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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 16
SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE
Every group within society, and even human society itself, depends on norms for its existence. These very
norms make social life possible by making behavior predictable. We can count on most people most of the
time to meet the expectations of others. As a result there is some kind of social order in the society.
Social order is a group's usual and customary social arrangements, on which members depend and on
which they base their lives. Without social order there is likely to be chaos.
Social Control
Every society or group develops its mechanism for making its members to obey the norms for the smooth
functioning of its life. These are the attempts of society to regulate people's thoughts and behavior. This
process, may be formal or informal, is referred to as social control. Hence social control is a group's formal
and informal means of enforcing its norms.
Deviance
Sociologists use the term deviance to refer to the violation of norms. How a society defines deviance, which is
branded as deviant, and what people decide to do about deviance all have to do the way society is organized.
Hence:
... it is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that makes something deviant.
In other words, people's behavior must be viewed from the framework of the culture in which that takes
place. Therefore it is group's definition of behavior, not the behavior itself that makes it deviant.
Perhaps everybody violates the norms of society, but every violation may not be defined as deviance. So
"what is deviance", is the creation of the society i.e. an act to which people responds negatively is deviance.
Social creation of deviance and crime is also called social construction of deviance and crime.
The preceding discussion can also be called as "relativity of deviance." An act, which is called deviance by one group in
one culture, is considered as praise worthy by another group in another culture. Similarly what is deviance
at one time may not be considered so at another time. Look at somebody who is called by one group as a
terrorist and by another as a freedom fighter. Sociologists usually use the term deviance non-judgmentally
The concept of deviance can be applied to individual acts and to the activity of groups.
Deviant group behavior may result in deviant sub-culture.
Crime
Crime is the violation of norms that are written into law. An act approved in one group may be a crime
punishable by death in another group, which suggests the cultural relativity of crime. Look at honor killing,
homosexuality, polygamy, and cousin marriages; these are all examples of cultural relativity of crime. Acts of
suicide bombers may be considered as positive (acts of bravery) in one situation and negative in another.
Deviance and crime are not synonymous but these may overlap. In fact deviance is much broader than
crime because it can apply to all those acts, which violate the norms of society; norms may be unwritten.
The crimes are such acts that violate those norms that are enacted into the laws of society with special
agencies for their enforcement.
Deviants:
Deviants are those people who violate the norms and rules of society. People usually react negatively against
such violations.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Stigma:
To be considered as deviant, a person may not have to do anything. Sociologist Erving Goffman used the
term stigma to refer to attributes that discredit people. These are the "blemishes" that discredit a person's
claim to a "normal" identity. Without the choice of a person these are the violations of norms of ability
(maazoor i.e. handicapped due to blindness, deafness, mental disability), and norms of appearance (facial
birthmark, obesity). It can also be involuntary membership in groups such as relatives of criminals or
victims of AIDS. The stigma becomes a person's master status, defining him or her as deviant.
A stigma operates as a master status overpowering other aspects of social identity so that a person is
discredited in the minds of others, becoming socially isolated, and may start following a deviant behavior.
In this perspective, as individuals develop a stronger commitment to deviant behavior they typically acquire
a stigma, a powerfully negative label that greatly changes a person's self-concept and social
identity.
Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency refers to the violation of legal standards by the young. Who is young is again a relative
concept and has social construction. Nevertheless, it is defined under the law of the country.
Labeling
Labeling implies giving "bad-name" (budnaam) to individuals. It implies that the labels people are given affect
their own and others' perceptions of them, thus channeling their behavior either into deviance or into
conformity.
A labeling theory has been developed by Howard Becker, under which there is an assertion that deviance and
conformity result not so much from what people do as from how others respond to those actions.
Some people are tagged with a negative social label that radically changes a person's self-concept and social
identity. This very label could act as a `master status' as discussed earlier.
No act is intrinsically deviant; it is the people's creation. In fact it is the creation of people in power, who
impose the labels (categories of deviance). Deviant behavior is behavior that people so label. Individual accepts the
label and acts accordingly.
Labeling a child as delinquent is actually stigmatizing him as criminal, and resultantly he is likely to be
considered as untrustworthy. Society isolates him and he gets isolated.
Primary and Secondary Deviation
The action that provokes only slight reaction from others and has little effect on a person's self-concept is
primary deviance. For example skipping school or initial act of stealing may be ignored. But when people
notice some one's deviance and make something of it and give a label on repeated violations, may be as a
reaction the person repeatedly violates a norm and begins to take on a deviant identity. This may be called
as secondary deviation.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity