Deviance Crime and Social Control

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminal justice Pages: 45 (2704 words) Published: June 25, 2015
Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
• Deviance
• Behavior that violates norms and arouses negative social reaction

• Crime
• Behavior that violates criminal law

• Social Control
• The ways in which society prevents and sanctions behavior that violates social norms.

• Is deviance a normal part of society?
• What makes a behavior deviant?
• Why are some behaviors considered deviant while others
are not?

• Are some people more likely than others to commit deviant acts?
• Why?

• Deviance is relative
• Whether behavior is considered deviant depends on the
circumstances in which the behavior occurs and not on the
behavior itself.
• When is murder not considered a deviant act?
• Can you think of other actions/behaviors considered deviant ‘sometimes’?

• Why does crime occur?
• Do rates of deviance differ across social classes?
• Are some people more likely than others to be considered deviant and punished for deviant behavior?

Functionalist Theory & Deviance/Crime
• How would a functionalist explain the existence deviance and crime?

Functionalist Theory & Deviance/Crime
• Deviance has several functions:
• Clarifies norms and increases conformity
• Strengthens social bonds among the people reacting to the deviant • It can help lead to positive social change

Conflict Theory and Deviance/Crime
• How would a conflict theorist explain the existence of
deviance and crime?

Conflict Theory & Deviance/Crime
• People with power pass laws and otherwise use the legal
system to secure their position at the top of society and to keep the powerless on the bottom.
• The poor and minorities are more likely because of their poverty and race to be arrested, convicted, and

Symbolic Interactionism &
• How would a structural functionalist explain the existence of deviance and crime?

Symbolic Interaction & Deviance/Crime
• Criminal behavior is learned by interacting with close
friends and family members who teach us how to commit
various crimes and also about the values, motives, and
rationalizations we need to adopt in order to justify
breaking the law.
• Deviance results from being labeled a deviant; nonlegal
factors such as appearance, race, and social class affect
how often labeling occurs.

Types of Crime
• Conventional crime
• Violent and property offenses, including homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

• White collar crime
• Crime committed in the course of one’s occupation

• Victimless crime
• Illegal behavior in which people participate voluntarily, including drug use, prostitution, and gampling.

Types of Crimes
• Is one type of crime more damaging to society that

Critical Race Theory and Deviance &
• “In each generation, new tactics have been used for
achieving the same goals…goals shared by the Founding
Fathers. Denying African Americans citizenship was
deemed essential to the formation of the original union.”
Michelle Alexander 2012

What has changed?
• Some argue that what has changed since the collapse of
Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our
society than with the language we use to justify it.
• Once you are labeled a felon, the old forms of
discrimination (employment discrimination, housing
discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of
educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other
public benefits, and exclusion from jury service) are
suddenly legal.

The New Jim Crow
• The new system was developed and implemented swiftly,
and it was largely invisible to many people, including those fighting for justice.
• “I came to see that mass incarceration in the US had, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and welldisguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow” (Alexander,


The War on Drugs
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