This module, concerned with the complex relationship between deviance and social order, covers a range of theoretical and substantive areas. It considers the implications of variation and change in definitions of, and attitudes toward, deviant behaviour. As such, it complements sociological analysis with legal, criminological, psychological and economic perspectives in order to consider crime and deviance as a practical, as well as theoretical, ‘problem’.
The module aims to expose students to the range of perspectives brought to bear on the problems of deviation, order and social control, with special reference to the case of criminal offending. It covers:
1. The concept of deviance: Consensus and conflict theories of order. The functions of deviance. The emergence of law. Political and economic interests and the law. Official statistics and the dark figure of crime. Self-report surveys, victimology and sexism. Class and race bias.
2. The theories of deviance: Biological and psychological determinism. Social ecology. Anomie, strain and differential association. Subcultural theory. Interactionism and labelling theory. The ‘New Criminology’ and ‘left realism’.
3. The patterns of deviance: Women and crime. Substance abuse. Violent crime. White collar and professional crime. Organized crime. Sexual deviance.
4. The control of deviance: Professional and occupational groups in social control and criminal justice. The police. Probation officers and social workers: Care and control. Deviancy amplification; the mass media and crime. The courts; sentencing patterns and variations. Plea-bargaining and negotiated justice. Punishment; prison and the alternatives.
Each lecture is matched by a seminar in the form of class exercises, discussions or student papers.