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The Relativity of Deviance

The Relativity of Deviance

Fourth Edition

April 2016 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This engaging and informative book, by award-winning sociologist and criminologist John Curra, offers a valuable perspective on attitudes and behaviors labeled as deviant.  The Relativity of Deviance, Fourth Edition, explores the meanings and constructions of social deviance and social reactions to it, he answers such questions as:

  • What is deviance?
  • What comprises deviant behavior?
  • How are deviants treated?
  • How is deviance socially constructed and socially sustained?
  • Why is the same attitude, behavior, or condition praised in one situation and condemned in another?  

Through insightful and thought-provoking examples and informed accounts, the author illustrates that deviance cannot be explained or understood in terms of absolutes or essential characteristics nor can it be explained or understood apart from its social setting. This book approaches sex, violence, theft, drugs, suicide, rape, and mental disorders in a way that shows the critical role of sociocultural factors and social reactions in constructions of deviance and crime.

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award

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Chapter 1: The Dynamic Nature of Deviance
Kids, Crocodiles, and Social Control  
Relationships and Rule Breaking  
Sociological Relativity  
The Social Construction of Reality  
Theoretical Views: The Old and the Not-So-Old  
Relativity and Social Deviance  
Whose Side Are We On?  
Chapter 2: Being Deviant
The Original Blue Man (and Woman) Group  
Being and Doing  
Deviance and Responsibility  
The Social Construction of Spoiled Identities  
Managing Stigma  
Chapter 3: Power, Social Networks, and Organizational Deviance
Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely  
The Carrier's Case: Other People's Belongings and the Crime of Theft  
White-Collar Crime and Elite Deviance  
The Relativity of Terrorism  
Privilege, Power, and Penalties  
Chapter 4: Mental Disorders
Medicalization on 34th Street  
The Medicalization Process  
Manufacturing Madness  
The Myth of Mental Illness  
Mental Health Buccaneers and Social Control  
Sense and Nonsense in the Psychiatric Enterprise  
Meltdown in the DSM  
Chapter 5: Predatory Violence
The Social Construction of Murder and Violence  
Arbitrary Meanings  
Patterned Violence  
Vocabularies of Motive and Interpersonal Accounts  
The Curious Case of Jack the Ripper  
Variable Violence  
Chapter 6: Sexual Violence
Defining Rape  
The Symbolic Organization of Sexual Violence  
Rape and Social Conflict  
Rape Scenes  
Normalizing Sexual Violence  
The Rape of Males  
Chapter 7: Suicide
Social Frames and Definitions of the Situation  
The Meanings of Suicide  
The Curious Case of Autoerotic Asphyxiation  
Sociocultural Variations in Suicide: Motive, Intent, and Interpretation  
Suicide, Stigma, and Responsibility  
Chapter 8: Sexual Diversity
Sex, Gender, and Sexuality  
Sexuality: A Sociocultural Understanding  
The Curious Case of the Berdache  
Sexual Differentiation and Sexual Asymmetry  
The Myth of the Universal Turn-On  
Sexual Politics and the Transformation of Intimacy  
Deviantizing Sexual Matters  
Chapter 9: Drugs and Drug Taking
The Social Reality of Drug Use  
Getting Stoned in the Animal Kingdom  
Addiction: Imprecise Definitions and Arbitrary Meanings  
The Social Dynamics of Human Drug-Taking Experiences  
Moral Entrepreneurs and Drug Crusades  
About the Author

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 5

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ISBN: 9781483377346