Social Groups And Social Control

Chapter 4

Social Structure and Interaction in Everyday Life

By Michelle & Bryan

Every human being is a part of their environmental surroundings. Where a person lives, along with their age, education, marital status, employment, etc carries certain expectations with how a person behaves. These expectations come from social structure – the stable pattern of social relationships that exists within a group or society (Kendall 115). More definitively, social structure is the complex framework of societal institutions (such as the economy, politics, and religion) and the social practices (such as rules and social roles) that make up a society (Kendall 113).


There are many components of social structure including status, roles, groups & social institutions. These components are ever changing, as society changes with technology, economy & politics. How then are our expected behaviors determined? The most important human moral issues arise when human beings come together in social groups and begin to conflict with one another (Thiroux, Krasemann 11).

Status, a socially defined position in a group or society characterized by certain expectations, rights, and duties (Kendall 115); can be both voluntary &/or involuntary. Achieved status is a voluntary position obtained as a result of personal choice, merit, or direct effort (Kendall 117). Examples of achieved status are a person’s occupation, place of residence & income. However, being a criminal or homeless person can also be an achieved status. Ascribed status is an involuntary position which an individual has little or no control over (Kendall 117). A person’s heritage, age & gender are examples of ascribed status. A person may hold more than one status at the same time; being a male\female, employer/employee, parent/child & so on. This is the status set (Kendall 117). The most important status, or master status, a person holds varies from one individual to another. For a female college graduate, occupation may take a backseat to mother if she has children after she begins her career.

Along with each status come roles – certain behavioral expectations with a given status (Kendall 119). These expectations on behaviors can become burdensome when roles cause strain or conflict in the lives of people who hold more than one status (Kendall 121). Many roles are played in social groups, whether they are primary or secondary groups. Primary groups are informal, emotion based; such as family, friends & peers. Secondary groups are formal, specialized groups; such as schools, churches & corporations (Kendall 124). All of these aspects of social structure or incorporated in to the social institution, a set of organized beliefs and rules that establishes how a society will attempt to meet its members needs (Kendall 126).

Advances among individual members of a society can lead to changes in how society operates. Along with these advances, common changes; including, loss of members, teaching new members, providing necessities, keeping order & protecting members, as well as motivating with a sense of purpose (Kendall 142). In statuses, roles, & groups people are expected to interact in a way that is acceptable. Social interaction has many aspects. Obviously, verbal interaction is the most common form of interaction. However, there are nonverbal ways of interacting. Facial expressions, gestures, even status symbols can be forms of interaction. In all ways of interacting, members of a society try to influence how others view them through impression management, efforts to present themselves in ways that are favorable to their own interest of image (Kendall 132).

An important thing to note, in most ethical societies, emphasis is placed on how a person behaves towards those that share their society. Even seven of the Ten Commandments are devoted to personal interaction with each other as humans. Whereas, three are devoted to God (Thiroux, Krasemann 11).

Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 7th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007. (112-143)

Thiroux, Jacques P; Krasemann, Keith W. Ethics Theory & Practice. 10th Edition. United States: Pearson Education, Inc, 2009 (1-33)

Chapter 5

Groups and Organizations

By Paige and Josh


It is natural in society for people to form groups and organizations. It can be a certain purpose or goal that brings people together, or a more personal group to fulfill emotional needs. The term group is often confused with an aggregate (a gathering of people who are merely in the same place at the same time) or a category (people who have a related characteristics, but may not even know each other, such as age race or gender). A social group according to Diana Kendall in Sociology in our Times is actually “a collection of two or more people who interact frequently with one another, share a sense of belonging, and have a feeling of interdependence” (Kendall 134).

There are different types of groups as well. Charles H. Cooley introduced the concept of primary and secondary groups. A primary group is not structured with an objective, but more intimate and emotion-based in which members connect in person such as a family. A secondary group tends to be larger, more formal and specialized and less personal; a goal-oriented affiliation like a job. William Graham Sumner describes another category of group he called ingroup and outgroup. Kendall defines the terms: “An ingroup is a group to which a person belongs and with which the person feels a sense of identity. An outgroup is a group to which a person does not belong and toward which the person may feel a sense of competitiveness or hostility” (Kendall 136). Groups can be small or large, the smallest being a group of two people, or a dyad. A group of three people is also known as a triad.

Most groups tend to have leaders who are responsible for directing and planning so that the group may reach its goal. Kendall identifies three different types of leaders, authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire leaders. Authoritarian leaders make all of the decisions and direct members of the group giving them certain rules. This can range from anything from a basketball coach to a CEO of a large company. Democratic leaders support group decisions and like to vote or get the different views and voices from the group. This would be like being on an education board or in a club. Finally laissez-faire leaders do not get involved in peoples decision making and let the members of the group make their our decisions.

Groups tend to put pressure on their members to conform, even if it is not intentional. Members tend to give into conformity in order not to stand out and possibly be ridiculed by others. Solomon Asch put this principle to the test in an experiment he conducted in 1955. In this experiment he used seven subjects six of witch were in on the study. He put them into a group and showed them a card with a line on it. He then showed them a card with three different sized lines on it. The participants were asked to identify which of the three lines was the same size as the reference line. On the first few test all seven answered correctly, but then the six actors started all guessing the wrong line. When they did this the subject got confused knowing they were answering wrong, but in the end about one-third of all the subjects chose to conform and answer wrongly with the rest of the group. This experiment showed the amount of influence participants have on other members of the group, and that people are more afraid of being the odd man out and possibly ridiculed then they are doing what they themselves want. Groups are a very important part of our society, they give people comradery and add goals to our lives. Without groups our society would not be able to function.


Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 6th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (132-156)

"Social Groups and Organizations." Spark Notes 2009 1-4. Web.20 Jun 2009. <>.

Chapter 6

Deviance & Crime

By Michelle & Bryan


As humans come together in social settings, the chance of being witness to deviance, or worse yet, victims increases. Deviance is any behavior, belief, or conditions that violate significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs (Kendall 174). However, what may be acceptable in one setting may be seen as deviant in another. At a family or social gathering, many people may be talking at the same time, even over one another, to get their point across. This type of behavior is not acceptable in other situations such as attending church or a college class. Also, members of an inner city gang my find it acceptable for a member to kill someone from a rival gang. However, this is not an acceptable behavior by the rest of society.

Deviance can vary in its severity of seriousness. Speaking out in church or class would be considered mild compared to murder in most settings. As degrees of deviance vary, so must the sanctions – or punishments. The general rule applied deviance is, “The more serious the crime, the more severe the punishment.” (Thiroux, Krasemann 134). Social control is the systematic practices developed by social groups to encourage conformity to norms, rules, and laws and to discourage deviance (Kendall 178).

Functionalists believe that deviance is conducive to the function of societies in that it: 1. Clarifies rules, 2. Unites groups & 3. Promotes social change. As individuals attain higher levels of success, others may feel pressure to “keep up with the Jones’s,” yet be unable to do so because of they lack the means through lack of resources, known as Strain Theory (Kendall 179). Expanding on this is the opportunity theory. Gangs represent an illegitimate opportunity structure, circumstances that provide an opportunity for people to acquire through illegitimate activities what they cannot achieve through legitimate channels (Kendall 181).

Conflict perspectives focus on the inequalities of individuals within a society. Members of political & those of upper sociologic levels may be in a position to influence laws. Therefore, what may be considered “right or wrong” may not represent a quantitative consensus of a population. Continuing with this belief, laws & the criminal justice system are set in place by those with power & influence. This leaves little opportunity for the multitude of citizens without power the opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns about current or proposed laws (Kendall 184).

Deviance can also be a learned behavior, according to symbolic interactionists. The more a person is interacts on a social level with defiant members of society, the greater their chances of becoming defiant themselves. Weak social bonds with society or positive influences also play a part in whether a person displays deviant behaviors (Kendall 188).

Each society is subject to dealing with deviant behavior, as well as the process through which it is rectified. The criminal justice system in the United States classifies crimes between misdemeanors & felonies. Both types of crime can be punishable by monetary fines, imprisonment & seeking rehabilitation if applicable. Each jurisdiction has differing laws & punishments. It would be wise for the deviant person to acknowledge possible consequences for their behavior. Whether it be making a scene in a controlled setting, such as church or class to being put to death for murder. Regardless of the case, fear of punishment has been debated recently. The high rate of re-offenders shows there is not a strong relationship between punishment & deterrence (Kendall 204).

Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 7th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007. (172-211)

Thiroux, Jacques P; Krasemann, Keith W. Ethics Theory & Practice. 10th Edition. United States: Pearson Education, Inc, 2009 (120-155)

Postmodernist Perspectives on Deviance

-by Bryan Stephens


What is deviance?
Deviance in my mind just departs from the normal every day expected reactions and perspectives. It can be a reaction to an established accepted practice or it could just be a mistake or an intentionally destructive act.

“Departing from the other theoretical perspectives on deviance, some postmodern theorists emphasize that the study of deviance reveals how the powerful exert control over the powerless by taking away there free will to think and act as they might choose.” (pg 190)

The freedom to make choices is something we take for granted. Giving up this freedom because of fear that we will be a victim is foolish.
The idea that at any moment of any day you might be caught on camera doing something society labeled bad keeps us under control better than the resulting punishment. But how do we decide what is bad and is social deviance always bad?

Some might say that creativity is stunted if we all conform to the same norms than there is no change no growth. Who gets to decide what is normal? Is it just a statistic or is it something that is carefully crafted and marketed to each of us.

Viewing deviance as a violation of social norms, sociologists have characterized it as "any thought, feeling or action that members of a social group judge to be a violation of their values or rules” - Douglas and Waksler 1982

Labeling theory states that once someone gets labeled a criminal they eventually conform to that and act accordingly. The behavior of the individuals is not necessarily deviant in its self. Deviant behavior is behavior that people successfully label on someone else.

I watched a movie recently that took some of this to the extreme the scenario was death row inmates could give up control of there bodies to a game where someone would play as them and fight to the death the last man standing would gain freedom so give up free will to gain freedom. Are we giving up our free will to be free to move around in society? In some small ways we must compromise to survive because after all one person against many is usually not good odds. And its in our nature to copy what others do around us for this very reason so we don't stick out like a sore thumb.

How much control over how we act is going to be sacrificed for security and safety?

“The whole history of mankind is a series of acts which are open to doubt, dispute, and criticism, as to their right and justice, but all subsequent history has been forced to take up the consequences of those acts and go on” -William Graham Sumner

Sociology in our times, The Essentials, Seventh Edition – Diana Kendall

Sex and Gender

Lexi David
Sex and Gender. What is sex and gender? Is there a difference? First off sex refers to biological and anatomical differences between females and males. At the root of all of these differences is the chromosomal information this information is transmitted from the moment the child is conceived.The mother always contributes the “X” chromosome and the father contributes either the “X” chromosome, which will produce a female, or he will contribute the “Y” chromosome, which will produce a male. The sex of the baby is obviously determined at birth by their primary sex characteristics. The primary sex characteristics is the genitalia, which is used in the reproductive process.

Sometimes sex is not always clear-cut. Sometime, some humans can have a hormone imbalance before birth which ends up producing a hermaphrodite. What is a hermaphrodite? This is a person in whom sexual differentiation is incomplete. There is also a sex known as a transsexual. A transsexual is a person in whom the sexual related structures of the brain that define gender identity are opposite from the physical sex organs of the person’s body. There is also another sex, and it is known as a transvestite. This is where a male lives as a female but does not have the same genitalia.

Most of us at one point in time in our life experience sexual orientation. Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s preference for emotion-sexual relationships. Heterosexual is when you attract a member of the opposite sex, homosexual is the attraction to someone of the same sex and bisexual is when you are attracted to both sexes.

What is gender? Gender refers to the culturally and socially constructed differences between females and males found in the meanings, beliefs, and practices associated with “femininity” and “masculinity”. Even though biological differences between women and men is very important, but in reality most “sexual differences” are socially constructed. Some sociologist say that social and cultural processes, not biological “givens” are most important.

There is an analysis of gender focuses on how individuals learn gender roles and acquire a gender identity. What is gender identity? What is gender role? Gender role refers to the attitude, behavior and activities that are socially defined as “appropriate” for each sex. Gender identity is a person’s perception of the self as female or male. Gender identity is usually established between eighteen months and three years of age. Gender identity is a powerful aspect of our self-concept.

Gender is a social construction with important consequences in everyday life. Thus, is what sex and gender is.
Work Cited:
Diana Kendall, Sociology in our times, The Essentials.2010, 2007 Wadsworth,Cengage Learning

Deviance and Crime

Lexi David
What is deviance? Deviance is any behavior, belief, or condition that violates significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs. Most of us are familiar with behavioral deviance. This type of deviance is based on a person’s intentions. For example, a person shows intentional deviance by drinking way too much or shows robbing a bank. Some individuals may be regarded as deviant because they posses a specific condition or characteristic. Who defines deviance? For sociologist, however, deviance is a formal property of social situations and social structure.

Definitions of deviance vary widely from place to place, from time to time and from group to group. Deviant behavior also varies in its degree of seriousness. What causes deviance? Why? Deviance can clarify rules by punishing deviant behavior. Deviance also unties a group as well as promoting social change. Deviants may violate norms in order to get them changed.
What is a Crime? a crime is a behavior that violates criminal law and is punishable with fines, jail time. Crimes can range from minor offenses, such as a traffic violation, to a major offense, such as murder. Crimes are divided into felonies and misdemeanors. The difference between the two is based on the seriousness of the crime. A felony is a serious crime, such as rape and murder. These charges normally result in jail time from more than a year to the death penalty. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime. This charge can result in a year in jail to a fine or community service.

In Criminal Law there is many different subcategories. Such as Juvenile Delinquency. Juvenile Delinquency is a violation of law by a young person. Do beware that juvenile delinquency does not only include crimes, it also includes status offenses. Juvenile delinquency can only apply to young people ages 17 and under. Another subcategory would be criminal gangs. Criminal gangs is devoted to crimes like theft, extortion and other illegal means to secure an income. There is also conflict gangs. These gangs are in communities that do not provide either legitimate or illegitimate opportunities. These gangs are out to set a “rep” especially for fighting over home turf.

A few other subcategories in criminal law is, violent crime, property crime, public order crime, occupation and corporate crime, organized crime and terrorism. These subcategories play a major part in Criminal Law. This is where the Criminal Justice System comes in play. The Criminal Justice System is made up of more than 55,000 local, state and federal agencies in the United States.
Work Cited:
Diana Kendall, Sociology in our times, The Essentials.2010, 2007 Wadsworth,Cengage Learning

Components of Social Structure

By Jaylea

All whole systems are made up of ‘bits and pieces’ working together to achieve one common goal. The same is true with the social structure. There are many parts that pull together to make one large ‘chunk’ working together to make society run the way it does. The parts pulling together to make this large chunk known as societies are: Status, Roles, Groups and Social Institutions. From those three broad categories, there are many more specific ideas that are used in building the framework of Society.

First, Social Institutions will be further explained. Within the sector of status are more areas that can be expanded upon. Status by definition is: “a socially defined position in a group or society characterized by certain expectations, rights, and duties.” Status’ are often judged in society by people wanting to be of that ‘higher quality’ some people are in search of.

Status’ can be classified as an ascribed or achieved status. The way status’ are qualified is how the person comes about that status. An ascribed status is “a social position conferred at birth or received involuntarily later in life, based on attributes over which the individual has little or no control.” Examples of ascribed status’ are the race of a person, ethnicity age and gender.
The achieved status is a “Social position a person assumes voluntarily as a result of personal choice, merit or direct effort.” Basically, if a person chooses to be of a certain status through working or luck to have something they want, they have an achieved status. Examples of achieved status’ are a position of a job. Kendall gives a great example of an achieved status: “Maria voluntarily assumed the statuses of psychologist, professor, wife, mother an school volunteer.” While most people are happy with their achieved status’ there are situations when a person wouldn’t want to have the achieved status, for example, a criminal wouldn’t be an achieved status a person would want. Those are just several of the types of status’ a person can have.

Roles play an important part in the system, too. By definition a role is “A set of behavioral expectations associated with a given status.” An example of a role would be a plumber is an employee that would be hired by a family, the employer. Kendall explains that along with a role there is the role expectation. A role expectation is “how society thinks a role should be played.” Just because someone has a different role than another person and may not be seen as high in status as the other, for example a construction worker and a lawyer, doesn’t mean that their roles aren’t both just as important to society. In order for a person to fill their own role, there must be another person filling the role they rely on to act their own role. This helps support the statement that every role is important.


Society categorizes people into groups and social institutions. Groups are “two or more people who interact frequently and share a common identity and a feeling of interdependence.” There are primary (smaller) and secondary (larger) groups that people can interact in. Within the smaller groups the people are more specific and focused while the secondary group is larger and more general. Social institutions are “sets of organized beliefs and rules that establish how a society will attempt to meet is basic social needs.”
All parts mentioned make up group known as the Social Structure. Without one branch all wouldn’t work together well.

Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 7th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.
Wikipedia. Social Structure. Website, 02 June 2010.

The Conflict Perspective

Jordan Voss

First off, what is a conflict perspective? A conflict perspective is the belief that groups in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources. This conflict can take place in any part of society from politics to family arguments.

The development of much of the conflict theory can be credited to Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Max Weber. These men focused on the “inevitability of clashes between social groups.”

Karl Marx was a German philosopher and economist born in 1818. His believed that a capitalist economy caused conflict between the working class and the capitalist class, because the workers were exploited by the capitalists. This exploitation, he believed, was the reason for poverty. He felt that society must be studied so that it could be changed. Many sociologists believe that Karl Marx focused too much on social classes and overlooked other issues such as race, ethnicity and gender.


Max Weber was a German social scientist born in 1864. Weber disagreed with Marx in the fact the he didn’t believe that a capitalist economy called for social revolution. Weber believed that people’s freedom was being threatened by growing bureaucracies, not social classes.

George Simmel, a German sociologist born in 1858, believed that people were becoming more individualized and less group oriented. He also recognized that social classes were clashing more with industrialization.

C. Wright Mills evolved the work of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and George Simmel into the modern conflict theory. He urged people to analyze society deeper and reveal the inequalities that existed in both power and wealth. He also thought that most decisions in the United States were made by a few powerful officials know as the “power elite”.

The conflict perspective is composed of several different divisions. Each division has different views, but still agrees that groups in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources. The first division buys into the beliefs of Karl Marx that the struggle exists between social classes and that this struggle will result in change for the better.

The second division of the conflict perspective believes that the inequalities exist not between social classes by between races or ethnic groups.

The third division is known as feminist perspective. Feminist feel that men and woman are equal but not treated equal, therefore this is where the social inequalities exist. Feminists believe that we live in a patriarchy, which is “a system in which men dominate women and in which things that are considered to be ‘male’ or ‘masculine’ are more highly valued than those considered to be ‘female’ or ‘feminine’.” Feminists also believe that the concept of gender is not a biological trait but one created by society.

Despite the many variations of conflict theories all conflict perspectives share the same basic principals of the existence of inequalities and the struggle for power and resources.

Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 7th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.
Wikipedia. Conflict Theories. Website, 02 June 2010.

The Functionalist perspective

Jordan Voss

What is the functionalist perspective? Well, the functionalist perspective, also known as structural functionalism, states that society is a system or structure made up of interconnected parts. These interconnected parts are thought to exist because they play an important role in society. The parts consist of families, religions, schools, government, and the economy. When any one of these parts is affected, it has an affect on the other parts and on the society as a whole. The functionalist perspective was developed mostly by Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim.


Herbert Spencer was a British social theorist born in 1820. Spencer introduced the evolutionary perception of society, where he compared society to a biological organism. Spencer’s evolutionary theory stated that society was composed of interdependent parts and that the well being of the society as a whole was dependent on these parts. Spencer suggested that the development of societies was a result of people’s “struggle for existence” and “fitness for survival.” He referred to this as “survival of the fittest” which was similar to Charles Darwin’s social Darwinism. With this theory Herbert Spencer believed that strong members of society would survive while weak members would die off.

Many people disagreed with Spencer’s beliefs on grounds that societies are different from biological organisms because societies are created and altered by people. Also people believed that Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” allowed for racial, ethical and gender discrimination.

Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist born in 1858, has been called the founding figure of the functionalist theoretical tradition. Durkheim believed that humans were a product of their society and that their personal limits were set by society, not their biological makeup. According to Diana Kendall, author of Sociology In Our Times, Durkheim developed the idea that societies are built on social facts which are “patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that exist outside any one individual but that exert social control over each person.”

Emile Durkheim also believed when under rapid change societies would experience “strains.” These strains would disrupt the society’s values, organization, and authority and lead to anomie, which is “a condition in which social control becomes ineffective as a result of the loss of shared values and of a sense of purpose in society.”

In the twentieth century, the functionalist perspective was shaped by Talcott Parsons.
Talcott Parsons determined that in order to survive a society must meet the social needs of its members. He believed that social order depended on men fulfilling a typical fatherly role by supporting and leading the family and women fulfilling a typical motherly role by raising the children and maintaining the house. Parsons also thought that the family should receive support from the other elements of society such as school, church, and government.

In addition to the contributions of Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton greatly influenced the modern functionalist perspectives. He suggested that social institutions had two types of functions. The first was manifest functions which were the functions that were intended such as people becoming educated from schools. The second was latent functions which were functions that were not intended, such as people making friends from schools.

Functionalism became a popular theory in the 1940s and 1950s, but ever since, the acceptance of this theory has weakened. In fact, today most sociologists believe that functionalism is dead.

Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 7th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.
Wikipedia. Structural Functionalism. Website, 02 June 2010.


By: Brandi Blacker


Discrimination is defined as the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently. This can be prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment. It is also defined as a quality or power of finely distinguishing.

Discrimination has always been around but the timeline of documented events began in 1780 with the Revolution still raging and its outcome in doubt, the Pennsylvania legislature became the first legislature in history to take steps to abolish slavery. Early in our nation’s history, discrimination against African Americans was the order of the day. The institution of slavery accompanied early colonists. In 1941, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed an executive order (aka Fair Employment Act) that prohibited racial discrimination in the national defense industry. It was the first federal act.

History has a history and unfortunately it really hasn’t evolved. In 2007, the largest sex discrimination against a large retailer. It shows that even though we have the learned the laws and acknowledge the laws, it doesn’t abolish discrimination.

Discrimination doesn’t discriminate against sex, race, gender, or even intelligence. Whereas prejudice is an attitude, discrimination involves actions or practices of dominant-group members on members of a subordinate group. Discriminatory actions vary in severity from the use of derogatory labels to violence against individuals and groups. The ultimate form of discrimination is when people are considered to be unworthy to live because of their race or ethnicity.

Discrimination also varies in how it is carried out. Individuals may act on their own, or they may operate within a large organization. Individual discrimination consists of the one-on-one by members of the dominant group. Institutional discrimination consists of the day-to-day practices or organizations and institutions that have a harmful impact on members of subordinate groups.

Since the 1950s and 1960s, many US sociologists have analyzed the complex relationship between prejudice and discrimination. Some have concluded that prejudice is difficult to eradicate because of the deeply held racist beliefs and attitudes that are often passed on from person to person and from one generation to the next. Although progress has been made in reducing some aspects of overt prejudice and institutional discrimination, racism clearly is not a thing of the past.

Kendall, Diana. Sociology In Our Times. 7th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.

Chapter 6

By Bev Johnson


Deviance is defined as any behavior, belief, or condition that violates significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs. Deviance is relative, which means that an act only becomes deviant when society as a whole defines it as such. There are different degrees of seriousness for deviant behavior, the most serious of these degrees being criminal. A crime is defined as a behavior that violates criminal law and is punishable with fines, jail terms as well as other sanctions. A subcategory under crime is that of juvenile delinquency which is the violation of laws by young people. This subcategory is of special interest to sociologists because during the juvenile years is when people first become deviant. Societies have systematic practices that are set up to discourage deviance, such as internal controls, which take place through the socialization process, and external controls, which includes the police, the court system, and the prison system. The area of interest here for sociologists is learning how people first become deviant. Many have argued that people become deviant because they do not have access to ways of achieving the goals that society sets out for them. Sociologist Robert Merton identified five ways that people adapt to the cultural goals: 1. Conformity, 2. Innovation, 3. Ritualism, 4. Retreatism, 5. Rebellion. Expanding on this theory, Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin went so far as to suggest that for deviance to occur, people have to have access to illegitimate opportunity structures which are circumstances that provide an opportunity for people to acquire through illegitimate activities what they cannot achieve through legitimate channels. Sociologist Edwin Sutherland believed in the differential association theory which is defined as the proposition that individuals have a greater tendency to deviate from what is expected of them when they frequently associate with people who more often are deviant and do not conform. This way of thinking also argues for the labeling theory which states that deviance is a socially constructed process in which social control agencies label certain people as deviants, or criminals, and these people come to accept the label placed on them by society and begin to act accordingly. The labeling theory suggests that there are three stages in the labeling process: primary deviance, which is the initial act of breaking the rule, secondary deviance is when the labeled person accepts their deviant label and continues to act accordingly, and tertiary deviance is when the labeled person seeks to reliable their deviant, or criminal, behavior as non-deviant. In our society crime is classified into several categories including violent crime, property crime, public order crime, occupational and corporate crime, organized crime, and political crime. Many factors come into play also when discussing statistics on crime such as gender and crime, age and crime, social class and crime, and race and crime. You have to look at each factor to get an accurate statistic for crimes. One of the major questions facing society involving crime and deviance in the future is whether or not more “law and order” can solve our crime problem. Most believe that more law and order is not the solution, as it has not worked in the past. Perhaps the answer to some of the problems is a structural solution such as providing better education, better jobs, more equality and less discrimination. Many also believe that as long as racism, sexism, classism, and ageism exist in our society equal justice under the law is not possible.


Pris- Crime and Deviance Model.
Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials, Seventh Edition. Diana Kendall. @ 2010, 2007 Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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