies from society to society. For example, _____________ is legal
in the US. However, it is prohibited in the Philippines. Similarly, an act might be considered deviant
during one period of _________ but not in another. Throughout much of the 1900s it was illegal for
stores to do business on _____________. However, today most stores open for at least a few
hours each Sunday.
How do people come to be considered deviant? Suppose a person gets a _________________
ticket. That person would not be considered deviant on the basis of this one event. However, if
that person was continually caught driving at high speeds, such reckless behavior would be
considered deviant. ____________ an offense is not the only way a person comes to be labeled a
deviant. A person who commits an act that has serious negative ____________________ for
society – such as murder, sexual assault, or robbery – is likely to be labeled as deviant because of
his or her single act.
The labeling of someone as deviant involves two components. To be considered deviant by society,
an individual must first be _______________ committing a deviant act. A person will not be labeled
as deviant unless his or her deviant behavior is in some way known to other people. Next, the
individual must be stigmatized by society. A ___________ is a 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 ____________. For example, the ancient Greeks cut or burned signs into the bodies of
criminals to warn others that these deviants were to be avoided.
The power of the outward sign as a form of social control is still used today. For example, prison
inmates in the US are forced to wear special _______________ and are assigned _____________
as a visual sign of stigma. Some people have suggested that the cars of people convicted of
driving while drunk should be marked in some way, such as with a ___________. This visual sign
would serve both as a warning to others and as a form of public humiliation.
When sociologists speak of the stigma resulting from the label of deviance, they usually do not mean
________________ signs. Rather, they are referring to the _______________ social reactions that
result from being labeled deviant. According to sociologist Erving Goffman, a person labeled as
deviant has a “spoiled social identity.” He or she is no longer seen as being ____________ or
The Social Functions of Deviance
In the Rules of Sociological Method, Emile _______________ observed that deviance has some
________ in social life. Deviance, Durkheim suggested, helps to clarify norms, unify the group,
diffuse tension, and promote social change. Deviance also serves another positive function not
mentioned by Durkheim – it provides _______ such as law enforcement.
Clarifying Norms – Deviance serves to define the _______________ of acceptable behavior.
When rules are broken and the guilty parties are caught, members of society are
_________________ of the norms that guide social life. The punishment of norm violators serves
as a warning to others that certain behaviors will not be tolerated by society. For example, harsh
_____________ sentences are intended to discourage crime. People may choose not to commit
deviant acts if they are aware of how severe the consequences of those acts will be.
Unifying the Group – Deviance also serves to draw the line between conforming members of
society and “________________” – the nonconforming members. This “us against them” attitude
reinforces the sense of __________________ and the belief in shared values. Durkheim
suggested that deviance is so important to the maintenance of group ____________; it would have
to be invented if it did not exist naturally.
Diffusing Tension – When people are unhappy with their lives or social conditions, they may want
to _______________ out at society. In such situations, minor acts of deviance serve as a safety
valve. These acts allow individuals to relieve ________________ without disrupting the basic fabric
of society. For example, participating in unauthorized demonstrations allows people to express
political or social discontent without ______________________ the social order.
Promoting Social Change – Deviance can help prompt social change by identifying
__________________ areas. When large numbers of people violate a particular norm, it is often
an _________________ that something in society needs to be changed. Once alerted to the
problem, individuals in positions of authority can take steps to correct the ___________________.
Providing Jobs – Deviance also provides legitimate ________ for a wide range of people. Judges,
lawyers, police officers, prison personnel, and parole officers have jobs related to one aspect of
deviance – crime. So too do crime reporters and ______________________ – the social scientists
who study criminal behavior. In addition, there are many other jobs that are based in part on the
existence of deviance. For example, workers at clothing manufacturers might make prison
__________________ as well as other types of clothes.
Explaining Deviance
Why do people commit deviant acts? You can better understand the answers to this question by
considering how the three sociological perspectives explain deviance. The __________________
perspective views deviance as a natural part of society. The _______________ perspective
explains deviance in terms of power and inequality. The __________________ perspective looks
at how interaction among individuals influences deviance.
• Functionalist Perspective – The major functionalist explanation, strain theory, was developed by
sociologist Robert K. Merton. ______________ theory views deviance as the natural
____________________ of the values, norms, and structure of society. According to Merton,
American society places a high value on certain goals, such as economic success. However, not
everyone in society has access to the ___________________ means to achieve these goals. For
example, individuals may be prevented from finding a job because of social conditions or because
they lack an adequate education. Nevertheless, they are expected to meet this goal, and society
judges them according to how well they do so.
Under the strain of incompatible goals and means, these individuals fall victim to anomie.
_____________ is the situation that arises when the norms of society are unclear or and no longer
applicable. It leaves individuals without sufficient ___________________ for behavior, thus
causing confusion both for individuals and for society. The concept was originally proposed by
Emile Durkheim to explain high rates of _________________ in countries undergoing
Merton suggested that individuals respond to the culturally approved goals and the legitimate means
of achieving these goals in five ways. Merton called them the modes of adaptation.
The first and most common response is ________________. Many individuals in a society accept
both the culturally approved goals and the means for achieving these goals, their efforts always
involve legitimate means. The other four modes of ____________________ – innovation, ritualism,
_______________, and rebellion – employ deviant behavior.
People who use innovation accept the cultural goals of their society but do not accept the
__________________ means for reaching these goals. For example, they want to be successful in
acquiring wealth but reject the acceptable means to obtain the wealth. Therefore they
____________, or devise new means for achieving the goals, and consequently violate accepted
__________. Thus, they become deviants. Criminals such as drug dealers and burglars fit into this
__________________ also find it impossible to achieve cultural goals by acceptable means. Instead
of ____________ the norms for achievement, they _______________ the goals while continuing to
observe the expected rules of behavior. For example, a worker may pass up opportunities for
promotion rather then face possible failure. A bureaucrat may make a ritual of upholding the rules
and procedures of the organization while abandoning personal goals. The ritual of upholding the
norms becomes an _______ in itself.
Some individuals, whom Merton called ________________, reject both the cultural goals and the
socially acceptable means of _________________ them. Unlike innovators and ritualists, they
make no effort to appear to share their society’s goals and norms. Instead, they may simply drop
out of society. Examples of retreatists may include drug addicts, beggars, and ______________.
Not all individuals who reflect the cultural goals and the socially acceptable means to attain them
follow the path of retreatism. Some people __________. Rebels want to substitute a new set of
goals and means for the currently approved set. Members of any revolutionary movement fall into
this category of deviant _______________.
The four categories of deviant behavior are not considered ___________ deviant. Innovators and
rebels obviously pose a threat to society. Retreatists also are perceived as a serious problem
because they lead what society considers to be an unproductive life. However, ritualists are
generally not regarded as a serious threat.
• Conflict Perspective – Conflict theorists believe that competition and social _______________
lead to deviance. They see social life as a struggle between those who possess power – the ruling
classes – and those who do not – the lower classes. People with power commit deviant acts in an
effort to _____________ their position. People without power, on the other hand, commit deviant
acts for one of two reasons. They turn to deviance either to obtain ______________ rewards or
because they have low self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness.
According to conflict theorist Richard Quinney, the ruling classes __________ any behavior that
threatens their power base as deviant. Because the lower classes have only limited opportunities in
life, they are often forced to commit acts defined as deviant. To protect their power, the ruling
classes then establish ______________ – belief systems – that explain deviance as a problem
found primarily among the lower classes. Thus, law enforcement efforts are most often directed
toward the types of crimes committed by the lower classes. As a result these groups have higher
rates of arrest and conviction. People without power do not necessarily commit more crimes than
do other people. Rather, they commit the types of crimes that are most likely to be
__________________ and punished.
• Interactionist Perspective – Interactionists have offered three major explanations of deviance –
control theory, cultural transmission theory, and labeling theory. Like strain theory,
_______________ theory explains deviance as a natural occurrence. However, the focus of
control theory is somewhat different. Control theorists are interested in why people conform rather
than the causes of deviance. Social ______ among individuals, control theorists propose,
determine conformity. Control theorists suggest that individuals who are integrated into the
community are likely to conform. Conversely, those who have weak ties to the community are likely
to commit deviant acts. __________________ in which most members have strong social bonds
will have lower rates of deviance because community members are able to exert stronger social
control over those who deviate.
According to Travis Hirschi, a leading control theorist, people develop strong social bonds in four
ways. First, they form _________________ with others – parents, teachers, and friends – who
accept the norms of society. Second, they have a strong ____________ in the moral codes of
society, accepting that some behavior is simply wrong. Third, they show commitment to traditional
societal values and goals, such as getting a good education or job. Finally, they are fully involved in
nondeviant activities – leaving no time for deviant behavior. People who display strong attachment
and commitment to, belief in, and involvement with their community are likely to ____________.
On the other hand, people who lack these qualities are more likely to engage in deviant acts.
In a recent study, Travis Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson have suggested that conformity is the result
of _____________________. People with strong self-control conform, and those with weak selfcontrol do not. _________________ – particularly during __________________ – determines a
person’s level of self-control.
In the sociologist’s view, children develop high levels of self-control if their parents _____________
them for deviant behavior and _____________ them for conformity. Children who grow up without
such parental interest in their behavior develop low self-control and are more ____________ to
Socialization is also central to the cultural _____________________ theory. This theory explains
deviance as a learned behavior. Deviant behavior is learned in much the same way that
nondeviant behavior is learned – through interaction with others. However, in the case of deviant
behavior, the interaction is primarily among individuals who are ___________________ in deviant
acts. Thus, the norms and values being transmitted are deviant. As a result, the individual is
_______________ into deviant behavior rather than into socially acceptable behavior.
The concept of _______________ association is at the heart of the cultural transmission theory.
This concept refers to the _____________ and closeness of associations a person has with
deviant and nondeviant individuals. If the _________________ of a person’s interactions are with
deviant individuals, the person is likely to be socialized into patterns of deviant behavior. On the
other hand, if the person’s associations are primarily with individuals who conform to society’s
norms, that person is more likely to conform.
American sociologist and criminologist Edwin Sutherland first proposed the concept of differential
association. He suggested that the learning of deviant behavior occurs in _____________ groups.
People become deviant or conformist in the same way that they become fluent in a particular
________________. They have personal relationships with people who do those things.
______________ transmission theory views all individuals as conformists. The difference between
deviants and the rest of society lies in the norms to which each chooses to conform. The deviant
individual conforms to norms that are not accepted by the larger community. The nondeviant
conforms to socially accepted norms.
Gresham Sykes and David Matza offered an extension to Sutherland’s concept of differential
association. They noted that some people show strong commitment to society’s norms yet still
engage in deviance. Through techniques of ______________________, people suspend their
moral beliefs to commit deviant acts. These techniques, which are learned through the process of
social interaction, act as a ____________ on the controls that discourage deviant behavior. Sykes
and Matza identified five techniques – denying responsibility, denying injury, denying the victim,
____________________ the authorities, and appealing to higher loyalties.
When accused of a deviant act, some people deny responsibility. A person might claim that the act
was an accident or that was the result of a force beyond his or her control – such as a lack of
__________________ supervision. Other people accept responsibility for their behavior, but they
deny that has caused any harm. Such a person may ask “If no one was hurt, has a crime really
been committed?” Similarly, people sometimes accept responsibility but deny the victim. A person
may claim that “he had it coming,” or “she got what she deserved.” On occasions, people condemn
the authorities to ____________ their actions. “The police and the courts are corrupt,” he or she
may claim, “so they have no right to accuse others.” Finally, some people claim that their loyalties
to a particular group are more important than loyalty to society. He or she committed the act “to
____________ my family” or “to help my friend.”
Instead of focusing on why people perform deviant acts, _____________ theory focuses on how
individuals come to be identified as deviant. Labeling theory is heavily ______________ by the work
of sociologists Edwin Lemert and Howard Becker. Labeling theorists note that ____ people commit
deviant acts during their lives. These acts range from the minor to the serious. Yet not everyone is
labeled as a deviant. Labeling theorists suggest that this is because deviance is of two types: primary
and secondary.
_____________ deviance is nonconformity that goes undetected by those in authority. The
occasional deviant act and acts that are well concealed both fall into this category. Individuals who
commit acts of primary deviance do not consider themselves to be deviant and neither does
society. ________________ deviance, on the other hand, results in the individual being labeled as
deviant and ________________ the label as true.
The process of labeling an individual as deviant is usually accompanied by what sociologist Harold
Garfinkel called a _________________ ceremony. In some kind of public setting – such as a
__________ – the individual is denounced, found guilty, and given the new identity of deviant. For
the individual, this is a life-changing event. People begin to judge practically all of his or her actions
in light of the deviant label. For all intents and purposes, being a deviant becomes the person’s
master status. In many instances the label of deviant restricts an individual’s options in the larger
society and forces him or her into a deviant life style. The label of deviant is a self-fulfilling
_______________. Labeling people as deviants and treating them as such, may encourage them
to commit more deviant acts.