Delta State University
Sociology 101
Spring Semester 2003

Study Questions
Henslin Text, Chapter 6

(1)  Provide a sociological definition for the term deviance.  Does deviance imply that something is bad?  Explain.

(2)  Howard Becker noted that “it is not the act itself, but the reactions that make something deviant.”  Explain this statement and provide an example drawing upon Chagnon’s studies of the Yanomamo tribe.

(3)  How do the biological, psychological and sociological explanations of deviance differ?  Provide an example of each that illustrates the difference.

(4)  Describe each of the following theories.  For each, identify the role that socialization and choice play in the theory.

(5)  What can we learn about symbolic interaction theory from differential association theory, control theory and labeling theory?

(6)  How do functionalist and conflict approaches to deviance differ?  In your response, include (a) a summary of each theory; (b) important concepts in each theory; and (c) an example of how each theory explains deviance.

(7)  Explain three ways that deviance can be considered functional.

(8)  According to Robert Merton’s theory, what differentiates innovators, ritualists, retreatists and rebels?  Explain.

(9)  Explain the conflict position on deviance.  According to the conflict theory, who is most likely to be considered deviant and punished?  Why?

(10)  What is the purpose of the law in society?  How is the law functional?  How is the law an instrument of oppression?