Sociology of Deviant Behavior
Fall 2011 9/1/11-12/23/11
Tillett Hall 204 LC
Office Hours: T 11:30-12:00
Office: in our classroom
Sociologists use the term
to refer to any behavior, belief,
interest, activity, physical characteristic, or group affiliation used as a reason to mark
people as wrong, immoral, criminal, psychopathic, subhuman. Deviance in itself is not
necessarily immoral, illegal, or harmful; people are marked, put into the “deviance box,”
for things that are trivial (bad table manners), harmless (wearing earrings), unjust (being
Jewish), condemned by only a small minority (being a single parent), or practiced by
almost everyone (drinking alcoholic beverages). Conversely, people often get away with
things that are immoral (sabotaging another student’s lab experiment), illegal (premarital
sex in some states), and harmful (eating high cholesterol foods), without being put into
the “deviance box.” It is a matter of what someone in authority (religious leaders,
scientists, professors, our parents, the mass media)
This course adopts a sociological approach towards understanding deviant behavior.
first part of the course explores different theories of deviance.
We consider positivist, or
absolutist, and constructionist approaches.
The middle part of the course will consider
the construction of deviance, as well as we will explore in more detail sexual and drug
deviance. The last part of the course deals with elements of the structure and organization
This course focuses mainly on noncriminal deviance.
If you’re more interested in crime
and crime-related themes, consider taking a criminology course, offered through the
Rutgers Sociology Department as 920:222.
. Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context,
edition. Wadsworth Publishing.
*Allyn, David. 2000.
Make Love Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An unfettered history
* Sterk, Claire. 1999.
Fast Lives: Women Who Use Crack Cocaine