Deviance, Crime, and
§ Conformity and Deviance
§ Sociological Theories About Deviance
§ Mental Illness
§ The Sociology of Law
§ The Criminal Justice System
Takes place at three levels:
l Self-control, we police ourselves.
l Informal controls, our friends reward
conformity and punish nonconformity.
l Formal controls, the state or
authorities discourage nonconformity.
§ Behavior of which others disapprove to
the extent that they believe something
significant ought to be done about it.
§ It is not the act that is important but the
§ The same act may be deviant in front of
one audience but not another, deviant
in one place but not another.
§ When the parts of a society (institutions)
are not working together as they should,
people experience anomie.
§ Anomie is a major cause of suicide and
other social ills.
Differential Association Theory
§ Deviance is learned through 2
1. Interacting with others who hold
2. Adopt those norms because we get
approval from people in that deviant
Merton’s Types of Deviance
Modes of Institutional
Innovation Accepted Rejected
Ritualism Rejected Accepted
Retreatism Rejected Rejected
Three Kinds of Rewards
l Instrumental rewards (economic).
l Family ties.
§ Concerned with processes by which
labels become attached to people and
§ Those with power assign labels that
§ Labeling various kinds of deviance, with
the “sick” label is called the
medicalization of deviance.
§ Class interests dictate who shall be
defined as deviant and how severely
they shall be punished.
§ Economic conditions of the lower
classes lead to behavior defined as
§ Murder and manslaughter
§ Auto theft.
§ Do not involve a clearly defined victim.
§ Involve illegal supply and demand.
§ Examples: drug abuse, prostitution, and
Changes in Violent Crime
Changes in Property Crime
Arrest Rates by Age and Sex,
White Collar Crimes
§ Crime committed by respectable people
of high status in the course of their
§ Often unreported and difficult to detect.
§ Economic, environmental, and social
costs are far greater than all street
Correlates of Crime
§ Age. Young adults constitute the great
majority of those arrested for street
crime, both in this country and around
§ Sex. Young males are most often
arrested for virtually every category of
Correlates of Crime
§ Social class. Poverty and weak access
to jobs and education are certainly
related to crime rates.
§ Race. African-Americans are
disproportionately represented in
lineups, in prisons, and on death row.
§ Most kinds of mental disorder are more
prevalent among the lower classes.
§ Women are more often treated for
depression and anxiety disorders while
men seem more likely to fall victim to
Sociology of Law
Law has three major functions:
§ Formal sanctions to encourage
§ Assistance in settling disputes.
§ Sanctioning of social change.
§ Specific deterrence
§ General deterrence
Number of People in Prison
During 2002 (per 100,000
Strategies for Reducing Crime
l Reduce social inequality and poverty.
l Replace low-wage jobs with jobs that
pay a living wage.
l Prevent child abuse and neglect.
4. Increase the social and economic
stability of communities.
5. Improve education in all communities.