Session 11 deviance

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  • 1. Session 11 Crime and Deviance: Defining Normality and Outsiders Lecturer: Dr. Cheris Shun-Ching Chan
  • 2. What is Deviance?
  • 3. Definition
    • What is deviance?
      • Behaviors deviate from a socially acceptable mode, from norms and social expectations of a particular social group
      • Can receive negative or positive sanctions
      • Vary temporally and spatially, e.g. homosexuals
      • Socially constructed, e.g. killings
    • Since the 1950s: mass conformity to middle-class values & lifestyles  the concept of “deviance” became prominent
  • 4. How to explain Deviance? 2 3 1 Functionalist Perspective Marxian Perspective Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
  • 5. Functionalist Perspective Anomie Theory (Robert Merton) Theory of Status Frustration (Albert Cohen)
  • 6.
    • 1. Anomie Theory (Robert Merton)
      • Builds on Durkheim’s anomie but broader and more specific:
        • crime, delinquency, mental disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction, and many others
        • Frequency and pattern of deviant behaviors vary within different social structures
      • Key ideas: discrepancy b/w culturally defined goals and availability of institutionalized (legitimate) means to achieve such goals
        • Deviant acts due to two conditions: i) pressure to achieve the culturally defined goals + ii) not available of legitimate means
    Functionalist Perspective
  • 7.
      • Different types of adaptation in different positions in a social structure
      • Conclusion:
          • Different distribution of legitimate opportunities  different rate of deviance among different social classes
          • Deviance is a normal reaction to an abnormal social situation
    Functionalist Perspective Conformity Culturally defined goals Legitimate means Ritualism Retreatism or Rebellion Innovation Yes No Yes No
  • 8. Functionalist Perspective
    • 2. Theory of Status Frustration (Albert Cohen)
      • As a critique of Merton’s Anomie Theory
        • Gradual process of deviant adaptation
        • Crimes are in collective, in gang, rather than individualistic
      • Advancement of Merton’s Theory
        • Dominant set of middle-class values, e.g. rational, postponing gratification, individualistic, respect for property, control of physical aggression
        • Working class has another set of characteristics
        • Working class children in middle-class school setting: value conflict -> status frustration, they behave in a way that middle class school think problematic
        • Status frustration -> delinquent subculture: redefines the criteria of status, turning disvalued characteristics into status-giving assets(they are valued in these subculture)(e.g those who dare enough to challenge the teacher will get their status)
        • Equivalent to “rebellion” in Merton’s theory -> they don't buy into the culturally defined goal and also they don't use the legitimate means to achieve the goal, they set up their own goal, but more specific
  • 9. Marxian Perspective Critical Theory
  • 10. Marxian Perspective
    • Concept of Society: conflict of interests (composed of diff social groups, ow which interests are in conflict)
    • Questions: why crime and deviance are found more in lower class? Who define what is deviant and what is not?
      • Answers: socially and economically powerful groups have
        • more influence in defining crime and problem
        • more capable of escaping from a charge, they can hire best lawyers to defend them, they could gain sympathy
        • not about ethically right or wrong
    • Major Concerns:
    The formation and enforcement of certain rules and laws political, economic, and social structures
  • 11. Critical Theory
    • 1. Crime in Capitalist Society (Richard Quinney)
      • Role of the state: to protect the interests of the dominant class
      • Role of the law: coercive force of the state, serving the interests of the dominant class, e.g. private property in capitalist society -> primary duty of the state
      • Different types of crimes produced by capitalism
    • i) Crimes of economic domination, e.g. price fixing, monopoly, importation of labor(suppress wage of labour force) marxian perspective, they are crime
    • ii) Crimes of control, e.g. violence used by police force and armies(physical violence against suspects)
    • iii) Crimes of social injuries, e.g. pollution, harsh working environment
    • iv) Crimes of accommodation, e.g. burglary, robbery, assault, murder(commonly defined)
    • v) Crimes of resistance, e.g. strike, protest(sometimes commonly defined)
      • What are commonly defined as crimes? Which crimes receive most attention?
      • Other types are for the interest of the dominant class, those with economic and political capital, they are committed to the adv of the dominant class, not defined as crime in our society
  • 12. Critical Theory
    • A Study of Law Enforcement in Seattle (William Chambliss)
      • What are crimes
        • bribery, gambling, prostitutes, illegal liquor selling, other consensus crimes
      • What are the most common crimes?
        • Bribery in gambling industry, loan sharks, drugs(involved ppl with money and power) , pornography, vice and prostitute
      • What did get arrested?
        • 70% of all arrests (in 1962-1972) were for public drunkenness -> working class plp
      • Conclusion
        • Everyone commits crime of some sorts; crime is a matter of who can pin the label on whom
        • Criminal acts serving the interests of the ruling class usually go unsanctioned
        • Enforcement of law is biased against ppl who are powerless
  • 13. Symbolic Interactionist Perspective Labeling Theory Outsiders (Howard Becker) Primary and Secondary Deviation (Edwin Lemert)
  • 14. Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
    • 1. Labeling Theory
      • Why some killings are “homicides” and others are not?
        • Is a police officer killed by an ex-convict a homicide?
          • yes
        • Is a robber killed by a police officer a homicide?
          • no
        • Is stabbing an old lady in the back a homicide?
          • yes
        • Is stabbing one’s enemy in wartime a homicide?
          • no
        • Is someone poisoned by someone a homicide?
          • yes
        • Is someone dying slowly of cancer caused by polluting factor a homicide?
          • No
  • 15. Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
      • Homicide or not -> social reactions -> punishments or awards
        • What is homicide is not the behavior per se, but the manner of reaction to a killing, based on the perceived motives of the killings
      • Focus
        • How people define situations, persons, processes, or events as problematic and deviant
      • Major concerns
        • Conditions under which control agents successfully label others
        • Social contingencies under which potential deviants resist or escape the labeling(other factors involved that lead to the results)
        • The power behind the labeling process: different power related to age, sex, ethnicity, class, occupation…
        • The symbolic and practical consequences of the labeling
  • 16. Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
      • Critique of official statistics
        • Perceptual biases of control agents(like the police)
          • Appearance and socio-economic backgrounds
        • Situational dynamics of the labeling process
          • Cooperative posture
          • Complaints, quota
        • Visibility of potential deviants
          • Numerous invisible crimes
        • Organizational characteristics of control bureaucracies
          • Strict vs lenient, e.g. Russia -> corruption of police is normal
        • Political agenda of the official data
          • Asking for more resources vs being a tourist paradise
          • Report more crimes in order to get more resources
          • Under reported crime in hawaii -> create image of crime free city
  • 17. Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
    • 2. Outsiders (Howard Becker)
      • Deviance is created by society
        • By making rules
        • Reaction to someone's behaviour -> deviance
      • Variation of reactions to an act
        • Who commits the act
        • Who feels being harmed by the act
        • The consequence of the act
  • 18. Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
    • 3. Primary and Secondary Deviation (Edwin Lemert)
      • Primary deviation
        • Initial acts of deviation that calls societal reaction
        • Causes: random, diverse factors
      • Secondary deviation
        • Acts of deviation as a reaction to societal reaction
        • Traumatization of self-concept: looking glass self (Cooley) -> when I see other ppl's reaction, I will perceive myself in this lense
        • Deviant role: recurring deviant acts(some ex-convicts deliberately commit crimes in order to get back to the prison)
        • E.g. paranoia
          • Self-fulfilling prophecy