Sociology of Deviance

Crime is the cover story the state uses to crack down on threats to the social and political order. The battleground may be in the streets or in prisons like Abu Ghraib, it is about who gets to command the common sense. As the philosophers Dead Prez sang, “But the reality is, The police become necessary in human society, Only at that junction in human society, Where it is split between those who have and those who ain’t got”. In this course, you will acquire familiarity with the major theoretical approaches in sociology to deviance derived from Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Jeremy Bentham, Max Weber, Erving Goffman, and Michel Foucault. You will see how imprisonment emerged as the preeminent form of punishment in modern society. The post-civil rights turn to hyperincarceration makes USA an exceptional case among other developed liberal democracies. We will examine the social causes, functions, and consequences of this punitive turn in the United States by looking at deviance historically and comparatively. Overall the course prepares you to make the conceptual links between Punishment and Social order.