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SOC 101 Wednesday March 24 Lecture Outline Chapter 7 Deviance and Crime continued Sections 7 2a to 7 4 I The Functionalist Perspective on Deviance and Social Control continued Merton s Strain Theory Robert Merton He traces the origins of deviance to the tensions caused by the gap between cultural goals and the means people have available to achieve those goals Strain theory analyzes what happens when people are socialized into accepting cultural goals and the legitimate means to achieve them but then chose to either reject the goals or the means as a way of dealing with the strain of trying to achieve their goals People who experience such strain are likely to feel anomie a sense of normlessness Because they don t seem to be getting anywhere following mainstream norms they find it difficult to identify with those norms Merton identified five responses people have to society s attempt to motivate them to strive for success The first and most common response is conformity The remaining four responses are deviant representing people s reactions to anomie A Innovation B Ritualism C Retreatism D Rebellion 1 Illegitimate Opportunity Structures Social Class and Crime Developed by Cloward and Ohlin This theory holds that different social classes embark on different forms of deviance depending on their different opportunity structures Forms of deviance are an outcome of individual decisions and the available opportunities to act illegitimately To achieve the cultural goal of success many poor people turn to robbery burglary drug dealing prostitution pimping gambling and or hustling The more privileged social classes also commit crimes but take advantage of different illegitimate opportunities such as income tax evasion bribery fraud and embezzlement white collar crimes crimes that people of respectable and high social status commit in the course of their occupations Since crimes committed by poor people generally receive more publicity because of the associated violence the public is more aware that poor people are more prone to 2 violent crime Meanwhile white collar crime is far costlier in terms of dollars than street crime and although not intentionally as is the case in street crime can also physically harm or kill people II The Conflict Perspective on Deviance and Social Control Conflict theorists note that power plays a central role in defining and punishing deviance as the group in power uses the law and criminal justice system to maintain its power and privilege over other groups Conflict theorists contend that the law may work as an instrument of oppression a tool designed to keep the powerful in privileged positions Elite deviance refers to the wrongdoing of wealthy and powerful individuals and organizations White collar crime wealthy elite will always exploit the poor and working class Instead of dealing with the owners of corporations who harm the masses through various corporate crimes the law generally directs most of its energies against violations committed by the working class A great deal of energy and money is spent on the social control and regulation of the poor 3

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UB SOC 101 - Chapter 7: Deviance and Crime, continued

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