Introduction to Deviance & Social Control
Sociology 325 is the major 'gateway' to and requirement for all 400-level Criminology courses. As such, its goal is to be as panoramic as possible in introducing students to the main theoretical approaches that have been used to understand aspects of deviance and social control. The course begins by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of traditional approaches, including physiognomy and phrenology, medical approaches, socio-biological theories, anomie theory, and the approaches of the Chicago School. It then moves on to more contemporary approaches, including labelling and conflict theories, critical and postmodern theories, and feminist approaches. Although the focus of the course is principally theoretical, the practical application of these perspectives will be shown using empirical examples whenever possible. These examples vary from practices conventionally and broadly considered deviant or unlawful (such as murder or cannibalism), to those which may be statistically common but still unlawful (such as tax evasion or traffic offences), to practices which may be perceived as unusual or even threatening but which violate no laws whatsoever (such as the use of flamboyant attire or forms of body modification). An in-depth and critical examination of the theoretical approaches and empirical illustrations is designed to encourage students to bring a sociological imagination to the manner in which human practices become deviantized and controlled socially according to different historical and cultural circumstances.