Delta State University
Sociology 101
Spring Semester 2004

Study Questions
Week 11

 PDF Download in pdf format

(1) What is meant by deviance?  Why is deviance a topic that is interesting to sociologists?

(2)  What is the relationship between norms and deviance?  What are some things that we know about norms, and what do these tell us about deviance?

(3)  Durkheim suggested that two causes of suicide are egoism and anomie.  What did he mean by egoism?  What did he mean by anomie?  Explain how these represent social causes of suicide.

(4)  Robert Merton broadened Durkheim’s definition of anomie.  How does Merton’s definition differ from Durkheim’s?  Explain how Merton’s ideas of social strain help us understand deviance.  What categories does he use to explain deviance, and what role do cultural goals and legitimate institutions play in Merton’s explanation?

(5)  Howard Becker suggests deviance is learned.  What are the stages through which people adopt deviant behavior?

(6)  What is meant by labeling?  What does it mean to say that deviance is determined by the reaction, not the act itself. 

(7)  What is meant by white collar crime?  What are some examples of white collar crime, and how does white collar crime affect the typical American?  Which do you think is more harmful, white collar crime or street crime?

(8)  What does it take to be labeled “insane” in the U.S.?  What are some of the consequences of carrying this label?  Explain how it is that people come to treat those deemed “insane” the way they do.