Theories of Deviance

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Flash Cards for Theories of crime and deviance

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Theories of Deviance Biological and Psychological Theories -The language of deviance used for everyday life tends to follow biological or psychological assumptions about the causes of behavior -According to Cesare Lombroso people are born criminals -William Sheldon suggested that a person's weight depended on if they were criminal -Brain studies in the 1930's suggested that some people might cease their deviant ways if their brains were surgically altered -Psychologists have also linked personality traits to crime and deviance - Albert Bandura proposed a social learning theory that suggested exposure to aggressive behaviors could reinforce people's tendencies to become aggressive -Yochelson and Samenow believed criminals were victimizers rather than victims of society -people still believe that low intelligence is linked to deviance
The Structural Perspective -Durkheim believed that at its root the morals that individuals are taught constrain their behavior -Social disintegration leads to greater deviance - He also believed deviance was functional for society -Each time a deviant act is committed and publicly announced, society is united in indignation against the perpetrator -What deviance does for society is to define the -inequality results in crime -structuralists locate the cause of crime in 2 main factors: the differential opportunity, structure, and prejudice and discrimination towards certain groups -groups with access to greater power, political, and economic opportunity may use these to define their acts as legitimate and the acts of others as deviant - Deviant behavior depends on people's access to illegitimate opportunities The Cultural Perspective -We have become a nation of many different groups, each with their own distinct subculture - Walter Miller believed that the values of the lower class culture produce deviance for its members because these are "naturally" indiscord with middle class values -Conflicting values may exist in society -When one part of society can impose its definitions on other parts, the dominant group has the ability to label the minority groups norms and values and the behavior that results from these as deviant -Through culture transmission, groups pass their norms and values down from one generation to the next, ensuring their survival and social placement as well as the continuance of culture conflict
The Interactionist Perspective -Many people are exposed to the same structural conditions and the same cultural conflicts and pressures that have been theorized as accounting for deviance but still resist engaging in deviant behaviors -Interactionists theories fill this void by looking in a more micro fashion at peoples everyday life behavior to try to understand why some people engage in deviance and become so labeled -How deviance happens - Matza suggested that it is rare for people to turn to deviance overnight -Quitting deviance may be a gradual and difficult process -Hirschis answer is that social control lies in the extent to which people develop a stake inconformity, a bond to society Ch. 6 Functionalism: The Normal and the Pathological
- Crime is present not only in the majority of societies of one particular species but in all societies of all types - Crime is normal because a society exempt from it is utterly impossible -Crime consists of an act that offends certain very strong collective sentiments -Crime is necessary: It is bound up with fundamental conditions of all social life -Law and morality vary from one social type to the next Ch. 7 Social Structure and Anomie
- Social Structures exert a definite pressure upon certain persons in the society to engage in non conforming rather than conforming conduct Patterns of Cultural Goals and Institutional Norms -Two important elements of social and cultural structures 1. Culturally defined goals, purposes, and interests 2. Culture structure defines, regulates, and controls the acceptable modes of reaching out for these goals -No society lacks norms governing conduct -The technically most effective procedure whether culturally legitimate or not, becomes typically preferred to institutionally prescribed conduct -Anomie or "normless" working of this process eventuating in anomie can be easily glimpsed in a series of familiar and instructive though perhaps trivial episodes -Deinstitutionalization occurs in many groups where the two components of the social structure are not highly integrated - Contemporary American culture continues to be characterized by a heavy emphasis on wealth as a basic symbol of success Types of Individual Adaptation 1. Conformity- conformity to both cultural goals and institutionalized means- is the most common and widely diffused. 2. Innovation- goal invites this mode of adaptation through the use of institutionally proscribed but often effective means of attaining at least the simulacrum of success- wealth and power 3. Ritualism- involves the abandoning or scaring down of the lofty culture goals of great pecuniary success and rapid social mobility to the point where one's aspirations can be satisfied 4. Retreatism- people who adapt in this fashion are strictly, speaking in the society but not of it 5. Rebellion- this adaptation leads men outside the environing social structure to envisage and seek to bring into being a new, that is to say a greatly modified social structure
The Strain Toward Anomie -The pressure of such a social order is upon outdoing one's competitors Ch. 8 Differential Association
-Process by which a particular person comes to engage in criminal behavior 1. Criminal behavior is learned 2. Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication 3. The principal part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups 4. When criminal behavior is learned the learned includes (a) techniques of committing the crime, which are sometimes very complicated, sometimes very simple (b) the specific directions of motive drives, rationalizations and attitudes 5. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favorable or unfavorable 6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of law 7. Differential associations may vary in frequency duration, priority, and intensity 8. The process of learning criminal behavior by association with criminal and anti criminal patterns involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning 9. While criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values since non criminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values -Differential group organization as an explanation of variations in crime rates is consistent with the differential association theory of the process by which persons become criminals
Ch.9 Control Theory - Control theories assume that delinquent acts result when an individuals bond to society is weak or broken -embrace two highly complex concepts (the bond of the individual to society Elements of the Bond Attachment- insensitivity to the opinion of others Commitment- The individual is in a position in which his decision with regard to some particular line of action has consequences -placed himself in that position -must be aware and must recognize that his decision in this case will have ramifications beyond it -The concept of commitment assuming that the organization of society is such that the interests of most persons would be endangered if they were to engage in criminal acts Involvement -Involvement or engrossment is conventional activities is thus often part of a control theory Belief - The control theory assumes the existence of a common value system within the society or group whose norms are being violated -Beliefs are treated as mere words that mean little or nothing if the other forms of control are missing
-The deviant rationalizes his behavior so that he can at once violate the rule and maintain his belief in it - Many person do not have an attitude of respect toward the rules of society -A persons beliefs in the moral validity of norms are for no telological reason weakend -There is variation in the strength of moral beliefs Ch. 10 Feminist Theory
Toward Feminist Theory of Delinquency -All existing theories were developed with no concern about gender stratification -Gender stratification in patriarchal society is as powerful a system as is class Mothers liberation causes daughters crime Criminalizing Girls Survival -Referred by parents -Physical and sexual abuse problem for girls -Girls are more likely to be the victims of child sexual abuse than are boys -Run away and force further into crime in order to survive Female Delinquency, Patriarchal Authority, and Family Courts -Poverty and racism shape girls lives -Throughout most of the courts history, virtually all female delinquency has been placed within the larger context of girls sexual behavior Ch.11 The Constructionist Stance
- The constructionist approach recognizes that people can only understand the world in terms of words and categories that they create and share with one another The Emergence of Constructionism -Conflict theorists charged that labeling theory ignored how elites shaped definitions of deviance and social control policies The Constructionist Response -The sociologist ought to redefine social problems as claims that various conditions constituted social problems therefore the constructionist approach involved studying claims and those who made them -To say that a social problem is socially constructed is not to imply that it does not exist, but rather that it is through social interaction that the problem is assigned particular meanings The Return to Deviance -Medicalization defining deviance as a form of illness requiring medical treatment Constructionism's Domain - Social Constructionism has become an influential stance for thinking about deviance -Constructionism emphasizes the role of interpretation of people assigning meaning, or making sense of the behaviors they classify as deviant
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