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A Look Ahead. When does conformity verge on deviance?. How does a society manage to control its members and convince them to conform to its rules and laws? What are the consequences of deviance?. Conformity and Obedience.

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a look ahead
A Look Ahead
  • When does conformity verge on deviance?
  • How does a society manage to control its members and convince them to conform to its rules and laws?
  • What are the consequences of deviance?
conformity and obedience
Conformity and Obedience
  • Conformity: Going along with peers who have no special right to direct behavior
  • Obedience: Compliance with higher authorities in an hierarchical structure

What is Deviance?

  • Deviance is behavior that violates the standards of conduct or expectations of a group or society
  • Sociologically, we are all deviant from time to time.
  • Each of us violates common social norms in certain situations
  • Deviance involves the violation of group norms which may or may not be formalized into law

Examples of deviants:

        • alcoholics
        • gamblers
        • mentally ill
  • Standards of deviance vary from one group (subculture) to another
  • Deviance can only be understood within its social context.
  • Deviance is subjective - subject to social definitions - it varies with time, culture and place
informal and formal social control
Informal and Formal Social Control

Informal Social Control

  • Informal social control is used casually to enforce norms
  • Usually carried out by primary groups
    • Informal social control includes:
        • smiles
        • laughter
        • ridicule
        • raising an eyebrow
formal social control
Formal Social Control
  • Formal social control: carried out by authorized agents

Law and Society

  • Some norms are so important to a society that they are formalized into laws controlling people’s behaviors.
  • Laws are governmental social control and are created in response to perceived social needs for formal social control
deviance functionalist perspective
Deviance (Functionalist Perspective)
  • Deviance is a part of human existence and has positive and negative consequences for society
  • Deviance promotes social unity for it reaffirms the groups’ norms
  • Durkheim introduced the term anomie, defined as a state of normlessness that occurs during periods of profound social change
explaining deviance
Explaining Deviance
  • Early explanations centered on supernatural or genetic factors.
biological context cesare lombrosso
Biological ContextCesare Lombrosso

Italian physician wrote that most criminals were biologically different from normal people

  • Lombroso observed that criminals had easily identifiable physical traits such as sloping foreheads, small brains, overdeveloped jaws, and other apelike characteristics
  • In general, sociologists reject any emphasis on the genetic roots of crime and deviance
robert merton theory of deviance functionalist perspective continued
Robert Merton - Theory of DevianceFunctionalist Perspective (continued)
  • Merton examined how people adapted to the acceptance or rejection of a society’s goals.
  • Merton’s Anomie Theory of Deviance examines how people conform to or deviate from cultural expectations
functionalist perspective
Functionalist Perspective
  • Merton’s Theory of Deviance
  • Anomie Theory of Deviance: How people adapt in certain ways by conforming to or by deviating from cultural expectations
  • Conformist
  • Innovator
  • Ritualist
  • Retreatist
  • Rebel
interactionist perspective
Interactionist Perspective

Cultural Transmission Theory

  • Focuses on everyday behavior and why or how a person comes to commit a deviant act.
  • Edwin Sutherland introduced the cultural transmission theorywhich holds that one learns criminal behavior through interactions with others.
  • Differential association: the process through which exposure to attitudes favorable to criminal acts leads to the violation of rules
Not only techniques of lawbreaking but also the motives, drives, and the rationalizations of criminals
  • Whether a person engages in an activity deemed proper or improper depends on frequency, duration, and intensity of relationship.
interactionist labeling theory societal reaction approach
InteractionistLabeling Theory/Societal-Reaction Approach
  • Labeling TheoryEmphasizes that deviance and conformity result, not so much from what people do, as from how others respond to those actions
  • Labeling theory attempts to explain
  • why certain people are viewed as deviants while others are not and
  • emphasizes how a person comes to be labeled as deviant and to accept this label.
Labeling theory focuses on regulatory agents (police, probation officers, psychiatrists, judges, teachers, etc.), who play a significant role in creating the deviant identity by designating certain people as deviant.
conflict theory
Conflict Theory
  • People with power protect their own interests and define deviance to suit their needs
  • Differential justice: Differences in way social control is exercised over different groups
conflict theory1
Conflict Theory
  • Conflict theory contends the criminal justice system of the U.S. treats people differently on the basis of their racial, ethnic, or social class background
types of crime
Types of Crime
  • Sociologists classify crimes in terms of how they are committed and how society views the offenses
  • Victimless crimes
  • Professional crime
  • Organized crime
  • White-collar and technology-based crime
  • Transnational crime
  • Crime: violation of criminal law, for which some governmental authority applies formal penalties
  • Index crimes
    • Murder
    • Rape
    • Robbery
    • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Arson
types of crime1
Types of Crime
  • Laws divide crimes into categories:
  • Severity of offense
  • Age of offender
  • Potential punishment
  • Jurisdiction
types of crime2
Types of Crime
  • Victimless crimes: willing exchange among adults of widely desired, but illegal, goods and services
  • Professional Crime
    • Professional criminal: person who pursues crime as a day-to-day occupation
  • Organized Crime: group that regulates relations between various criminal enterprises involved in illegal activities
types of crime3
Types of Crime
  • Transnational crime
  • Crime that occurs across multiple national borders
  • International crime spans the globe
table 7 3 types of transnational crime
Table 7-3: Types of Transnational Crime

Source: Compiled by the author based on Mueller 2001 and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2005.

  • Types of Crime
    • Crime is defined as a violation of criminal law for which some governmental authority applies formal penalties.
    • Laws divide crimes into categories based on:
      • severity
      • age of offender
      • potential punishment
      • jurisdiction

Types of Crime

  • White Collar and Technology-Based Crime: Illegal acts committed in the course of business activities, often by affluent people.
  • Victimless Crimes: The willing exchange among adults of widely desired, but illegal, goods and services.
  • Crime Statistics
    • Crime statistics are not as accurate as social scientists would like.
    • Reported crime is very high in the United States and is regarded as a major social problem.
    • Violent crimes have declined significantly nationwide following many years of increases.
  • Discretion within the Criminal Justice System

Source: Adapted from Department of Justice, 1988:59.

understanding crime statistics
Understanding Crime Statistics
  • Reported crime is very high in the U.S., so public regards crime as major social problem
  • Only track crimes that are reported to law enforcement agencies
  • Victimization surveys: surveys of ordinary people, not police officers, to determine whether they have been victims of crime
understanding crime statistics1
Understanding Crime Statistics
  • International Crime Rates
  • Violent crimes much more common in U.S. than Western Europe in 1980s and 1990s
  • Disturbing increases in violent crime are evident in other Western societies
table 7 4 national crime rates and percentage change
Table 7-4: National Crime Ratesand Percentage Change

Source: Department of Justice 2005:Table 1.

the death penalty in the united states and worldwide
The Death Penalty in theUnited States and Worldwide
  • The Issue
  • Historically, execution has been significant form of punishment for deviance from social norms and criminal behavior
  • Can the government prevent the execution of innocent people?
  • Is life in prison enough of a punishment for truly heinous crimes
the death penalty in the united states and worldwide1
The Death Penalty in theUnited States and Worldwide
  • The Setting
  • Fewer than half of all nations allow the death penalty
  • Within the U.S., 38 states, the military, and the federal government continue to sentence convicted felons to death for selected crimes
the death penalty in the united states and worldwide2
The Death Penalty in theUnited States and Worldwide
  • Sociological Insights
  • Traditionally focused on the death penalty’s appropriateness as a form of punishment and its value in deterring crime
  • The conflict perspective emphasizes the persistence of social inequality
the death penalty in the united states and worldwide3
The Death Penalty in theUnited States and Worldwide
  • Policy Initiatives
  • Most people, when confronted with a horrendous crime, feel the death penalty should be available
  • In U.S., fairly rare that death penalty is assessed
  • International attention focuses on nations where executions are relatively common, such as China and Iran