Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The Sociology of Deviance

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION From Durkheim, to Merton, A.K. Cohen, Howard Becker and several contemporary social theorists, the sociological study of deviance has been pivotal to sociology since the discipline's inception and has helped to widen our understanding of society and social evolution, specifically in relation to how norm violation disrupts the social order and can act as a potent catalyst for social change. This study-unit shall offer participants the opportunity to engage critically with the theories on deviance promulgated by different schools of sociological thought and to examine the plethora of concepts that assist the understanding of the social forces at play in the creation and the reaction to deviance. Social processes related to deviance such as otherness and moral entrepreneurship will also be examined. To this effect emphasis will be made on anomie theory, means-end (or social strain) theory, the cultural deviance perspective and subculture theory, social control and social bond theory, conflict theory and labelling theory. Reference to various case studies related to the subject matter from both the local and international scenario will be will be made to concretize the course content in contemporary social reality and to assist students to apply sociological abstraction to the understanding of their surrounding social milieu.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to build course participants' understanding of the centrality of the concept of social deviance in sociology and to reflect critically on related social processes such as stigmatization, otherness and moral entrepreneurship. This study-unit also aims at fostering the requisite sociological imagination for course participants to challenge stereotypes that often pervade and dominate debate on the subject matter.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- effectively appraise and understand the interplay between society and deviance and the concept's centrality to sociology;
- trace the origins of the concept of social deviance in classic sociology and its impact on contemporary schools of sociological thought;
- go beyond commonsense understandings of social deviance and to reflect upon it from a sociological perspective;
- recognise the importance of empirical sociological research to build a better understanding of social deviance.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- sociologically reflect upon and critically engage with the subject matter;
- develop sensitivity to the different and often contrasting schools of sociological thought that have contributed to our understanding of social deviance;
- apply course material to the local and wider international social context;
- deconstruct a priori stereotypical and problematizing representations of social deviance.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Becker, H.S. 1991. Outsiders: Studies in the sociology of deviance. First Published 1963. New York: The Free Press.
- Bell, A. 2010. The Subculture Concept: A Genealogy. Pp. 153-184 in G.S. Shoham, P.Knepper & M. Kett (eds.) International Handbook of Criminology. New York, CRC Press.
- Downes, D. & P. Rock. 2011. Understanding Deviance. Oxford: Oxford Univ.Press.
- Durkheim, E. 2006. Suicide: A Study in Sociology. First published 1897. London: Routledge.
- Gelder, K. 2005. The Subcultures Reader. London: Routledge. First published 1997; K. Gelder & S. Thornton (eds.)
- Matza, D. 1992. Delinquency and Drift. First published 1964. New Brunswick, USA: Transaction Publishers.
- Muggleton, D., & R. Weinzierl. (eds.). 2003. The Post-subcultures Reader. Oxford: Berg.
- Pfohl, S. 2009. Images of Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological History. Long Grove, IL:Waveland.
- Weis, J.G. 2004. The Sociology of Deviance. Mason, OH: Thomson Custom Publishing.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Albert Bell

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.