CH 7 Lecture - Deviance, Conformity and Social Control...

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Deviance, Conformity and Social Control Deviance, Conformity and Social Control Transcript for Author-Created Video Introduction to Chapter 7: Deviance, Conformity, and Social Control Chapter 7 covers the topic deviance. You might be surprised to learn that it is not easy for sociologists to say exactly what makes an appearance or behavior deviant. Under the right circumstances, almost any behavior or appearance can qualify as deviant. I chose the People’s Republic of China to pair with this topic because it offers a dramatic example of this idea. Again, the idea is this: under the right circumstances, almost any behavior or appearance can qualify as deviant. For a ten year period in China (from 1966 through 1976) people that wore eye glasses, applied makeup, spoke a foreign language, and made a profit were considered deviant and subject to arrest and punishment. Today, none of these behaviors is considered deviant in China. This prompts sociologists to ask, “What were the circumstances in China that caused seemingly harmless behaviors to be labeled as deviant? Why are these behaviors celebrated today?” This chapter uses the sociological concepts and theories associated with deviance to explain how any behavior can qualify as deviant, not just in China, but in any setting. Perhaps the most interesting theory comes from the great sociologist Emile Durkheim who argues that it is impossible for any society to be free of deviance. In fact, Durkheim argues that deviance will be present even in a community of saints. Why? It is impossible for everyone to be alike, if only because people cannot stand in the same spot. Therefore, it is inevitable that under the right circumstances, people will take notice of some difference, and that difference, no matter how small, will assume a criminal character. Study the photo of the three Chinese soldiers who, at first glance, appear to conform in every way. But look closer. Can you see a very small “failing” that has the potential to offend?
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Chapter Outline I. Why focus on the People’s Republic of China? A. It represents an interesting case for studying issues of deviance, conformity, and social control. B. In China from 1966 to 1976, during the period known as the Cultural Revolution, many behaviors constituted deviance and could elicit interrogation, arrest, and punishment. C. Understanding the Cultural Revolution is especially relevant today because all of China’s current leaders were in their teens or early 20s during that time and would have been shaped by it. D. Current events in contemporary China represent a huge contrast to the events of the Cultural Revolution. E. Since 1990, there has been an unspoken and evolving deal between the Chinese Communist party and the people. 1.
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This note was uploaded on 10/07/2010 for the course SOCI 1301 taught by Professor Na during the Spring '09 term at Richland Community College.

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CH 7 Lecture - Deviance, Conformity and Social Control...

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