Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
Read this chapter for a review of deviance, crime, and social control. As you read each section, consider the following topics:
- Read this section for an introduction to deviance and social control. What do you think about the experiences of the two students discussed in the chapter? Do you agree with the school's ruling about the dress code? Why or why not?
- Take note of the definition of deviance and how social control is enforced through types of sanctions (Table 1). Can you think of times when you have been affected by sanctions?
- Take note of the various theoretical perspectives typically used in sociology to describe or explain deviant behavior. Focusing on labeling theory and secondary deviance, can you think of a time in your life when a label assigned to you may have affected your behavior?
- Take note of the various theoretical perspectives explaining deviance in society. Take note of the examples accompanying each theoretical model.
Introduction to Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
Figure 7.1 Washington is one of several states where marijuana use has been legalized, decriminalized, or approved for medical use.
- Deviance and Control
- Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance
- Crime and the Law
Twenty-three states in the United States have passed measures legalizing marijuana in some form; the majority of these states approve only medical use of marijuana, but fourteen states have decriminalized marijuana use, and four states approve recreational use as well. Washington state legalized recreational use in 2012, and in the 2014 midterm elections, voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC supported ballot measures to allow recreational use in their states as well. Florida's 2014 medical marijuana proposal fell just short of the 60 percent needed to pass.
The Pew Research Center found that a majority of people in the United States (52 percent) now favor legalizing marijuana. This 2013 finding was the first time that a majority of survey respondents supported making marijuana legal. A question about marijuana's legal status was first asked in a 1969 Gallup poll, and only 12 percent of U.S. adults favored legalization at that time. Pew also found that 76 percent of those surveyed currently do not favor jail time for individuals convicted of minor possession of marijuana.
Even though many people favor legalization, 45 percent do not agree. Legalization of marijuana in any form remains controversial and is actively opposed; Citizen's Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) is one of the largest political action committees (PACs) working to prevent or repeal legalization measures. As in many aspects of sociology, there are no absolute answers about deviance. What people agree is deviant differs in various societies and subcultures, and it may change over time.
Tattoos, vegan lifestyles, single parenthood, breast implants, and even jogging were once considered deviant but are now widely accepted. The change process usually takes some time and may be accompanied by significant disagreement, especially for social norms that are viewed as essential. For example, divorce affects the social institution of family, and so divorce carried a deviant and stigmatized status at one time. Marijuana use was once seen as deviant and criminal, but U.S. social norms on this issue are changing.
Source: Heather Griffiths and Nathan Keirns for OpenStax, https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-2e/pages/7-introduction-to-deviance-crime-and-social-control
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.