Chapter 5 : Deviance and Crime

Added on - 30 Nov 2020

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Chapter 5: Deviance and CrimeLearning objectives:See how people define deviance and crime differently in different times and placesInterpret differences in crime rates over time and between different populationcategoriesApply a variety of sociological theories to the analysis of various aspects of deviant andcriminal behaviourLearn how forms of punishment have changed historicallyExplain how fear of crime is subject to manipulation by political and commercial groupsthat benefit from itIdentify workable alternatives to tough prison regimesTHE SOCIAL DEFINITION OF DEVIANCE AND CRIMENorms vary widelyDeviance is relativeFrom a sociological point of view everyone is deviant in one social context or anotherThe difference between deviance and crimeDeviance:oDeparture from a norm that evokes a negative reaction from others.Some norms are lawsCrime:oDeviance that is against the lawLaw:oA norm stipulated and enforced by government bodiesNorms and laws have changed dramaticallySANCTIONS:Deviant acts go unnoticed or are considered too trivial to warrant negative sanctions oractions indicating disapprovalFormal punishment:oPenalization by the judicial system for breaking a lawEx: criminals are usually formally punished by having to serve time inprison, pay a fine or perform community serviceInformal punishment:oA mild sanction that is imposed during face-to-face interaction rather than by thejudicial systemRaised eyebrows, harsh stare, ironic smile, gossip, ostracism, “shaming”or stigmatizations:Stigmatizations:oProcess of negatively evaluating people because of a marker that distinguishesthem from othersNegatively evaluated because of visible characteristics that distinguishthem from othersDeviance and crime vary in terms of the severity of the social responseoMild disapproval to capital punishment
Perceived harmfulness of the deviant or criminal actDegree of public agreement:oIf an act should be considered to deviantMEASURING GAMECrime statistics:oInformation on crime collected by the police is the main source of crime statisticsStatistics have 2 main shortcomings:o1. Victimless crimes:Violations of the law in which no victim has stepped forward and beenidentifiedo2. Authorities and the wider public decide which criminal acts to report andwhich to ignoreSelf-report surveys:oSurveys in which respondents are asked to report their involvement to criminalactivities, either as perpetrators or as victims.oSame rate of serious crime as official statistics doVictimization surveysoSurveys in which people are asked whether they have been victims of crimeoImpact of victimization and perceptions of personal safetyFirst: growing number of well-trained troops are fighting crimeSecond: the people most prone to street crime is young manThird: The unemployment rate has followed a downwardFinally: some researchers argue that declining crime rates may be linked to thelegalization of abortionCriminal profiles:oAge and gender:Socialization, traditional social controls and definitions of femininity areless often being imposed on women15-24 years old who are charged with a violent crime is about twice ashigh as the percentage of their populationoRace:5 reasons for the overrepresentation of indigenous people:1. A disproportionately large number of indigenous people arepoor2. The indigenous population is younger than the rest of thepopulation3. They tend to dostreet crimes:oCrimes including arson, break, and enter, assault, andother illegal acts, are disproportionately committed bypeople from lower classesoWhite-collar people:Illegal acts committed by respectable, high-statuspeople in the course of work.
4. Police, courts and other institutions may discriminate againstindigenous peoples5. Contact with western settlers and western culture disruptedsocial life in indigenous communitiesDisruption led to a weakening of social control over communitymembers.Some people think that “races” are inherently more law-abiding thanothers but they are able to hold such opinion by ignoring the powerfulsocial forcesEXPLAINING DEVIANCE AND CRIMESymbolic interactionist approaches to deviance and crimeLearning deviance:oSocial context was established by Howard S. Becker’s classic study or marijuanao3 stage learning process before becoming regular marijuana userso1. Learning to smoke the drug in a way that produces real effects:o2. Learning to recognize the effects and connect them with drug useo3. Learning to enjoy the perceived sensationsoIt requires a social contextLabelling:oLabelling theory:Holds that deviance results not so much from the actions of the deviantas from the response of others, who label the rule breaker a deviantoDeviant and criminal aren’t applied automatically when a person engages in rule-violating behaviour other define the actions as deviant and other actions asnormalFunctionalist explanationsEmile Durkheim:oControversial claim that deviance and crime are beneficial for societyoDeviance and crime help societies adapt to social changeRobert Merton:oDeveloped Durkheim’s theory by emphasizing the dysfunctions of deviance andcrimeoCultures often teach people to value material successoStrain:The result of a culture teaching people to value material success, butsociety failing to provide enough legitimate opportunities for everyone tosucceedo4 types of actions:1. Rejecting the society goals and its institutionalized of achieving them2. Rejecting the goals of conventional society but continuing to followthem3. Accepting cultural goals and creating novel means
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