# 6 Deviance and Social Control

# 6 Deviance and Social Control - Chapter 6 Deviance and...

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Chapter 6 Deviance and Social Control What is Deviance? Deviance – the violation of norms, regardless of seriousness. It is not the act itself that makes an action deviant, but rather how society reacts to it (Howard S. Becker) Deviance is relative, what is deviant to some may not be deviant to others Deviance is used non-judgmentally - it does not mean that the act is bad, just that people judge the act negatively. It undermines behavioral predictability, the foundation of social life. Crime – is a specific type of deviance. It is the violation of rules that have been written into law. Stigma – are characteristics that discredit people o Term used by sociologist Erving Goffman o Includes violations of norms of ability (blindness, mental handicap), norms of appearance (obesity). Also includes involuntary memberships (victim of AIDS) o Can become a master status. How Norms Make Life Possible Norms – are expected ways of behavior Make life possible by making behavior predictable Bring about social order , a group’s customary social arrangement Human groups develop a system of social control , formal and informal means of enforcing norms. May stifle creativity if enforced too rigidly Sanctions
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Negative sanction – actions showing disapproval of deviance o Range from frowns and gossip for breaking folkways to imprisonment and capital punishment for breaking mores o The more serious a group takes a norm the harsher the punishment for violating it. o Most are informal Positive sanctions – used to reward people for conforming to norms o Range from a smile to formal awards Who defines deviance? Tribal versus industrial societies o In preliterate societies, definitions of deviance stem from the group's common experiences in survival. o Because of the large amount of history, values, norms, and goals in industrial societies, no one group defines deviance for the entire society. Each group enforces its own definitions by setting up techniques of social control. Competing Explanations of Deviance Biological (Sociobiological) Explanation o Explain deviance by looking for answers within people o Assume that some people have genetic predispositions to become deviant, that they are born with characteristics that lead them to become juvenile delinquents and criminals. o Among their explanations are the following 1) Intelligence – low intelligence leads to crime 2) The “XYY” Theory – extra Y chromosome in males leads to crime. 3) Body Type – people with “squarish, muscular” bodies are more likely to commit street crime , acts such as mugging, rape, and burglary.
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o Evaluation of these theories shows that none of them has held up, however, the possibility that biological factors influence deviance however cannot be ruled out o Neurotransmitter Theory - People with low s erotonin levels more likely to eng ag e in criminal acts - Some criminals test low in HIAA, a metabolite of serotonin
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# 6 Deviance and Social Control - Chapter 6 Deviance and...

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