Chapter 7. Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
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Figure 7.1. Psychopaths and sociopaths are some of the star deviants in modern-day popular culture. What renders them so appealing as fictional characters? (Photo courtesy the Christian Weber/Flickr)

Learning Objectives

7.1. Deviance and Control

Define deviance and also categorize different types of deviant behaviourDetermine why specific behaviours are identified as deviant while others are notDifferentiate in between methods of society controlDescribe the features of disciplinary society control and also their partnership to normalizing societies

7.2. Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance

Describe the functionalist see of deviance in culture and to compare Durkheim’s views with social disorganization theory, manage theory, and strain theoryExplain how an essential sociology understands deviance and also crime in societyUnderstand feminist theory’s distinct contributions come the vital perspective top top crime and also devianceDescribe the symbolic interactionist approach to deviance, consisting of labelling and other theories

7.3. Crime and the Law

Identify and differentiate in between different types of crimesEvaluate Canadian crime statisticsUnderstand the nature of the corrections system in Canada

Introduction come Deviance, Crime, and Social Control

Psychopaths and also sociopaths are some of the favourite “deviants” in contemporary popular culture. Indigenous Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, come Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The quiet of the Lambs, to Dexter Morgan in Dexter, to Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock and also Elementary, the figure of the attention individual who lives among us gives a fascinating fictitious figure. Psychopathy and also sociopathy both describe personality obstacle that show off anti-social behaviour, lessened empathy, and lack that inhibitions. In clinical analysis, these analytical categories should be identified from psychosis, i beg your pardon is a problem involving a debilitating break v reality.

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Psychopaths and also sociopaths are frequently able to control their condition and also pass as “normal” citizens, although their volume for manipulation and also cruelty deserve to have devastating results for people around them. The ax psychopathy is regularly used to emphasize the the source of the disorder is internal, based upon psychological, biological, or genetic factors, whereas sociopathy is provided to emphasize primary social components in the disorder: the society or familial resources of its development and the i can not qualify to be society or abide by societal rules (Hare 1999). In this sense sociopathy would certainly be the sociological condition par excellence. It requires an incapacity because that companionship (socius), yet countless accounts that sociopaths explain them as being charming, attractively confident, and also outgoing (Hare 1999).

In a modern society characterized by the predominance of secondary rather than primary relationships, the sociopath or psychopath functions, in popular society at least, together a prime table of contents of modern social unease. The sociopath is favor the quite neighbour following door who someday “goes off” or is revealed come have had a sinister 2nd life. In many ways the sociopath is a cypher for numerous of the anxieties us have around the loss of community and living amongst people we carry out not know. In this sense, the sociopath is a very contemporary sort the deviant. Contemporary approaches to psychopathy and also sociopathy have focused on biological and genetic causes. This is a legacy that goes back to 19th century positivist viewpoints to deviance, i m sorry attempted to find a biological cause for criminality and also other species of deviant behaviour.

The Italian professor of legal psychiatry Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909) to be a crucial figure in positivist criminology who believed he had actually isolated particular physiological characteristics of “degeneracy” that might distinguish “born criminals” indigenous normal individuals (Rimke 2011). In a much much more sophisticated way, this was additionally the premise that Dr. James Fallon, a neuroscientist in ~ the college of California. His research involved analyzing mind scans of serial killers. He found that locations of the frontal and also temporal lobes linked with empathy, morality, and self-control room “shut off” in serial killers. In turn, this lack of brain activity has actually been attached with specific genetic markers saying that psychopathy or sociopathy to be passed under genetically. Fallon’s premise was that psychopathy is genetically determined. One individual’s genes recognize whether they room psychopathic or no (Fallon 2013).

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Figure 7.2. Lizzie Borden (1860–1927) to be tried yet not convicted of the axe killing of she father and stepmother in 1892. The popular rhyme of the moment went, “Lizzie Borden took an axe, and also gave her mommy 40 whacks.When she witnessed what she had actually done, she offered her father 41. ” (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

However, in ~ the same time that he to be conducting research on psychopaths, he was studying the mind scans of alzheimer patients. In the Alzheimer’s study, he discovered a brain scan indigenous a control subject that indicated the symptom of psychopathy he had actually seen in the mind scans that serial killers. The scan to be taken from a member the his own family. He broke the seal that defended the identification of the subject and also discovered it was his own mind scan.

Fallon to be a effectively married man, who had actually raised children and held down a demanding career as a effective scientist and also yet the mind scan indicated he to be a psychopath. When he researched his own genetic history, he realized that his family members tree contained seven alleged murderers consisting of the renowned Lizzie Borden, who allegedly killed her father and stepmother in 1892. He started to notification some that his own behaviour patterns as gift manipulative, obnoxiously competitive, egocentric, and also aggressive, simply not in a criminal manner.He decided that he to be a “pro-social psychopath”—an individual that lacks true empathy because that others but keeps his or her behaviour within acceptable society norms—due come the loving and also nurturing household he flourished up in. He had actually to identify that environment, and not just genes, play a far-reaching role in the expression of hereditary tendencies (Fallon 2013).

What can we learn from Fallon’s instance from a sociological point of view? Firstly, psychopathy and also sociopathy are recognized as problematic develops of deviance because of prevalent social anxieties about serial killers as types of criminal that “live following door” or blend in. This is partly due to the fact that we live in a kind of society where we perform not know our neighbors well and partly because we are concerned to find their i can identify traits together these are otherwise concealed. Secondly, Fallon acknowledges the there is no purely biological or hereditary explanation for psychopathy and also sociopathy.

Many individuals with the biological and also genetic markers of psychopathy room not risks to society—key to pathological expression of psychopathy are elements of one individual’s society environment and also social upbringing (i.e., nurture). Finally, in Fallon’s own account, the is an overwhelming to separate the discovery of the aberrant brain scan and the discovery and acknowledgement the his personal traits that psychopathy. Is it clear which came first? He only recognizes the psychopatholoy in self after see the mind scan. This is the trouble of what Ian Hacking (2006) calls the “looping effect” the affects the sociological study of deviance (see discussion below). In summary, what Fallon’s instance illustrates is the complexity of the study of society deviance.

7.1. Deviance and Control

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Figure 7.3. Lot of the very nice of watching entertainers carry out in drag comes from the humour inherent in seeing day-to-day norms violated. (Photo courtesy the Cassiopeija/Wikimedia Commons)

What, exactly, is deviance? and also what is the relationship in between deviance and also crime? according to sociologist wilhelm Graham Sumner, deviance is a violation of developed contextual, cultural, or social norms, whether folkways, mores, or codified regulation (1906). Folkways room norms based upon everyday social customs worrying practical matters like just how to host a fork, what type of garments are proper for different situations, or exactly how to greet someone politely. Mores are much more serious moral injunctions or taboos that are extensively recognized in a society, choose the incest taboo. Codified laws are standards that are specified in clear codes and also enforced by federal government bodies. A crime is therefore an act of deviance that breaks not just a norm, however a law. Deviance have the right to be together minor as picking one’s nose in publicly or as significant as committing murder.

John Hagen (1994) provides a typology come classify deviant acts in regards to their perceived harmfulness, the level of consensus worrying the standards violated, and the severity the the response to them. The most serious acts of deviance room consensus crimes about which over there is near-unanimous windy agreement. Acts favor murder and also sexual attack are normally regarded as morally intolerable, injurious, and also subject come harsh penalties. Conflict crimes are acts choose prostitution or smoking marijuana, which may be illegal but about which over there is considerable public disagreement worrying their seriousness. Social deviations are acts choose abusing serving staff or behaviours arising from mental illness and addiction, which are not illegal in themselves however are widely related to as major or harmful. World agree the they call for institutional intervention. Finally there space social diversions choose riding skateboards ~ above sidewalks, too many tight leggings, or face piercings the violate standards in a provocative method but are usually regarded as distasteful however harmless, or for some, cool.

The allude is that the question, “What is deviant behaviour?” cannot be answered in a straightforward manner. This follows from two crucial insights that the sociological technique to deviance (which differentiate it native moral and also legalistic approaches). Firstly, deviance is characterized by its society context. To know why part acts are deviant and some space not, that is essential to recognize what the paper definition is, what the existing rules are, and how these rules became established. If the rules change, what counts together deviant also changes. Together rules and norms vary across cultures and time, it renders sense the notions of deviance also change.

Fifty years ago, public institutions in Canada had actually strict dress codes that, amongst other stipulations, frequently banned females from wearing pants to class. Today, that is socially agree for ladies to wear pants, however less so for males to undertake skirts. In a time that war, plot usually considered morally reprehensible, such as acquisition the life of another, may actually it is in rewarded. Much of the confusion and ambiguity concerning the use of violence in hockey has to do through the different sets of rules that apply inside and outside the arena. Action that are acceptable and also even encouraged on the ice would certainly be punished through jail time if they developed on the street.

Whether an plot is deviant or not counts on society’s an interpretation of that act. Acts space not deviant in themselves. The second sociological understanding is that deviance is not an intrinsic (biological or psychological) attribute that individuals, no one of the acts themselves, however a product of social processes. The standards themselves, or the society contexts that determine which acts are deviant or not, are continually defined and also redefined through ongoing social processes—political, legal, cultural, etc. One method in which certain activities or people come to it is in understood and defined as deviant is v the intervention of moral entrepreneurs.

Becker (1963) identified moral entrepreneurs as people or teams who, in the business of their own interests, publicize and also problematize “wrongdoing” and also have the strength to create and enforce rules to penalize wrongdoing. Referee Emily Murphy, commonly known today as among the “Famous Five” feminist suffragists who fought to have actually women legally recognized as “persons” (and thereby qualified to organize a position in the Canadian Senate), to be a ethical entrepreneur crucial in changing Canada’s drug laws. In 1922 she wrote The black color Candle, in i beg your pardon she demonized the use of marijuana:

has actually the result of driving the fully insane. The addict loser all feeling of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under that influence, are immune to pain, and also could be severely injured without having any realization of your condition. If in this condition they end up being raving maniacs and are responsible to kill or indulge in any form of violence to various other persons, using the many savage methods of cruelty without, as stated before, any type of sense of moral responsibility…. They are dispossessed of their natural and normal will certainly power, and also their mentality is the of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any an excellent extent, it end in the untimely fatality of its addict (Murphy 1922).

One that the tactics used by ethical entrepreneurs is to develop a moral panic around activities, favor marijuana use, that they deem deviant. A ethical panic occurs once media-fuelled windy fear and overreaction command authorities to label and also repress deviants, which subsequently creates a bicycle in which more acts that deviance space discovered, an ext fear is generated, and much more suppression enacted. The vital insight is that individuals’ deviant condition is ascribed to them through social processes. Individuals are no born deviant, but end up being deviant v their interaction with reference groups, institutions, and also authorities.

Through society interaction, individuals are labelled deviant or pertained to recognize themselves as deviant. For example, in old Greece, homosexual relationships in between older men and young acolytes to be a regular component of the teacher-student relationship. Up till the 19th century, the concern of who slept through whom was a issue of indifference come the legislation or customs, except where it concerned family alliances through marriage and also the transfer of residential property through inheritance. However, in the 19th century sexuality came to be a matter of moral, legal, and also psychological concern. The homosexual, or “sexual invert,” was defined by the emerging psychiatric and also biological disciplines as a psychological deviant who instincts were contrary come nature.

Homosexuality was defined as not just a matter of sexual desire or the act of sex, yet as a dangerous high quality that identified the whole personality and moral being of an individual (Foucault 1980). Indigenous that suggest until the so late 1960s, homosexuality was related to as a deviant, closeted task that, if exposed, could an outcome in legitimate prosecution, ethical condemnation, ostracism, violent assault, and also loss that career. Since then, the gay rights movement and also constitutional protections of civil liberties have actually reversed many of the attitudes and also legal structures that led to the beginning of gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. The allude is that to whatever degree homosexuality has actually a herbal or inborn organic cause, that deviance is the outcome of a social process.

It is not just a matter of the occasions that lead authorities to specify an task or classification of people deviant, however of the processes through which individuals come to recognize themselves as deviant. In the process of socialization, there is a “looping effect” (Hacking 2006). As soon as a category of deviance has been established and applied come a person, the person begins to define himself or herself in terms of this category and behave accordingly. This affect makes it challenging to specify criminals together kinds of human in terms of pre-existing, innate predispositions or individual psychopathologies. As we will see later in the chapter, the is a main tenet that symbolic interactionist labelling theory, that individuals become criminalized through contact with the criminal justice system (Becker 1963). Once we include to this understanding the sociological research into the social features of those who have been arrested or handle by the criminal justice system—variables such together gender, age, race, and class— that is apparent that social variables and power structures are key to understanding who chooses a criminal job path.

One the the principle outcomes the these 2 sociological insights is the a emphasis on the society construction of different social experiences and problems leads to alternate ways of knowledge them and responding to them. In the study of crime and deviance, the sociologist often confronts a heritage of entrenched ideas concerning one of two people the innate organic disposition or the individual psychopathology that persons considered abnormal: the criminal personality, the sex-related or gender “deviant,” the disabled or ok person, the addict, or the mentally rough individual. However, as Ian Hacking observes, even when this beliefs around kinds of persons are commodities of objective scientific classification, the institutional paper definition of science and also expert knowledge is no independent that societal norms, beliefs, and also practices (2006).

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The procedure of classifying kinds of world is a social procedure that Hacking phone call “making up people” and also Howard Becker calls “labelling” (1963). Crime and deviance space social constructs that differ according to the definitions of crime, the forms and also effectiveness that policing, the social characteristics of criminals, and the connections of strength that structure society. Component of the trouble of deviance is that the social process of labelling part kinds of persons or tasks as abnormal or deviant limits the form of social responses available. The major issue is not that labels are arbitrary or the it is possible not to usage labels at all, however that the selection of label has actually consequences. Who gets labelled through whom and also the method social brand are applied have powerful social repercussions.