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Theories of Deviance
Undergraduate 2

Additional Sociology Flashcards




Biological TOD
-explain nonconformity in terms of genetic flaws, regressive physical features, racial or sex differences, neurological sources or hormonal imbalances
-LOMBROSO: biological throwback: deviant can't adapt in mod. society
-HOOTEN: Criminals born inferior
-SHELTON: Muscular mesomorphs as more likely to be delinquents than ecto and endo-morphs.
-XYY: extra y= violent
-behavior that fails to conform to group or rules of norm and moral code that a society has
-actions, beliefs or conditions (ABC) come to be viewed as deviant by others
-acts themselves are not deviant but the individual is labeled so when the public reacts to his act as deviant or his behavior becomes public knowledge
Mechanisms of Social Control
-used to maintain social norms, can be internal or external (imposed by others through use of sanctions)
-Formal Sanctions: include structures or institutions that enforce norms or laws of society (e.g., police and courts)
-Informal Sanctions: include significant others and relies on successful socialization
Biological Theories
-Lombroso: Biological throwback; deviant is one who cannot adapt to modern society
-Hooten: Criminals are born inferior
-Shelton: Muscluar mesomorphs more likely to be delinquents than ecto/endomorphs
=XYY : extra y = violent
-based on regressive physical features/ racial or sex differences/genetic/hormonal/neurological sources
Psychological Theories
Freud: imbalance between id and ego/superego, egos fail to repress irrational id desires
-describe deviance in terms of moral flaws, psychological personality disorders, or personal incompetencie
Behavorialist Theory
-BF Skinner: Rational Choice Theory: people can make desicions based on percieved consequences, with focus on rewards and punishment
-people respond to the stimuli in their environment and act to max.rewards and min.punishments
Structural Functionalist View of Deviance
Emilie Durkheim:) Crime free sociaty impossible! Deviance reaffirms and reinforces norms, promotes social solidarity,creates many jobs,intensifies loyalty of members to group against deviant, leads to social change
Anomie/Strain Theory
Merton: 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 (innovators, conformists, ritualization,rebellion, retreatism)
Durkheim: Insufficient social norms and guides= culture fails to provide behavioral guidelines
Control Theory
-"normal behavior" is shaped by the power of social control mechanisms in our culture, both internal and external restraints form a person's self-control, which prevents acting against social norms. The key to developing self-control is proper socialization, especially early in childhood.
-we all have the capacity to commit deviant acts and weak bonds between the individual and society free people to deviate
-The 4 elements of Social Bonds:
1) attachment to other people
2) commitment to conformity
3) involvement in conventional activities
4) belief in the legitimacy of conventional values and norms
Cultural Transmission Theory
-All behavior is learned, even deviant behavior
-Edwin Sutherland: Differential Association: environment plays a major role in deciding which norms people learn to violate. Specifically, people within a particular reference group provide norms of conformity and deviance, and thus heavily influence the way other people look at the world, including how they react. People also learn their norms from various socializing agents—parents, teachers, ministers, family, friends, co-workers, and the media. In short, people learn criminal behavior, like other behaviors, from their interactions with others, especially in intimate -subcultures may teach norms for behavior defined as deviant by the larger culture
Labeling Theory
-combines conflict theory and symbolic interactionism to explain the power of labels
-Becker believed that "social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance."
-deviance is a socially constructed process in which social control agencies designate certain people as deviants, who, in turn, come to accept the label placed upon them and begin to act accordingly.
Conflict View of Deviance
-Deviance: actions that do not go along with the social institutions; institution's ability to change norms, wealth or status comes into conflict with the individual
-Marx:-Deviance caused by eco/political forces and feelings of powerlessness
-criminal justice/law system used to control poor and serves rich
-crime and deviance defined by those who control society to meet their needs
-dominant groups must convince subordinate groups that inequity in distribution of power is legit and for mutual interest, subordinated must either believe it or resign themselves to inferior status
Sykes and Matza :Neutralization Theory
Gresham Sykes and David Matza's neutralization theory explains how deviants justify their deviant behaviors by providing alternative definitions of their actions and by providing explanations, to themselves and others, for the lack of guilt for actions in particular situations
1) Denial of Injury
2) Denial of Responsibility
3) Denial of Victim
4) Appeal to higher loyalties
5) Condemnation of Condemers
Erikson's Functional Perspective
Deviant behavior and the group's reaction to deviance are the key processes in defining those boundaries and investing them with moral fervor.
How is it that people learn the boundaries and convey them to the next generation. More often than not, we don't really expect to reform the deviant but the processing of the deviant is a ritual, ceremonial occasion for society as a whole.
-Deviant behavior helps maintain balance in society.
Primary vs Secondary Deviance
- primary deviance:behavior that does not conform to the social norms, but the behavior might be temporary, fleeting, exploratory, trivial, or especially, concealed from most others. The person who commits the deviant act does not see him/herself as deviant; put differently, it is not internalized as a part of the person's self concept

-secondary deviance:behavior that does not conform to the social norms, but 1) the behavior tends to be more sustained over time. The person continues to do the deviant behavior even after being caught and labeled by a social institution. The person accepts the deviant label, incorporating it into the person's self concept.

-- deviant career:continued secondary deviance, that becomes one's "job" and becomes one's primary economic activity. Person accepts the deviant label and internalizes it.
Four societal mechanisms for social control

Failure of first three leads to deviancy that leads to coercion
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