Sociology Unit 3- Beliefs in Society & Unit 4- Crime and Deviance

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Action Theories
Individuals have their own free will and choice, and the power to create society through their actions and interactions, rather than being shaped by society.
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Where an individual or group feels socially isolated and estranged because they lack the power to control their lives and realise their true potential.
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Normlessness. Durkheim argues that anomie arises when there is rapid social change, because existing norms become unclear or outdated, and that this is a cause of suicide.
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Abstinence. One of the Calvinist beliefs.
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Ruling/Upper class. The capitalist class that own the means of production.
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Civil religion
A belief system that attaches sacred qualities to society itself and makes the nation-state the object of religious or quasi-religious worship.
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Collective Conscience
Shared norms, values, beliefs and knowledge that make social life and cooperation between individuals possible.
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Critical Criminology
Neo-Marxist approach that combines ideas from traditional Marxism and labelling theory to explain crime in capitalist society.
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Loose-knit and usually small religious groups of individuals with similar interests. They lack a sharply defined belief system and are tolerant of other beliefs.
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Cultural defence
Where religion provides a focal point for the defence of national, ethnic, local or other group identity in a struggle against an external force such as the hostile foreign power.
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Cultural transition
The process of moving from one culture to another.
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Religious organisations that lie midway between churches adn sects, e.g. Methodism
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Dependency culture
Where people assume that the state will support them, rather than relying on their own efforts and taking responsibility for their families.
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The idea that humans do not have free will and that their behaviour is shaped by external factors such as the social structure.
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Behaviour that does not conform to the norms of a society.
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Deviance amplification spiral
The process whereby attempts to control deviance actually produce an increase in deviance, leding to greater attempts at control and still higher levels of deviance.
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Disciplinary power
The typical form of control in modern society. It is based on self-surveillance and self-discipline as a means of inducing conformity.
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A set of ideas tht have become established as knowledge or a way of thinking and speaking about the world.
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The process whereby magical and religious ways of thinking that are replaced by a rational mode of thought.
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Dramaturgical model
Interaactionist approch that uses analogies with drama as a frameowrk for analysing social interaction
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Understanding how one feels, thinks or acts by putting yourself in their shoes.
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Environmental crime prevention
Crime reduction strategy which sees serious crime as arising out of disorder and advocates 'cracking down' on all forms of neighbourhood decline through a twofold strategy of environmental improvement and zero tolerance.
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An interpretivist approach which rejects the idea that of an external social structure and sees society as a social construct.
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Existential Security Theory
The feeling that survival is secure enough that it can be taken for granted. Theory is based on the view that religion arises where people lack economic security.
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Defining characteristic of scientific knowledge which consists of statements that can in principle be falsified by experiment or observation.
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Type of industrial production based on a detailed division of labour, using closely supervised, low skilled workers and assembly line technology to mass produce standardised goods.
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Functional Alternatives
Institutions that perform the same function as another institution.
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Religion based on an unquestioning belief in the literal truth of a sacred text.
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Idea that the world is becoming increasingly interconnected and that barriers are disappearing.
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Green crimes
Crimes against the environment and the human and non-human animals within it.
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Concept developed to explain how the ruling class holds the ideological and moral leadership of society.
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Set of beliefs that serve the interests of a dominant group by justifying their privilidged position.
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Idea that the individual is more important than the group or community.
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The shift from an agricultural economy to one bsed on factory production.
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Perspective focusing on small scale interctions between individuals and groups, rather than on the large scale workings of society.
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Term covering a range of approaches including social action theory, symbolic interactionism, phenomenology and ethnomethodology.
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Knowledge claim
Claim made by a belief system to know about the world, what it is like and sometimes how it ought to be and how we ought to act.
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Left Realism
Reformist socialists who see relative deprivation and the marginalisation of the poor as producing criminal subcultures whose members victimise other poor people.
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Justifying something by making it seem fair and natural.
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Theories that focus on small-scale, face-to-face interaction, e.g. between teacher and pupils in a classroom.
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Neutralisation Techniques
Used by delinquests to justify their deviant behaviour.
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New Religious Movements (NRM's)
Wallis distinguishes between 3 types of NRM depending on whether their attitudes to wider society are world-rejecting, world-accomodating & world-accepting.
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Open & Closed Belief Systems
CBS make knowledge clims that cannot be disaproved. OBS make knowledge claims that are open to criticism and can in principle be falsified by testing.
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Shared by members of a scientific community. It defines for them what 'normal science' is, providing them with a shared framework of basic assumptions within which to work.
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Interpretivist approach that argues that we make sense of the world through shared concepts or categories called 'typifications'.
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Pluralistic society is one with many differnt cultures, religions or political parties.
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Process that results in the creation of two opposite extremes.
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Belief that society is made up of 'social facts' that can be studies scientifically to discover laws of cause and effect.
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A type of industrial production.
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Separation of an aspect of social life from the rest of society or the loss of its public role.
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Criminologista argue that punishment performs various functions. These include deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation.
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Process by which rational and scientific ways of thinking and acting gradually replace magico-religious ones.
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View that science deals with unobservable underlying structures.
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Used by Giddens to describe the situation in late or high modern society where tradition and custom no longer guide our actions.
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The view that knowledge claims are not absolutely true or false, but merely true for those who believe them.
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Religious Market Theory
Comares religious organisationg with businesses competing for customers.
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Right Realism
Conservatives who favour a tougher approach to crime. They reject as impractical, strategies that seek to tackle possible underlying causes of crime. They see crime as a rational choice.
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Risk Society
Risks that we are now facing humankind are increasingly human-made or manufactured risks, rather than the risks posed by nature such as famine, drought and plague to which humans were traditionally exposed.
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Small, exclusive religious groups that expect stong commitment from their members. Sects vary considerably in terms of organisations and aims.
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Radical feminist idea that women should organise to live independently of men as the only way to free themselves from patriarchal oppression.
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Situational Crime Prevention
Strategy for reducing opportunities for crime. It aims to manage the immediate environment of specific crimes so as to increase the efforts and risks, and reduce the rewards of committing crime.
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Spiritual Shopping
Seen by some as a new patterns of religious participation where there is a spiritual market in which individual consumers 'pick & mix' from different religious and spiritual beliefs, practices & institutions.
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State Crimes
Crimes committed by or on behalf of or with the complicity of governments or state agencis such as the police, armed forces or secret services.
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A simplified, one-sided and often negative image of a group or individual which assumes that all members of that group share the same characteristics.
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Negative label or mark of disapproval.
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Value Freedom
Idea that values can and should be kept out of research.
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Study of victims.
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Victim Surveys
Ask individuals to say what crimes they have been victims of (usually during the past 12 months).
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Idea that humans have free will and can exercise choice in how they act, rather than their behaviour being determined or shaped by external forces such as the social structure.
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'The study of harms'. In criminology, it is concerned with why some harms come to be defined as crimes while others do not, even when they cause more damage.
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Card 2


Where an individual or group feels socially isolated and estranged because they lack the power to control their lives and realise their true potential.



Card 3


Normlessness. Durkheim argues that anomie arises when there is rapid social change, because existing norms become unclear or outdated, and that this is a cause of suicide.


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Card 4


Abstinence. One of the Calvinist beliefs.


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Card 5


Ruling/Upper class. The capitalist class that own the means of production.


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