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Chapter 6: Deviance, Crime and Social Control

6.5 Test Your Knowledge

1. Deviance is defined as any violation of the norms of society, including violations of folkways, laws and mores. What are the mechanisms of social control that exist in a society to enforce the norms and prevent deviance? Give examples in your discussion.

2. Over the next few days, take some time to deviate from one of the folkways of our society (this is associated with a research method called ethnomethodology). Some examples might be to hold prolonged eye contact when walking down the hall; at your family dinner, sit in a chair that someone else usually sits in; wear mismatched clothing; sing loudly in public, etc. When you conduct your research, be sure to observe how others react to you. What actions did you take in your research and how did other people react to your deviance? Explain why you think they reacted this way and how it made you feel.

3.In this chapter, the relativity of deviance is discussed.  What does it mean when sociologists state that deviance is relative? Make sure to give an example.

4. According to Émile Durkheim, deviance is functional for society. How can this be? Explain Durkheim’s theory and provide examples of each aspect of this theory.

5. Despite the high level of social control exerted over people, deviance happens. Why do you think that some people are more prone to deviate than others? After you’ve answered this question, look through the numerous theories explaining deviance in the text and discuss the theory that most closely reflects your explanation for deviance.

6. Conventional Crime involves crimes of violence and property crimes. What are the general trends in conventional crimes? Americans significantly overestimate the amount of conventional crime that actually happens. Why do you think we do this?

7. Other types of crime, including white-collar, corporate and victimless crime, are also discussed in the text. Explain and give examples of each of these types of crime. While white-collar crime is far more costly and dangerous than conventional crime, Americans perceive conventional crime to be more harmful. Why is this?

8. The get-tough approach to criminal justice as it relates to mass incarceration is reviewed at the end of the chapter. Why and how did this approach emerge? What policies associated with the get-tough approach have resulted in mass incarceration?  Do you agree with this approach? Why or why not? What alternate policies might we pursue?


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Exploring Our Social World: The Story of Us by Jean M. Ramirez, Suzanne Latham, Rudy G. Hernandez, and Alicia Juskewycz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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