1. What is the difference between theories that conceptualize deviance as norm violation and those that look upon deviance as a social definition? Relate these ideas to the lecture note's explanation of the three basic perspectives (absolutist, normative, and reactive: hard and soft). What are the basic assumptions of these perspectives? What problems in understanding the complex interrelationships surrounding designations of deviance do they present?
2. What is stigma? What place does this concept have in resolving the problems discussed above? What does an understanding of the difference between discredited and discreditable identities and the role of stigma in face-to-face interaction contribute to a sociological perspective of deviance? Relate to Scott's discussion in "The Socialization of the Blind in Personal Interaction."
3. Based on your readings and class discussion, what are the essential qualities that define deviance? What role, if any, do the elements of statistical rarity, intentionality, and harm play in the definition of deviance?
4. What is meant by the relativity of deviance? Depending on your perspective, to whom could the designation of deviance be applied? Is everything relative? Why or why not? Be aware of the critical elements in the relativity of deviance ( act, actor, victim, audiences, place, time, and power). What does Goode mean by the idea that deviance is a matter of degree? What does he mean by the idea that deviance is a kind of relationship between behavior (conditions) and potential reactions? (A related class discussion focused on deviance as a negotiated order.)
5. An understanding of the above questions is rooted in the core elements and the irreconcilable differences of two distinct ways of looking at the world: Essentialism (positivism) and Constructionism. Be able to distinguish these perspectives and relate their central concerns to your answers to the above questions. You should also be able to analyze the various theories of deviance and reveal their basic assumptions about human beings and social behavior based on these two types of thinking about the world.
6. What place does the study of "Nuts, Sluts and Preverts (sic)" have in the sociology of deviance? What are the problems such a focus presents? Can these difficulties be over- come?
7. How does the study of social control relate to the study of deviance? What are the different types and levels of social control that need to be considered in a discussion of deviance? Can deviance be understood as a political process? Explain. Relate to the readings in Part I of the Pontell anthology.
8. What is crime? How does crime differ from deviance? How does deviance differ from crime? What is the "division of labor" in the study of crime and deviance, i.e. what are the three "schools" of thought, their basic assumptions, and the primary focus of their study?
9. In looking at deviance as a social process, what are the central elements that need to be addressed? Focus on the difference between general categories (social deviance) and specific instances (situational deviance). Differentiate the definitional processes involved in the status of marijuana use, teenage sex and abortion. The notion of the public's ambivalence on the abortion issue is especially important in setting the stage for understanding the politicality of deviance. Why? Relate your understanding of these issues to an analysis of Pfohl's, "The Discovery of Child Abuse."
10. Differentiate and analyze the similarities between deviance and social problems. What are the different schools of thought on the objective reality of social problems and how do the issues they raise relate to the central concerns of the basic perspectives on deviance?
11. What is a theory? What are the basic elements that make a "good" theory? What is the relationship between a theory, a perspective, and a paradigm? Be able to distinguish between structural and process theories, and normative and definitional theories. The elements of causality, assumptions about the nature of individual behavior, and the relationship between the individual and the group are all critical elements in distinguishing these theories.
12. What are the essential elements of the demonic, classical, biological and psychological (be able to compare and contrast 19th and 20th century positivism) theories of deviance? What is deviance within their mode of analysis? What causes deviance? What should be done to the deviant and why? What criticisms have been directed towards these theories? Be aware of the historically situated relevance of these and all perspectives of deviance that we have discussed ( i.e., the role of the development of centralized authority, the development of the penitentiary system, and the "nature versus nurture" debate).
13. What do the concepts of determinism, deterrence, hedonistic psychology, atavism and somatotyping have to do with the explanation of deviance?
14. What is meant by Positivism? What are the essential features of a positivistic approach to an understanding of deviance? What critiques can be made of a positivistic conception of deviance?
15. Distinguish social theories of deviance from the other theories we have discussed. Are sociological theories positivistic?
16. How does Durkheim's concept of anomie relate to an understanding of deviance? What is anomie and where does it come from? How did Durkheim analyze suicide, what central "social fact" did he focus upon? What are the different social types of suicide? What recent research seems to confirm Durkheim's approach?
17.. How did Durkheim conceptualize deviance within his functional perspective. What are the functions of deviance? What is a pathological society? What are some examples of the functions of deviance?
18. Be sure to review the readings in Pontell. What is meant by the idea that deviance is a social construction? What is a moral entrepreneur? How do the motives and needs of law enforcers relate to the interests of moral entrepreneurs? How do the activities of enforcement agents relate to the escalation of deviance? What is meant by the "discovery" of child abuse? Who discovered it, why and how? How does Becker use the insights of learning theory to analyze marijuana smoking? How, in Robert Scott's view (based on the lecture notes), do the blind become a deviant group in society?