Sample Mid-term Exam Questions This revised sample exam question document should make preparation easier. The exam has ten short (full length page) essay questions, you will pick from fifteen questions or so. I will provide those blue booklets that, perhaps, you associate with dread. Notice that all of the questions come from your weekly questions. This is designed on purpose. Without knowing it, you have prepared for this exam all semester. Keep up with the readings. The other attached document, The Saints and the Roughnecks by Chambliss, will help answer the questions. This one is mandatory. I also have an attached syllabus for anyone who needs it. Good luck and email with any questions. Prof. P.M. 1. According to Sykes and Matza the delinquent approaches a “billiard ball” conception of himself. Explain what they mean by this conception. In your discussion explain Sykes and Matza's five techniques of neutralization using examples: (a) denial of responsibility, (b) denial of injury, (c) denial of victim, (d) condemnation of the condemners (e) appeal to higher loyalties. What is neutralization theory? Or Sykes and Matza challenge conventional wisdom that such rationalizations typically follow deviant behavior and instead argue that these rationalizations precede the deviant behavior so that social controls that check of inhibit nonconformity are rendered inoperative. Explain if you agree with this argument. Use information from the literature or your own personal experiences to substantiate your argument. 2. Is becoming deviant a social process without any necessary biological predispositions, personality traits, or psychological conditions contributing to motivate the behavior? Explain. In your discussion, critique biological theories? Why are they so popular? 3. Compare and contrast conflict theory with Marxist Criminology. 4. In Spitzer's article “The Production of Deviance in Capitalist Society” what does he mean when stating that the superstructure preserves the hegemony of the ruling class through a system of class controls? How does the organic composition of capital effect crime? Be sure to address the differences between social junk and social dynamite. How are problem populations created and then transformed into deviant groups? What is the relationship between formal control mechanisms and other forms of control according to Spitzer? Or Using Spitzer, how does the problem population threaten the social relations of production in capitalist societies (p. 68)? Spitzer's Marxist orientation towards deviance invokes Marx's ideas of a relative surplus population that produces an industrial reserve army. How is this both “useful and menacing” to the accumulation of capital (p. 69)? According to Spitzer, how does education serve as a tool that develops the needs of corporate capitalism? What are some of the contradictions to this?How does conflict theory account for differential law creation and differential law enforcement? 6. Using the following quote as your basis, explain the basic tenets of labeling theory. Use examples. Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an "offender". The deviant is one to whom that label has been successfully applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label. Or Explain Becker's process of how a person becomes a deviant in the form of smoking marijuana. Or According to Becker, Is becoming a marijuana user a social process without any necessary biological predispositions, personality traits, or psychological conditions contributing to motivate the behavior Explain. Or The essentialist definition of deviance holds that certain behaviors are objectively, absolutely, and universally wrong or evil. On the other side of the spectrum, the constructionist perspective of deviance holds that what is deviant cannot be found in the act but rather how people react to the act. In this case, deviance is based solely on how actions are seen and evaluated by members of the society in which the act took place. Explain you position in this argument and give examples to support your debate. Or Liazos believes that certain acts are inherently deviant. Such acts include harmful wrongs such as sexism, racism, imperialism, exploitation, and oppression because they are harmful to others, especially, people with less power. Discuss Liazos' critique of Labeling theory. What is his main criticism of that theory and what does he suggest radicals need to concentrate on analyzing? 7. Provide examples of moral panics, real or imagined, and explain how deviance is created, along with moral entrepreneurs, media sensationalism, and the creation of an increased control society. 8. Describe Merton's notion of anomie and how social structure helps produce this state. In your discussion include Merton's cultural goals and structural opportunities (institutionalized norms). Explain each of the following individual adaptations to achieve culturally prescribed goals: A. Conformity: B. Ritualism: C. Rebellion: (include a comparison of nonconformity and aberrant behavior) D. Innovation: E. Retreatism: In your discussion, explain the limitations of Merton's theory on deviance. How does Sutherland's differential association theory attempt to ameliorate these limitations? 9. In the Chicago School's depiction of the city using a concentric model composed of zones, each zone retains its character regardless of inhabitant characteristics and each racial/ethnic group changes its character as it moves from one zone to the next. Some of the Chicago school scholars, like Faris and Dunham, conclude that high rates of delinquency are products of the nature of social life in each zone, as opposed to biological inferiority or racial/ethnic peculiarity. Explain and give your take on the argument. Give a functional explanation of deviance. Argue from one or more of these three broad points: a. Certain actions are dysfunctional or harmful to society threatening its existence. Society must discourage this behavior. b. Society draws its moral boundaries and sets examples for others when harmful or deviant behavior is punished. For societies to survive, some actions must be encouraged while others punished. c. Deviance has existed since man crawled out the slim, it is in this way functional. In controlled amounts, certain types of deviance may be functional for society. 9 and 10. Using a functional perspective on deviance answer the following questions. How might terrorism or the threat of terrorism serve as a positive function for society, or certain segments of society? How are moral panics functional to society? Explain. Think of other examples. Or Explain some norm violating or illegal behaviors that serve positive functions to society. Also, explain some other norm violating or illegal behaviors that reflect group conflict. In your view, is one group “right” and the other “wrong?” Or In Ben-Yehunda's witch craze, demonstrate how witch craze was functional to maintain prevailing social order. Put differently, explain how the witch craze served as a function for a waning medieval society. Using the ideas above, think of contemporary examples of how certain groups are scapegoated today as a function for tradition and orthodox. Or How can deviance be understood as behavior that both disrupts the stability in society, while simultaneously serve as an important condition preserving stability? Further, How is the relationship between deviant persons and agents of social control functional to the maintenance of society? In your discussion, explain how institutions that are built to inhibit deviation may actually work to perpetuate it (examples include prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and schools). In your answer, think of how this relates to differential association theory. 11. Explain the rite of transition from a normal position in society to a distinct deviant role? Including in your discussion the three phases of this rite: Confrontation, Judgment, and placement. Or Explain the differences between the functionalist and interactionist (labeling) approach to understanding deviance. Or Thorsten Sellin examines Conduct norms and culture conflict. According to Sellin, how does border culture conflict emerge in heterogeneous societies? Under what conditions does this become inevitable? Using Sellin's argument, explain a cultural conflict that has occurred in your experiences that created a problem of norm violation. 12. Pick a law or norm violating behavior and explain it from a functionalist, Marxist, or conflict perspective. Or Do you believe that deviance serves as a positive function for societies or the deviance is the result of conflict between opposing and antagonistic groups? Or make an argument that combines both approaches. Be sure to use examples to illustrate your point. 13. In Goffman's “The Moral Career of the Mental Patient” he refers to the career of the mental patient. What does he mean by the term career? In your discussion explain the two-sided meaning of the concept of career that allows us to move back and forth between the personal and the private. Further, Explain Goffman's first two of three main phases of the mental patient career: (a) prepatient phase and (b) inpatient phase. Further, explain what Goffman means by the following terms/concepts: (a) degradation ceremony that occurs in the beginning of the patient phase, (b) contingencies (quote) “One could say that mental patients distinctively suffer not from mental illness, but from contingencies,” (c) circuit of agents or agencies, (d) the alienative coalition, (e) “betrayal funnel,” (f) the retroactive character of the moral career of the mental patient. 14. Discuss the basic assumptions of control theory. In your discussion, explain Herschi's four elements of the bond. a. Attachment: b. commitment: c. Involvement: d. Belief: According to Tannenbaum, what is the conflict between the delinquent and the community? 15. Tannenbaum explains that GANGS BECOME THE IMPORTANT SOCIETAL REFERENCE POINT FOR THE YOUTH in conflict with his community. What does he mean in his statement: The ATTEMPT TO break up the gang by force merely strengthens it? Tannenbaum Quote: "THE BOY, NO DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF HIS GANG, SUDDENLY BECOMES THE CENTER OF A MAJOR DRAMA..." Explain this drama. How does the following Tannenbaum quote “THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE CRIMINAL, THEREFORE, IS A PROCESS OF TAGGING, DEFINING, IDENTIFYING, SEGREGATING, DESCRIBING, EMPHASIZING, MAKING CONSCIOUS AND SELF-CONSCIOUS; IT BECOMES A WAY OF STIMULATING, SUGGESTING, EMPHASIZING, AND EVOKING THE VERY TRAITS THAT ARE COMPLAINED OF” compare with Becker's process of becoming a deviant. Use his master and auxiliary status traits in your discussion. Explain why Tannenbaum makes the following argument: "The WAY OUT IS THROUGH A REFUSAL TO DRAMATIZE THE EVIL. THE LESS SAID ABOUT IT THE BETTER. THE MORE SAID ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, STILL BETTER." 16. Explain how William Chambliss's treatment of "The Saints and the Roughnecks" fits well with a conflict perspective toward deviance. Answer the questions that follow the excerpt. In this classic study in Seattle suburb in the 1970s, the saints are a group of 8 white uppermiddle-class boys on the pre-college track in high school, who engage in incredibly large amounts of truancy, a great day of drinking and driving, quite a bit of petty theft and vandalism, and a lot of cheating in school, but managed to maintain a good image. If these youths are apprehended, the influence of their parents and the social skills of boys contributes to the interpretation that they are just engaging in youthful highjinks (boys will be boys). The roughnecks are a group of six lower-class boys who engage in lots of fighting (mostly among themselves or with other lower-class boys) and stealing, who are often arrested, and whose image in the community is terrible. In Chambliss's view, the saints behavior had at least as much potential for community harm as the behavior of the roughnecks. The saints' driving was bad when they were sober and atrocious when drunk, and their vandalism included moving street signs to create dangerous situations for motorists and watch the "fun." But the saints never got labeled, and they ultimately all went on to college, got degrees, and pursued respectable careers. Two of the roughnecks went to college on football scholarships and were successful; as adults the other roughnecks continued their juvenile involvement with the police and prisons. Chambliss doesn't claim that their eventual career paths are entirely the result of labeling, but does see it as a factor. In you discussion address, among other things, the following questions. a. Why did the community, the school and the police react to the Saints as though they were good, upstanding, non-delinquent youths with bright futures but to the Roughnecks as though they were tough, young criminals who were headed for trouble? b. Why did the Roughnecks and the Saints in fact have quite different careers after high school careers which, by and large, lived up to the expectations of the community? c. Explain a similar story that may support or conflict with Chambliss's take on "The Saints and the Roughnecks."