pcdev95 - Introductionto Deviance Introductionto Deviance...

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Introduction to Deviance Introduction to Deviance Introduction to deviance/18/10/99/P.Covington/1999 We should condemn a little more and understand a little less. John Major, Prime Minister, 1993 Deviance may be considered as banned or controlled behaviour, which is likely to attract punishment or disapproval. Downes and Rock, 1988 Deviance is behaviour that violates the standards of conduct or expectations of a group or society. Wickmann, 1991 Defining Deviance is like trying to nail a jellyfish to the wall: it is so illusive and slippery that it is almost impossible to define. The view is very social constructionist and qualitative; deviance is socially constructed and must be interpreted. Defining deviance is straightforward: actions that offend conventional norms are deviant. Introduction Deviance is an often exciting and popular area of investigation for sociology and sociologists. Deviance, and more significantly that specific form of deviance , or rule breaking known as crime , is not only a sociological problem; it is defined by some, especially ruling groups as a social problem . Whereas, some see the purpose of sociology is to explain and describe human behaviour in a detached manner – others often working in this topic area – wish to use sociological insights to produce social policy that limits the effects of crime and helps policy makers and decision makers to reduce or limit the account of so-called ‘undesirable activities’. In 1993, Prime Minister, John Major had a view on deviance. (See above quote) . This has important implications for the pursuit of a sociological understanding of crime and deviance . Are sociologists guilty of supporting the activities of deviants in society by not condemning their activities , or must understanding come before society can genuinely attempt to solve or reduce social problems? A great deal of sociology of deviance attempts to add to, evaluate and replace what we could call ‘common sense’ understandings of crime and deviance. In the pursuit of a sociological understanding of crime it is not enough to simply seek answers, although this is a good starting point. Answers must be sought to specific questions , and answers must take into account both the theoretical and empirical dimensions of sociological analysis . However, before we can discuss, analyse and evaluate some of these theoretical and empirical contributions made by sociologists and sociological thought to an understanding of crime and deviance, we must be clear in our use of the terms and of others central to this topic area. What is Crime? The category of crime is usually associated with behaviour which the formal, written laws of a given society . The punishment of crime is likely to be more serious than the punishment of ‘deviance’ in general but obviously different crimes and different laws and treated in varying ways. What is Deviance?
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This note was uploaded on 01/02/2012 for the course SOC 201 taught by Professor Ambersmith during the Fall '09 term at N.C. State.

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pcdev95 - Introductionto Deviance Introductionto Deviance...

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