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SOC 4520
Oct 18, 2023
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Lecture by Yvette Jean, Ph.D. Copyright © 2018 1 SOCL 4520 Personality and Society LECTURE: Deviant Identities as Interactional Accomplishments Yvette Jean, Ph.D. Checklist: 1. Lecture: Deviant Identities 2. Article: Becoming a Marihuana User 3. Podcast: Party School - Penn State "I'm Not As Think As You Drunk I Am" "A Drinking School with a Football Problem" There is no discussion-board assignment this week. I. DEVIANT IDENTITIES This course exposes you to the Symbolic Interactionist perspective, and even with the topic of crime and deviance, their perspective is unique. Many theories look at why people commit crime, but the Symbolic Interactionist perspective is less concerned with why people commit crime and more concerned with who/which actions get perceived as deviant. It's a very different way of viewing crime and deviance because it doesn't view any act, behavior or person as inherently deviant. Instead, the meaning of any given act, behavior -- or even a mark like a tattoo -- is related to its time, place, culture or the specific situation. Need an example? Think about this: You could be fined up to $100,000 and go to prison for two years for selling chewing gum in Singapore.
Lecture by Yvette Jean, Ph.D. Copyright © 2018 2 Interactionists believe that our interactions shape our definitions of deviance, and that our social interpretations of acts and events are considered a crucial part of understanding how deviance is experienced. An example that shows you this perspective in action would be the act of smoking pot/ becoming a user. In this lecture, we're going to look at the assumptions we hold and take-for-granted about deviant identities. Specifically, we will examine the identity associated with smoking weed and becoming a marijuana user. In the article " Becoming a Marihuana User ," Howard Becker interviewed fifty people about how people came to smoke marijuana for pleasure. What was his study trying to do? It was trying to take issues with conventional research findings. Conventional research is concerned with the questions: Why do people smoke weed? Most explain that the use of marihuana leans heavily on the premise that the presence of any particular kind of behavior in an individual can best be explained as a result of some trait which predisposes or motivates him to engage in that behavior. In the case of marihuana use, this trait is usually identified as psychological, as a need for fantasy and escape from psychological problems the individual cannot face. However, Becker looks at how people came to smoke weed for pleasure. Notice that this is a very different perspective. This is an Interactionist perspective because it views deviance as a natural normal part of interacting within a group. Rather than viewing something as deviant regardless of context, Interactionists see meaning as relative to time, place and situational context. Whether something gets defined as deviant could vary depending on the place, the year/era it took place, or the age or identity of the person engaging in the behavior. Deviance is something that is viewed by Interactionists as something that is constantly being negotiated. Let's look at Becker's findings to make this point more concrete.
Lecture by Yvette Jean, Ph.D. Copyright © 2018 3 þ ARTICLE : Becoming a Marihuana User Let's go through Becker's stages of becoming a marihuana user : 1. Learning the technique: Becker claims that the novice doesn't necessarily get high the first time he smokes marijuana. He may need to do it several times to induce the state. One explanation could be that he's not smoking it properly, that one would need to insure that a sufficient dosage is smoked to produce symptoms. Most users claim that it can't be smoked like tobacco, for example a novice explains: I was smoking like an ordinary cigarette. He said (veteran) "No, don't do it like that. Draw it in and hold it in your lungs for a period of time." Is there a time limit? "No, just until you feel that you want to let it out, then let it out." 2. Learning to perceive the effects: Even after learning the proper smoking technique, the novice may not get high and not come to see the drug as something that is pleasurable. The presence of the effects alone doesn't constitute the experience of being high. The person must also recognize these symptoms as being the result of smoking the drug. One person explained. "I heard little remarks that were made by other people. Somebody said, 'My legs are rubbery,' and I can't remember all the remarks that were made because I was very attentively listening for all these cues for what I was supposed to feel like."
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