Sociology of Deviance Midterm

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Jennifer Nieto-Robinson
Professor McBroom
Sociology of Deviance Midterm 326

1) What do sociologists mean when they describe deviance as being relative? Provide an example of a deviant behavior and identify how it is relative. Deviance is behavior that a considerable number of people in a society view as reprehensible and beyond the limits of tolerance. In most cases it is both negatively valued and provokes hostile reactions. Deviance does not exist independently of norms. Without norms, and without the application of norms in interpreting behavior, there is no deviance. Society bases their views on what is considered appropriate by the majority of people within that society or culture. So in rural Utah seeing two men hold hands and displaying affection towards each other may seem unnatural and extremely out of the ordinary, the same couple could be living in San Francisco and their behavior may go unnoticed because they are among people of like mind where homosexuality is accepted. This explains how deviant behavior is relative to the population who deem what is socially appropriate. Or we could consider WWII and how being Jewish was considered deviant. The Nazi’s tried to exterminate an entire race due to their beliefs. This behavior was seen as deviant by the rest of the world and spawned WWII.

2) What are deviant places, and how are they associated with deviant acts? Deviant places are places that sustain deviant acts and behaviors even when the population has changed. This happens when (1) density; (2) poverty; (3) mixed use; (4) transience; and (5) dilapidation are present in the same place. These issues create an environment in which people feel unsafe. Also with poverty comes the stress and anxiety of knowing where the next meal comes from. This leads to crime, such as theft and more aggressive behavior due to living in a stressful environment.

3) Sociologists detail the importance of contextual and social patterns for deviant acts such as abuse, murder, and rape. Choose from abuse, murder, and rape, and then detail an important social pattern or variation. Within the Strain Theory, the amount of pressure and stress placed on a group in different situations can exacerbate negative/deviant behavior. In the event of someone’s death there are different ways to look at it. Certain areas of high crime have a higher rate of murders than others. The Southerness hypothesis is the study of climate, culture, and gun ownership (which there is a lot of in the south.)The link between guns, alcohol and violent crimes and how they contribute to a higher homicide rate show the link between all of these factors. The belief is that the cultural acceptance of violence as a means to assert your views, the high instances of alcohol abuse, and the warmer climate all play a role in homicidal tendencies. My belief is that the commonality is the acceptance of gun ownership and the strong belief in an eye for an eye.

4) Compare and contrast two different types of suicide, providing an example of each. An altruistic suicide is a highly integrated individual. This is an attempt to save others such as jumping on a grenade to save your battalion or becoming a suicide bomber because you believe your acts will help the people in your country as well as catapult you into heaven for making such a sacrifice. It is the belief that the act itself will save the lives and souls of others. It is done for the greater good. A Fatalistic suicide - is done by a person who is highly regulated. This person feels oppressed, or suffocated by the structure and thumb they live under. I would liken it to the high school shooters that needed to take out the students who made them feel invisible first, then they killed themselves. It was a desire to beak free from the chains, or imaginary status lines they lived under,

Jennifer Nieto-Robinson
What are the fundamental differences between the biological, psychological, and...
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