Sociology Chapter 9

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Sociology Pages: 3 (1225 words) Published: November 5, 2014

Chapter 9: Deviance
What is Deviance?
The recognized violation of cultural norms
Crime: The violation of a society’s formally enacted criminal law Social Control: Attempts by society to regulate people’s thought and behavior Criminal Justice system: a formal response by police, courts, and prison 
officials to alleged violations of the law 
The Biological Context Early studies showed relationship of criminal behavior with head shape 
(Lombroso) and body size (Sheldon), but they were faulty Now studies show people’s overall genetic composition in combination with 
social influences account for variation in criminality Critical Review: Why are some kinds of behaviors defined as deviant and not 
Personality Factors Containment theory: Individual factors like the ability to cope with 
frustration and identifying positively with cultural norms and values are 
related to fewer problems with police Critical Review: The most serious crimes are committed by those whose 
psychological profiles are normal 
Social Foundations of Deviance Deviance varies according to cultural norms across Canada and internationally People become deviant as others define them that way

Both norms and the way people define rule breaking involve social power 
The Functions of Deviance: Structural-Functional Analysis Durkheim’s Basic Insight
o 1. Deviance affirms cultural values and norms

o 2. Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries
o 3.Responding to deviance brings people together

o 4. Deviance encourages social change

o e.g. the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay
Merton’s Strain Theory
o Deviance depends on the extent to which society provides the means to achieve cultural goals
 Conformity: Uses approved means
Innovation: Strain between cultural goals and opportunities to 
get them; people may use illegitimate means (e.g. crime) Ritualism: inner rejection of cultural goal
Retreatism: Dropping out...
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