Deviance and Society
TTH 11:00-12:20 KAP 144
Dr. Karen Sternheimer
TA: Christine Jun
Office: KAP 252
Office: KAP 364 F
Office hours: TTH 12:30-1:45; 3:30-4:30
and by appointment
Office hours: T 8:45-10:45
Themes and goals:
Within this class, we will examine the roles of social context and power in defining deviance. Our
central questions will focus on how deviance is conceptualized, who gets labeled deviant, and who
the deviant label. We will also consider how wealth, power, and prestige influence deviance and
stigma. We will also pay particular attention to corporate crime and its impact, drawing from recent
events. The goal of this class is to lead you question what might seem to be natural or inevitable about
deviance and conformity.
This course explores definitions and categorizations of deviance, social control and regulation of
deviance, as well as deviant identities. We will consider definitions and theories of deviance, as well as
how society polices deviance, both formally and informally. Specific areas of focus include mental
illness, sexuality, the body, drugs, crime, and social institutions. Be advised that we may discuss topics
that may make some people uncomfortable.
In this class we will attempt to discover some of the ways in which sociologists define and describe
deviance as well as the impact it has on our lives. By the end of the course we will have a greater
understanding ourselves, the judgments that we take for granted, and how societies regulate
Attendance and participation
Tuesday in-class essays
Take home midterm (due 10/21)
Term paper (Outline due 11/6, paper due 12/2)
Take home final (due Tuesday 12/16 at 10 am)
Tracking your progress:
While grades are very important to students, you are expected to seek more than a grade from this
course. You are responsible for keeping a record of your grades and to be aware of your progress as
well as areas where improvement is needed, and for seeking help from your peers, TA, or professor.
Use the breakdown above to calculate your grade.
Attendance and participation:
You are expected to attend every class and come prepared to participate in a lively discussion by
reading and analyzing each assigned reading beforehand. In addition, you are expected to welcome
the expression of differing viewpoints and treat each and everyone in the class with respect. Some
information will be presented in class that will not appear in the readings, so it is essential that if you
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