Course Description

Employs a critical sociological approach to deviance and social control in contemporary society. The topics to be considered include: the origins and functions of deviance in society; the institutional production and categorization of deviance; the impact of deviance on personal and social identity; deviant careers; and deviance and social change. We will consider several major theoretical perspectives on deviance within sociology, we will make use of current data on crime and current research in sociological and criminological journals and web sites, and we will examine portrayals of deviance and social control in literature, film and popular culture.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain what constitutes deviance, including behaviors, attitudes and beliefs, physical conditions, and affiliations.
  • Interpret and explain the role of cultural norms and values in establishing difference across lines of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.
  • Identify and describe theoretical explanations of the origins and effects of deviance.
  • Evaluate the utility of various theoretical perspectives in explaining the prevalence of deviance in society.
  • Contextualize social and legal responses to deviance (mental illness, criminal behavior, variant sexualities, drug abuse, delinquency, etc.) in a historical framework.
  • Define deviance and demonstrate knowledge of how deviance, social control and socialization have been defined over time and across cultures


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Jackson M., Class of 2021, Military Veteran
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