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Sociology in our times 9th edition Diana Kendall


according to sociologist and criminologist: an ongoing group of people often young, who band together for purposes generally considered to be deviant or criminal by the larger society


* any behavior, belief, condition that violates social norms in the society or group in which it occurs
EX: drinking too much, robbing a bank, laughing at a funeral
* Modes of action that do no conform to the norms or values held by most members of a group or society. What is regarded as deviant is as variable as the norms and values that distinguish different cultures and subcultures from one another. Forms of behavior that are highly esteemed by one group are regarded negatively by others
* varies in degree of seriousness

Deviance in Society

* can vary from culture to culture
* can vary from time to time within the same culture
* through social change, what was once deviant can become the "norm"

behavioral deviance

based on a person's intentional or inadvertent actions
* most familiar

belief system

the basis for a set of beliefs
* many people may be regarded as a deviant if they express a radical or unusual belief system (not just regarded as a type of behavior)


Refers to any physical or social attribute or sign that so devalues a person's social identity that it disqualifies the person from full social acceptance.

Deviant is Relative

Refers to an act becomes deviant when it is socially defined as such.


Refers to a behavior that violates criminal law and is punishable with fine, jail terms, and/or other negative sanctions.
* A violation of a norm that has been entered into the law and is backed by the power and authority of the state
* Any action that contravenes the laws established by a political authority. Although we may think of criminals as a distinct subsection of the population, there are few people who have not broken the law in one way or another during their lives. While laws are formulated by state authorities, it is not unknown for those authorities to engage in criminal behavior in certain situaitons

Juvenile Delinquency

Refers to a violation of law or the commission of a status offense by young people.

Social Control

Refers to the systematic practices that social groups develop in order to encourage conformity to norms, rules, and laws and to discourage deviance.
* Society's effort to regulate itself; those mechanisms by which social norms are upheld and by which their actual or potential violation is restrained

internal social control

Type of social control mechanism that takes place through socialization process where societal norms and values that prescribe how people should behave and then follow those norms and values in their everyday lives.

External Social Control

Type of social control mechanism that involves the use of negative sanctions that proscribe certain behaviors and set forth the punishments for rule breakers and nonconformists; like the criminal justice system, which includes the police, the courts, and the prisons.


Refers to the systematic study of crime and the criminal justice systme, including the police, courts, and prisons.

Deviance (the cause according to Emile Durkheim)

Durkheim believed that deviance is rooted in societal factors such as rapid social change and lack of social integration among people


Refers to a social condition in which people experience a sense of futility because social norms are weak, absent, or conflicting.
* A concept first brought into wide usage in sociology by Durkheim, referring to a situation in which social norms lose their hold over individual behavior

social integration

bonding and community involvement
* Durkheim believed that as social integration decreased, deviance and crime increased

contemporary functionalist theorist

suggest that deviance is universal because it serves three important functions:
1. deviance clarifies rules
2. deviance unites a group
3. deviance promotes social change

Functionalist Perspective on deviance

clarifies rules, unites a group, and promotes social change

Strain Theory

According to this theory, people feel strain when they are exposed to cultural goals that they are unable to obtain because they do not have access to culturally approved means of achieving goals.
* Robert Merton modified Durkheim's concept of anomie and developed the strain theory

Merton's Strain Theory of Deviance (mode of adaptation)

Merton identified five ways in which people adapt to cultural goals and approved ways of achieving them:
Conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, rebellion


It occurs when people accept culturally approved goals and pursue them through culturally approved means. (Merton)


It happens when people accept culturally approved goals; adopts disapproved means of achieving them. (Merton)


It occurs when people abandon/give up on societal goals but still adhere to the socially approved means of achieving them. (Merton)


It occurs when people abandon both approved goals and the approved means of achieving them. (Merton)


It occurs when people challenge both the approved goals and the approved means for achieving them and advocate an alternative set of goals or means. (Merton)

Opportunity Theory

Expanding on Merton's strain theory, sociologist Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin suggested that for deviance to occur, people must have access to illegitimate opportunity structures.

Illegitimate Opportunity Structures

Circumstances that provide an opportunity for people to acquire through illegitimate activities what they cannot achieve through legitimate channels.

Criminal Gang

They are devoted to theft, extortion, and other illegal means of securing an income.

Conflict Gang

They emerge in communities that do not provide either legitimate or illegitimate opportunities.

Retreatist Gang

They are unable to gain success through legitimate means and are unwilling to do so through illegal ones.

Conflict Perspective on deviance

Power is central, marxist/critical theory, feminist perspectives and the confluence of race, class and gender

Deviance and Power Relations

According to this approach, norms and laws are established for the benefit of those in power and do not reflect any absolute standard of right and wrong.

Deviance and Capitalism

It is based on the assumption that the laws and the criminal justice system protect the power and the privilege of the capitalist class.

Emancipation Feminist Approaches

Freda Adler and Rita James Simon's declared in two books that women's crime rates were going to increase significantly as a result of the women's liberation movement.

Liberal Feminist Approach

According to this approach, women's deviance and crime are a rational response to the gender descrimination that women experience in families and the workplace.

Radical Feminist Approach

This approach views the cause of women's crime as originating in patriarchy. It focuses on social forces that shape women's lives and experience and shows how exploitation may trigger deviant behavior and criminal activities.

Marxist (socialist) Feminist Approach

This approach is based on the assumption that women are exploited by both capitalism and patriarchy because most females have relatively low-wage jobs and few economic resources.

Differential Association Theory

States that people have a greater tendency to deviate from societal norms when frequently associate with individuals who are more favorable toward deviance than conformity.

Diferential Reinforcement Theory

States that both deviant behavior and conventional behavior are learned through the same social process.

Control Theory

A theory that views crime as the outcome of an imbalance between impulses toward criminal activity and controls that deter it. Control theorists hold that criminals are rational beings who will act to maximize their own reward unless they are rendered unable to do so through either social or physical controls
* According to the sociologist Walter Reckless, society produces pushes and pulls that move people towards criminal behavior.

Inner Containments

(Control Theory) Refers to self control, sense of responsibilities, and resistance to diversion.

Outer Containments

(Control Theory) Refers to supportive family and friends, reasonable social expectations, and supervision by others.

Social Bond Theory

Holds that the probability of deviant behavior increases when a person's ties to society are weakened or broken.

Social Bond (according to Hirschi)

consist of: 1) attachment to other people, 2) commitment to conformity, 3) involvement in conventional activities, and 4) belief in the legitimacy of conventional values and norms.

Labeling Theory

States that deviance is a socially constructed process in which social control agencies designate certain people as deviants, and they, in turn, come to accept the label placed upon them and begin to act accordingly.
* The theory that people come to acquire a deviant social identity and pursue a deviant lifestyle because others have labeled them deviant and cut them off from the social mainstream

moral entrepeneurs

(according to Howard Becker) often the ones who create the rules about what constitutes deviant or conventional behavior

Primary Deviance

Stage in labeling theory which refers to initial act of breaking the rules.

Secondary Deviance

Stage in labeling theory which occurs when a person who has been labeled a deviant accepts that the new identity and continues the deviant behavior.

Tertiary Deviance

Stage in labeling theory which occurs when a person who has been labeled a deviant seeks to normalize the behavior by relabeling it as nondeviant.

post modern perspective on deviance

(knowledge is power) powerful exert control over the powerless by taking away free will to think and act, as they might choose


A structure that gives prison officials the possibility of complete observation of criminals at all times.


Refers to a serious crime such as rape, homicide, or aggravated assault, for which punishment typically ranges from more than a year's imprisonment to death.


Refers to minor crime that is typically punished by less than one year in jail.

Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)

Major source of information on crimes reported in the United States.
* Documents that contain official data on crime that is reported to law enforcement agencies who then provide the data to the FBI

Violent Crime

Crimes that consists of actions like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault involving force or the threat of force against others.

Property Crime

Crimes that includes burglary (breaking into private property to commit a serious crime), motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft (theft of property worth $50 or more, and arson.

Public Order Crime

Crimes that involves an illegal action voluntarily engaged in by the participants, such as prostitution, illegal gambling, the private use of illegal crimes, and illegal pornography.

Victimless Crimes

Crimes that involve a willing exchange of illegal goods or service among adults.

Occupational Crime

Crime that comprises illegal activities commited by people in the course of their employment or financial affairs.

Corporate Crime

Illegal acts committed by corporate employees on behalf of the corporation and with its support.

Organized Crime

Business operation that supplies illegal goods and services for profit.

Political Crime

Refers to the illegal or unethical acts involving the usurpation of power by government officials, or illegal/unethical acts perpetrated against the government by outsiders seeking to make a political statement, undermine the government, or overthrow it


Refers to the calculated, unlawful use of physical force or threats of violence against persons or property in order to intimidate or coerce a government, organization, or individual for the purpose of gaining some political, religious, economic, or social objective.

Criminal Justice System

the local, state, and federal agencies that enforce laws, adjudicate crimes, and treat and rehabilitate criminals
* is made up of many bureaucracies that have considered discretion in how decisions are made.


refers to the use of personal judgment by police officers, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice system officials regarding whether and how to proceed in a given situation

racial profiling

the use of ethnic or racial background as a means of identifying criminal suspects

sworn officers

those who have taken an oath and been given the powers to make arrests and use necessary force in accordance with their duties

community-oriented policing

an approach to law enforcement in which officers maintain a presence in the community, walking up and down the streets or riding bicycles, getting to know people, and holding public service meetings at schools, churches and other neighborhood settings.
* often limited by budget constraints and the lack of available personnel to conduct this type of "hands on" community involvement.

structured sentencing (aka determinate or mandatory sentencing)

sets the term of imprisonment at a fixed period of time for specific offense
* are established by law and require that a person convicted of a specific offense or series of offenses be given a penalty within a field range

parens patriae (state as parent)

doctrine where official purpose of juvenile courts has been to care for, rather than punish youthful offenders.
* in theory, less weight is given to offenses and more weight to the youths physical, mental, or social conditions


any action designed to deprive a person of things of value (including liberty) because of some offense the person is thought to have committed

punishment (four major goals)

retribution, general deterrence, incapacitation & rehabilitation


(one of four major goals of punishment)
is punishment that a person receives for infringing on the rights of others
* imposes a penalty on the offender and is based on the premise that the punishment should fit the crime

general deterrence

(one of four major goals of punishment)
seeks to reduce criminal activity by instilling a fear of punishment in the general public

specific deterrence

inflicts punishment on specific criminals to discourage them from committing future crimes


previous offenders who commit new crimes


(one of four major goals of punishment)
based on the assumption that offenders who are detained in prison or are executed will be unable to commit additional crimes
* this approach often expressed as "lock'em up and throw away the key"

selective incapacitation

which means that offenders who repeat certain kinds of crimes are sentenced to long prison terms


(one of four major goals of punishment)
seeks to return offenders to the community as law-abiding citizens by providing therapy or vocational or educational training.
* offenders are treated not punished, so that they will not continue their criminal activity


designed to repair the damage done to the victim and the community by a offenders criminal act

restorative justice perspective

which states that the criminal justice system should promote a peaceful and just society; therefore, the system should focus on peacemaking rather than on punishing offenders


instead up the term punishment, this term is often used and refers not only to prisons and jails but also to a number of programs and organizations that manage individuals who have been either accused or convicted of crimes


Occurs when people accept society's goals but adopt disapproved means for achieving them.

Corporate Crimes

Illegal activity committed on behalf of a formal organization

Differential Association

The process by which individuals are socialized into the patterns of behavior that prevail in a particular group w/ which they associate the most

Formal Sanctions

Official pressure to conform to social norms and values specifically enforced by organizations such as police departments, courts, and prisons

Informal Sanctions

Unofficial pressures to conform including disapproval, ridicule, and the threat of ostracism


Pursuing culturally approved goals by deviant means (Merton)

Organized Crime

A continuing conspiracy operating for profit and power and seeking immunity from the law through fear or corruption; specializes in providing illegal good/services

Plea Bargaining

The process in which a district attorney offers to reduce charges if a suspect will plead guilty and relinquish the right to a trial

Primary Deviance

The initial violation of a social norm, about which no inferences are made regarding the motives or the character of the person who committed the act


Rewards for conforming to a social norm or penalties for violating it

Secondary Deviance

A pattern by which people come to define themselves as deviants and undertake life patterns as a reaction to their being labeled deviants by others

Victimless Crimes

Crimes that lack victims, except perhaps the people who commit them

Violent Crimes

Crimes such as murder, assult, and rape that involve an act of physical violence against the victim

White-Collar Crime

Crime committed by high-status individuals in the course of their occupations


Rules of conduct that specify appropriate behavior in a give range of social situations. A norm either prescribes a given type of behavior or forbids it. All human groups follow definite norms, which are always backed by sanctions of one kind or another-varying from informal disapproval to physical punishment

Deviant Subculture

A subculture whose members hold values that differ substantially from those of the majority


A mode of reward or punishment that reinforces socially expected forms of behavior


A rule of behavior established by a political authority and backed by state power


A specific personality type, such individuals lack the moral sense and concern for others held by most normal people

Differential Association

An interpretation of the development of criminal behavior proposed by Edwin H. Sutherland, according to whom criminal behavior is learned through association with others who regularly engage in crime

New Criminology

A branch of criminological thought, prominent in Great Britain in the 1970s, that regarded deviance as deliberately chosen and often political in nature. The new criminologists argued that crime and deviance could be understood only in the context of power and inequality within society

Primary Deviance

According to Edwin Lemert, the actions that cause others to label one as deviant

Secondary Deviance

According to Edwin Lemert, following the act of primary deviance ______ occurs when an individual accepts the label of deviant and acts accordingly

White-Collar Crime

Criminal activities carried out by those in white-collar, or professional, jobs

Corporate Crime

Offenses committed b large corporations in society. Examples include pollution, false advertising, and violations of health and safety regulations

Organized Crime

Criminal activities carried out by organizations established as businesses

Community Policing

A renewed emphasis on crime prevention rather than law enforcement to reintegrate policing within the community

Target Hardening

Practical measures used to limit a criminal's ability to commit crime, such as community policing and use of house alarms


A way of punishing criminal and deviant behavior based on rituals of public disapproval rather than incarceration. The goal of _____ is to maintain the ties of the offender to the community

Crimes committed by a person in top positions in business have a _______ economic cost, especially for tax payers, than street crime. (greater, lower)


Gangs are frequently thought of as a ________ problem because gangs organized around drug dealing have become prominent (urban/ rural)


Relativity of Deviance

an act becomes deviant when it is socially defined as such by a place, time, personal consequence

Positivists view on deviance

real, observable object and determined behavior

constructionists view on deviance

a label, defined as such at a given time and place, subjective experience, and voluntary act

marxist/ critical conflict theory

emphasizes relationship between deviance and capitalism

symbolic interactionist perspective on deviance

differential association theory, burgess and akers, rational choice theory, hirschos social control theory, labeling theory,

SI differential association theory

deviance is learned through face to face interaction

SI burgess and akers

differential re-enforcement and includes operant conditioning

SI rational choice theory

when a person weighs the cost and benefits of nonconventional behavior

Hurschi's sociol contron/ bonding theory

four bonds of attachment, commitment, involvement and belief an individual my have to society


a year or longer punishment

primary deviance

initial rule breaking

secondary deviance

new identity accepted, deviance continues

tertiary deviance

individual relabels behavior as nondeviant


less than a year of punishment

conventional (street) crime

violent crime, property crime, public order crime

violent crime

murder, rape, robe eery and aggravated assault

property crime

burgulary, motor vehicle theft, larceny theft and arson

occupational (white-collar) crime

illegal activities committed in the course of a persons employment or financial affairs

organized crime

business operation that supplies illegal goods and services for profit

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