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Delinquency and body structure

  1. After reading the text, prove the idea that suspension structures are the safest among bridgeworks
  2. Coherence: Information structure
  3. Company structure
  5. From the history of juvenile delinquency. Causes of delinquency

After Lombroso's theory of born criminality was disproved, others continued to search for biological explanations of criminality. William Sheldon advanced the idea of body structure in terms of three general types: ectomorphs, who were tall, thin, and fragile; endomorphs, who were short, and fat; and mesomorphs, who were muscular and athletic. Sheldon noted that no one conforms exactly to any of these pure types. Rather, he thought the average person shows some combination of body types, although one type usually predominates. After comparing hundreds of young men - half of whom were known to have been engaged in criminal activity and half of whom, were believed to be noncriminal - Sheldon reported an apparent association between criminality and the mesomorphic body type. In other words, he found a link between criminality and a muscular, athletic body structure. Like Lombroso, however, Sheldon was criticized for basing his work on samples that were not representative of the entire population.

Further, more carefully designed research based on these basic body types was conducted by Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck. The Gluecks also concluded that there is a link between criminality and a mesomorphic body structure, although they did not claim that physical characteristics are a direct cause of criminality. Rather, they concluded that the mesomorphic body type is associated with personal characteristics - such as insensitivity to frustration - that seem likely to promote criminality. The Gluecks also noted the importance of social environment in explaining criminality; they found that young men with mesomorphic builds were typically raised with little affection and understanding from family members.

Although these findings indicate that there may be an association between body type and criminality, they do not establish any causal connection between the two. Indeed, the association may very well have asocial explanation. Young men with muscular builds have the ability to be the "bullies on the block," which some of them may become.

VII. Speak on:

· Lombroso's theory of criminality

· Goring's research

· Sheldon's types of criminals

· the findings of the Gluecks.

VIII. Translate the text in writing.

Deviance is a Product of Society?

We tend to believe that deviance is a result of an individual's free choice on personal failings. But, as our discussion of culture, social structure, and socialization showed, all social behaviour - deviance as well as conformity - is rooted in society. This is evident in three ways.

1. Deviance exists only in relation to cultural norms.

No thought or action is inherently deviant. Rather, it becomes so only in relation to the norms of a particular culture or subculture. Norms vary considerably from one culture to another, so that conceptions of deviance vary as well. In the traditional village communities of Sicily, for example, cultural norms support the use of physical violence to avenge an insult to the honour in one's family. In this case, not to avenge an insult would be defined asdeviant. Within American society, however, cultural norms do not support the use of violence in this way. Therefore, what is honourable in Sicily is likely to result in arrest and prosecution in the United States.

As cultural norms change over time, so do conceptions of deviance. In the 1920s, American cultural norms linked women's lives to the home, so that a woman who wanted to become acorporate executive, for instance, would certainly have been considered deviant. Today, however, there is far greater support for allowing women the opportunity to pursue a career outside of the home. Consequently, career women are no longer defined as deviant.

2. People become deviant as others define them that way.

We all violate cultural norms, and even commit crimes, from time to time. For example, most of us have at some point walked around talking to ourselves, taken something that belonged to someone else, or driven another person's automobile without permission. Simply doing any of these things, however, is not sufficient to be defined as mentally ill or criminal. Whether or not a person is defined as deviant depends on the perception and definition of thesituation by others - a process that is quite variable. To a large extent, of course, being defined as deviant depends not only on norm violation, but also on being caught by others. Even then, however, the activity in question may be perceived in different ways. For example, a male celebrity can dress like awoman on stage to the praise of adoring fans, while elsewhere another man doing the same thing might well provoke a quite negative response. Whether or not a person is defined as deviant, therefore, depends on the variable process of social definition.

3. Both cultural norms and defining someone as deviant are related to patterns of social power.

Cultural norms - especially laws - are likely to protect the interests of the most powerful people in a society. For example, closing a factory permanently is within the legal rights of a factory owner, even though doing so may put thousands of people out of work. At the same time, a less powerful person who commits vandalism that closes a factory for a single day is likely to be defined as criminal. Powerless people may be defined as deviant for exactly the same behaviour that powerful people engage in with impunity. For example, a homeless person who stands on a street corner and denounces the city government may be arrested for disturbing place. On the other hand, a candidate trying to unseat the mayor during an election campaign can do the same thing while receiving extensive police protection.

In sum, while commonly understood as a quality of individuals, deviance is inseparable from the operation of society.


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Kinds of Groups | The Nature of Group Cohesiveness | Primary and Secondary Groups | XV. Answer the following questions. | Networks | II. Make up word-combinations and translate them into Russian. | Group Leadership | The Importance of Group Size | In-groups and Out-groups | Deviance |

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