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Managing a Deviant Identity • Attempts at Normalizing primary deviance in the Labeling process • When people are judged as deviant, they are expected to explain their behavior (primary deviance) • Often accomplished by the use of Vocabularies of Motive • Provides a strategy for the individual to create/maintain “distance” between the deviance and their own self concept • Common Assumptions about Vocabularies of Motive • Rely upon consensus about conventional norms - Those labeled “deviant” feel the sting of stigma and moral judgment it implies - Deviants admire & respect those with some claim to conventional status
Vocabularies of Motive: The Sociology of Mitigating Stigma Vocabulary of Motive (C. Wright Mills) An attempt to present an act that produces a negative reaction in terms that are culturally acceptable 2 Frameworks that identify types of Vocabularies of Motive: Techniques of Neutralization (Matza and Sykes 1957) Accounts (Scott and Lyman 1968)
Negotiating a Deviant Identity Techniques of Neutralization • People labeled “deviant” employ rationalizations to “free” them from social bonds (constrained acts). Employed prior to act. • Sometimes associated with Control theory (Hirschi). How come? • Denial of Responsibility (Social forces caused individual action) • Denial of Injury (No real harm was caused; no blood no foul) • Denial of Victim (Victim deserved harm) • Condemnation of Condemners (Shift focus to actions of social control agents) • Appeal to Higher Loyalties (Subcultural values/associations take precedence over conventional value systems)
Influence of Situational Cheating Among College Students (Reserve 5 - McCabe) Analysis of Techniques of Neutralization used by students. Data Source? Extent of Cheating? Review of Neutralization Techniques Most common techniques used? Examples?
Vocabularies of Motive Accounts Linguistic tools that attempt to remove some of the blame or responsibility for an act judged as deviant after it has been committed.* Socially approved vocabularies effectively neutralize the act or its consequences for the actor’s self concept *Note that this is one important difference b/t Accounts and Techniques of Neutralization (which Matza and Sykes claim must occur before the (deviant) act).
Vocabularies of Motive Accounts 2 Types: • Excuses • Justifications Both entail 2 elements: • Stance on the moral judgment of the act • Stance on the culpability of the (deviant) actor
Vocabularies of Motive • Excuses Admit the act is bad (agree with social judgment of the act) Does not accept full responsibility • Justifications Deny social judgment of the act as wrong (in conflict with social norms) Justifications suggest that the act was appropriate in light of the circumstances Accepts responsibility for the act (logical - since the act is not conceived of as morally wrong)
Rapists Vocabulary of Motive (Scully and Marolla, Ch 23) • Data Source? • Breakdown of Rapists Linguistic Strategies • Admitters • Deniers • Excuses • Use of Alcohol and Drugs • Rapist vs. Victim Patterns • Emotional Problems • Nice Guy Image • Social Capital of Rapist
Rapists Vocabulary of Motive (Scully and Marolla, Ch 23) • Justifications • Broadly available in contemporary American society • Available to both Rapists/Victims and Society as a whole • Women as Seductresses (sexually aggressive) • “No” really means Yes • Most relax and enjoy it • Nice girls don’t get raped (Sexual reputation of victim) • Guilty of a minor wrong What strategy was being employed by Kobe Bryant’s defense team? Conclusions about the Medical Model?