Sociology : Theories of Deviance

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Sociology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Theories Of Deviance

According to Robert K. Merton's theory of deviance, which of the following accepts cultural goals but rejects the institutionalized means to reach them? 

Possible Answers:

Rebel 

Ritualist

Conformer

Retreatrist  

Innovator

Correct answer:

Innovator

Explanation:

According to Robert K. Merton, individuals can be categorized an individual's level of deviance based upon the amount of anomie present in their lives. Merton defined anomie as a state of normlessness that  occurs when cultural goals are disjointed from the institutionalized means used to reach them. In this manner, Merton theorized that individuals can either accept or reject these norms and means. He categorized them using the provided table. It is important to note that those who fail to acknowledge cultural goals and institutionalized  means may introduce new goals and means. This is known as rebellion.

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In the question, a person who accepts cultural goals and rejects institutionalized means would be an innovator. 

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Deviance

All of the following are considered functionalist approaches to the study of deviance except __________.

Possible Answers:

social disorganization theory

cultural deviance

power elite theory

strain theory

none of the other answer choices

Correct answer:

power elite theory

Explanation:

Power elite theory is an approach within the conflict theory school of deviance, and is not considered a functionalist approach. The other three options — strain theory, social disorganization theory, and cultural deviance — are functionalist approaches to explaining deviance in society.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Deviance

Conflict Theory argues that deviance is caused by __________.

Possible Answers:

adhering to the prevailing lower-class social norms or mores

none of the other answer choices

weak social ties and the absence of social control in a community

the negative reactions people's behaviors can cause in others

 social and economic factors, most notably systemic inequality or injustice

Correct answer:

 social and economic factors, most notably systemic inequality or injustice

Explanation:

Conflict theory argues that deviance is caused by social and economic factors, most notably systemic inequality or injustice. Cultural deviance theory argues that deviance is caused by adhering to the prevailing lower-class social norms or mores. Social disorganization theory argues that asserts that deviance is most likely to occur in communities with weak social ties and the absence of social control. Labeling theory argues that deviance is caused not so much by individuals or their behavior, but by the negative reactions behaviors can cause in others.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Deviance

All of the following are likely members of the power elite except a __________.

Possible Answers:

politician

janitor

banker

doctor

lawyer

Correct answer:

janitor

Explanation:

The power elite refers to the small group of people at the top of society with access to all the power and resources. Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, and Politicians would all be members of the power elite. 

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