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Chapter 2 20 January 2011 Introduction o Positivists sociologists try to explain horrible deviant acts such as the Virginia Tech

h shootings, through past social experiences of the student shooter o The media focused on factors such as his mental illness, easy access to guns, inadequate socialization & grievances against society o Today positivists recognize social factors as determining criminal status, emphasize the objectivity of deviance, assume that deviance has intrinsic characteristics that hurt members of society o Three positivistic theories: Anomie-strain, Social Learning & Social Control Anomie-Strain Theory o A-S theory focus: how anomie, or a breakdown of social norms, causes people to engage in deviant behavior o Durkheim: anomie is absence of norms & this leads to deviance. Also believed that crime was a normal part of society. o Merton focused on goals-means gap Ways in which society encourages deviant behavior (by setting unreasonable goals but not the tools needed to attain them) Different view that Durkheim Deviance occurs when society encourages individuals to commit it by creating a type of pressure that promotes deviance. His modified version of the concept Legitimate means of success not freely available to all classes Lower classes are trapped into resorting to illegitimate means to achieve success (the level of success promoted by social institutions as normal, appropriate & attainable) By encouraging high aspirations & denying avenues of success, society inadvertently creates deviance Social Adaptations: Conformity: accepting both society-approved goals & means Innovation: used of illegitimate means to achieve socially accepted/promoted high success goals Ritualism: abandoning high success goals but pursuing legitimate work Retreatism: withdrawal from goals & means of society Rebellion: rejection of prevailing social expectations & supports for overthrowing the system (i.e. social institutions, bureaucracy, etc.) o Cohen modified Mertons strain theory by introducing the delinquent subculture driven by status frustration

According to Cohen, lower-classed youths react (status frustration & reaction formation) to the unreasonable middle-class measuring rod (social expectations) by turning to deviance o New Direction in Anomie Strain More emphasis on U.S. culture that values success by any means Pursuit of economic success leads to lack of concern for others Social Learning Theory o Deviant behavior is learned through ones interaction with others like any other behavior o Sutherland: deviance occurs in people who have more concentrated criminal than anticriminal contacts (differential association) o Sutherlands Differential Association Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with others Criminal behavior is learned in intimate personal groups The learning includes techniques of committing the crime, as well as the motives, drives, and rationalizations o Glasers differential identification theory: individual must identify with criminals o Burgess & Akers differential reinforcement or social learning: people will engage in criminal activity if rewarded Control Theory o Explores why people conform, not deviate: accepts Freudian idea that deviance can occur naturally, without social control CT (what causes conformity?) A/S & Learning (what causes deviance?) o What causes conformity is social control over the individual, & therefore the absence of social control causes deviance Hirschis Social Bond o Hirschi: strong bonds to society ensure conformity while weak bonds lead to deviant acts o Four ways to bond to society: Attachmentto conventional people & institutions Commitmentto conformity Involvement in conventional activities Belief in the moral validity of social rules Hirschi & Gottfredson o In more recent publications (1990 & 1994) Hirschi & Gottfredson argue that: weak social control more useful for explaining deviance People with weak social control are highly impulsive, reckless & insensitive Often products of inadequate socialization Such people likely to commit deviant acts even when social bonds are strong