Deviance (syp3510) Summer a 2015 Course Description

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MTWRF 2 Professor Marian J. Borg

Turlington 2305 Office: 3364 Turlington Hall

Office Hrs: after class or by appt. Phone: 294-7168



Summer A 2015

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to the sociological study of deviance, including patterns associated with deviant behavior and with society's reaction to it. During the semester our discussions will address three general areas. First, we will examine how "deviance" is defined by sociologists who approach the topic from different perspectives. Next, we will review two sets of theories. The first aims to explain the causes of deviant behavior. The second focuses on understanding how deviance is created and on describing the implications of society's reaction to deviant behavior. In the last section of the course we will analyze various forms of behavior typically defined as deviant in our society.
The course should help you: 1) develop a knowledge of the major perspectives used by sociologists to study deviance; 2) acquire a more informed understanding of the patterns associated with several types of deviant behavior, including the characteristics of those who typically engage in the behavior and what their involvement means to them; and 3) become more familiar with some formal and informal ways in which society reacts to deviance and some of the implications of those responses for individuals.
Course Requirements:
Attendance: You should attend all class meetings, especially since most of the assigned reading will complement (but usually not duplicate) the issues we discuss in lecture. Whether or not you attend class, you are responsible for all material and assignments, including any that may be added or altered during the semester. Plagiarism, cheating, selling course notes, and other forms of stealing one another's work will be considered grounds for immediate course failure and referral to Student Honor Court.
Tests: There will be 3 multiple choice tests covering material from lecture AND readings. The tests are not cumulative, except to the extent that material covered later in the course builds upon that discussed earlier. There are no make-up exams, except in TRULY unusual circumstances (to be determined by me) that are discussed PRIOR TO (at least 24 hours) the exam. Students who take a make-up exam will NOT be eligible to receive any “curve” that is applied to the test for the rest of the class. Each test counts 40 points toward your final grade.
Journal Entries: The last component of your grade will consist of 3 short (approx 2 pages each) "journal entries." These entries should be of observations that you make during the course of the semester and that illustrate a topic addressed in lecture, class discussions and/or reading material. More specific directions are attached to the syllabus. Each entry counts 10 points toward your final grade, for a total of 30 points. Your journal entries are due on Monday, June 15.
Required Reading Material:

Deviant Behavior: A Text-Reader in the Sociology of Deviance, 7th edition, by Edward J. Clarke. Available at local/campus bookstores or on-line (used is fine—just make sure you get the 7th edition!).

Grading Structure:

Please note: Minus grades are an available option that instructors may choose to use. Equivalent grade point conversions are available on the Registrar’s website: .
Grade Percent Points Grade Percent Points

A 93-100% 139-150 C 70-75% 105-113

A- 90-92% 135-138 C- 68-69% 102-104

B+ 86-89% 129-134 D+ 66-67% 99-101

B 80-85% 120-128 D 60-65% 90-98

B- 78-79% 117-119 D- 58-59% 87-89

C+ 76-77% 114-116 E below 58% 86 or less

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

(reprinted from UF website, ):

"Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation."

General Course Outline
I. The Nature of Deviant Behavior

A. Sociological definitions of deviant behavior: normative and reactive

B. The social embeddedness of deviance (audience, actor, situation)

C. Strategies of Social Control

1. formal

2. medical

3. informal
II. Theories of Deviant Behavior

  1. Explaining Deviant Behavior

  1. anomie/strain

  2. general strain theory

  3. social bond/control theory

  4. differential association/social learning theory

  1. Understanding/Reacting to Deviant Behavior

  1. social reaction/labeling theory

  2. shaming theory

III. Analyzing Forms of Deviant Behavior

A. Interpersonal Deviance: Violent Behavior

B. Hedonistic Deviance: Alcohol Use

C. Consensual Deviance: Suicide

D. Global Deviance: Human Trafficking

Please note: This course DOES NOT fulfill Gordon Rule requirements.



Week 1

Introduction to the course Required Reading (from Clarke reader):

Defining and reacting to deviance #3, #6, #24, #4

Social Control Strategies

Week 2

Normative Theories of (Explaining) Deviance Required Reading: #14, #16

Anomie/General Strain Theory Suggested Reading for review: #13, #15

Social Bond/Control Theory
Week 3

Normative Theories (continued) Required Reading: #11, #12, #21, #22

Social Learning Theory Suggested Readings for review: #17

Social Reaction Theories of Deviance

Labeling Theory

Shaming Theory

Week 4

Interpersonal Deviance: Violent Behavior Required Reading: #29, #45, #34

Patterns, explanations, responses

Week 5

Hedonistic Deviance: Alcohol Use, Abuse, Addiction Required Reading: #36, #37, #42

Patterns, explanations, responses

Consensual Deviance: Suicide Required Reading: #32, #44

Patterns, explanations, responses

Week 6

Suicide continued

Global Deviance: Human Trafficking

Patterns, explanations, responses


Guidelines for Journal Entries

The purpose of your journal entries is to allow you to creatively apply a sociological perspective to observations and experiences regarding deviance in your everyday life. Deviance is an issue that affects our lives in many different ways. We are daily confronted with both fictional and non-fictional accounts of deviant behavior in various media. Sizeable proportions of our local, state and national budgets are devoted to managing certain types of deviant behavior. Tragically, some of us have been personally harmed by criminal deviance or know a friend, family member or acquaintance who has been victimized. Others have experienced the stigma of being labeled "a deviant" because of our appearance, beliefs, personal lifestyle choices, or for some other reason. Chances are you enrolled in this course not to "fulfill a requirement," but perhaps in part because deviant behavior and the process of reacting to deviance are very real issues in our everyday lives and because you wanted to develop a more thorough understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of various types of deviant behavior.

This writing opportunity is meant as a vehicle for you to merge some of the observations you make regarding deviance in your private life and the theories, explanations and general information you will learn about deviance in this course. The goal is to help you recognize the value of a sociological perspective on deviance, especially in terms of being better able to critically evaluate the way in which deviant behavior is understood, defined, reacted to and portrayed in everyday life.
1. Have one cover sheet of plain paper with your name, UF ID#, course name and semester. Please type your journal entries, and save a copy (paper and electronic) for yourself.
2. Please be sure that the product you hand in includes 3 separate journal entries related to 3 separate observations. Please begin each individual entry on a new page. Each entry should be approximately 2 pages in length. HARD COPY REQUIRED: NO COMPUTER ATTACHMENTS, PLEASE!
3. You are to record 3 specific observations of social behavior related to deviance. These should NOT be opinions you have regarding a type of deviance, or simply reflections on course notes for a particular topic. Rather, these observations could be made in the course of your interaction/conversations with other people; in reaction to a newspaper or news magazine article you read, a news story you saw on TV or one you read on the Internet; or after watching a movie, TV show or reading a fictional/non-fictional book. The observation could also be related to an experience you had, either of being reacted to as a deviant or of yourself reacting to someone/something else as deviant.
For each entry, briefly describe your observation. Then discuss how your observation relates to what you have learned in this course. For your discussion, you may use any material from lecture, class discussion, or your assigned readings. You may discuss observations that either support or contradict material learned in the course. You may apply a theory or a particular theoretical concept or hypothesis we covered regarding deviant behavior or reactions to deviance. You may discuss how a particular observation illustrates the relativity involved in defining deviance and/or the ambiguities involved in applying labels of deviance. You may discuss how an observation "fits with," or doesn't, a pattern regarding the incidence and/or social correlates of a particular type of deviance you learn about. You might discuss why you think someone (including yourself) did or did not react to a situation as if it constituted an instance of deviance. Obviously you cannot address all of these possibilities in 2 pages; these are simply suggestions for starting points in your discussion. You are free to write about anything, as long as your discussion integrates course material and is sociological in nature.
4. The assignment is due on Monday, June 15, and is worth 30 points towards your final grade (10 points for each of the observations). Points will be deducted for late assignments. You will be graded on creativity, thoroughness, and your ability to apply material from the course. Please feel free to see me during office hours if you have any questions about any part of the assignment.

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