Symbolic Interactionism Exam 1

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Symbolic Interactionism
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Places meaning, interaction and human agency at the centre of understanding social life.
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Classical Rationalism
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A fixed, ready-made, waiting to discover approach to society
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Pragmatism
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A dynamic, unfinished, always in the making approach to society.
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The use of words or gestures that call forth the same meanings to others
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Significant Symbols
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the person who refers to the process of \”taking the role of another\”
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George Herbert Mead
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Process
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One of the major themes emphasised by Mead.
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Agency
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Third key concept for Mead… Understood as the ability to make choices and exercise a measure of control or \”free will\” over one’s actions.
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Significant Symbols
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The use of words or gestures that call forth the same meanings to others.
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John Watson
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Cared little for internal/mental human conduct. Concentrated on directly observable behaviour and environmental stimuli associated with behaviour.
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Watson overlooked
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Mental events or \”subjective behaviour\”
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Joint Action
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What people do together. Considered routine and repetitive. Linked to a larger, complex network of actions tends to be connected to previous contexts and forms of conduct.
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Mead Argued
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Humans do not merely react to stimuli; they are active, self-conscious agents, who actively construct the reality of their environment.
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Iowa School
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Known for their standardized researched methods. Such as the TST.
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Language
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A system of symbols shared by members of a social world and used for the purposes of communication and representation.
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Mind
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A process of mental activity consisting of self-interaction that is based on socially acquired symbols. Arises when we face a problem or given situation.
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Reference Group
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The group whose perspective you use to organize your thoughts, actions, and self-images in the given social world. (Ch.4)
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Leslie Irvine
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Argues that animals such as dogs and cats have the capacity for self-hood.
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Irvine’s Points
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1 animals posses a sense of agency, 2 a sense of bodily coherence, 3 a sense of emotion, 4 a sense of self-history
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Agents of Socalization
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Parents, siblings, teachers, peers, churches, the mass media, and even language.
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Epiphanies
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SI’s refer to this as \”turning point moments\” they emerge when a person suddenly enters an unanticipated status. Moments of crisis or revelation that disrupt and alter a person’s fundamental understandings, outlooks, and self-images. Ex: contraction of a serious illness.
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Sign
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Ex: Smoke is a sign of fire
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Symbols
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Object, gesture or word that we use to represent, or take the place of something else. ex: $ = money *Uniquely human characteristic
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Conceptualization
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Experience the world in terms of concepts. Are based on their similarities.
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Idioculture
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A system of shared knowledge, beliefs, sentiments and behaviours that serve as a frame of reference and basis of interaction
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Names
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Takes things that have no inherent meaning and transforms them into social objects.
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Social Cognition
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allows us to make use of information necessary for our interactions with others
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Central organizing trait
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Ex: Female business executive. People will always see her as a women first and an executive second. Making the trait of female dominant over her occupational title.
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Social Identity
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Use to locate a person in relation to others.
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Master Status
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A status that powerfully impacts how others define and interact with an individual. Ex; Age, gender, and ethnicity.
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Halo Effect
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The tendency to believe that people with one positive trait are likely to have other positive traits.
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Symbolic Racism
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subtle and implicit form of prejudice toward ethnic groups
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Social Skin
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Ex: Clothing as it conveys meaning about our identity/ status’
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Emotion
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Form of action, involving a complex combination of experiences with a social origin as they are generally expressed socially
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Socialization
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We are both targets and agents of this process simultaneously. Described as an ongoing development of self that is dynamic, reciprocal and active.
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Looking-glass Self
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The interpretation is often more important than the truth. Self develops through the \”reflection\” offered by others
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Self
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The reflexive process that includes a person’s subjective system of consciousness.
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Self enhancement motive
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Ex: tendency to notice and recall friends’ appraisals that focus on our positive characteristics or accomplishments, thereby supporting rather than threatening our self-evaluations.
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Self-Efficacy
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Basis of positive self-feeling that transcends the appraisals of others. Ex: The feeling of self we experience when we are \”on top\” of things.
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Self Esteem
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A positive or negative feeling that we attach to ourselves and our sense of worth. It can be shaped by reflected appraisals of others, social comparisons, and experiences of self efficacy.
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Impression management
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Businesses such as Funeral Homes engage in this \”art\” that is, trying to talk and act in certain ways, or avoid talking and acting in certain ways so that others will think of us favourably.
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Personal Front
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The setting, our appearance, and our manner are key types of expressive resources associated with this term.
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Social Comparison
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Past self, personal goals are aspirations, and comparisons to others.
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Dramatic Realization
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Through this process we make certain that others know that we \”have what it takes\” to engage in a particular performance.
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the \”I\”
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the aspect of the self that is the source of our spontaneous, impulsive, and initiating tendencies. According to Mead, the __ or self as subject, can be understood as the initiator and formulator of action. It engages in ongoing dialogue with the __ or internalized attitudes and expectations of others.
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the \”Me\”
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The internalized attitudes of others through which we view ourselves and our actions. This aspect of the self develops through the processes of socialization and role taking. It responds to the impulsive and initiating tendencies of the __
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Identity Salience
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The rank or prominence of a specific identity in your personal hierarchy of identities. The more prominent or important a given identity, the more often we will draw on it as we interact with others and coordinate our actions with them.
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Situated Identity
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The self that we direct outward and have confirmed by others in a given situation, based largely on the social characteristics we present to them.
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Identity Negotiation
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How we locate ourselves and others as social objects in a given situation, to establish how we should act.
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Mutable Self
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A self-concept that is highly adaptive to rapid social and cultural change. According to Zurcher, the __ integrates all four modes of self-conception—physical, social, reflective, and oceanic.
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Self-Concept
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The overarching image that one has of oneself as a physical, social, spiritual, or moral being.
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Role Distance
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Performing a role in a detached or insincere way, thereby displaying that our sense of self is not invested in the role. Ex: Medical students
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Roles
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Tell us what obligations and expectations apply to our behavior when we occupy a particular social status in a particular situation.
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Role taking
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typically a selective process that focuses on the more apparent, superficial, and conventional characteristics of another person. We assess the meaning of their actions, trying to figure out what their plans and intentions are in this situation and what implications their conduct has for our own proposed role performances. (better def???)
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Role Making
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Improvising some features of our behavior in order to construct a role performance that fits with the performances of others while also remaining attuned to our personal goals and inclinations.
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Role residual
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Ex: high school athletic star who gets injured when playing in college and has to withdraw from competitive sports. When returning home for visits, he or she may discover that the local community still responds to him or her in the role of star athlete, even though he or she no longer able to play.
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Status Passages
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Movements in and out of social statuses guided by rules and rituals that specify when, who and how they can be achieved. (Graduations, weddings)
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Helen R. Ebaugh
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Created \”Role Exits\”, where individuals disengage from significant roles.
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Motive Talk
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When we do something that is unexpected or questionable, we engage in this form of talk, offering a public explanation to excuse ourselves and facilitate smooth interaction.
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Disclaimer
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\”You might get mad about this, but I think you need to know that \” is an example of:
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Vocabularies of Motive
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Are words, phrases, or rehetorics that people use to provide \”legitimate\” explanations for their actions.
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Emotion Work
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The process of evoking, suppressing, and managing our feelings. Can be in the form of surface acting, or deep acting.
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Feeling Rules
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Offer guidelines for interactions and consist of understanding about what kinds of emotions are acceptable or desired.
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Altercasting
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Casting others into roles or identities.
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Rumors
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Driven for the search of meaning, clarification, and closure.
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Three Transmissions of Rumors
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Leveling, sharpening, and assimilation.
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Collective Action
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Behavior that people engage in as a group, and formulates as a response to problematic conditions, often opposing to existing norms.
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Collective Behavior
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Relatively spontaneous activity that a group or crowd engages in. Also consisted with social norms.
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Emergent Norm Theory
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When new norms are created as participants in a crowd interact and negotiate the meaning of a situation.
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Riots
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A form of collective behavior in which a large group of people assemble for the purpose of protesting, which a violent disturbance may emerge.
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Four Factors of Panics
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Entrapment, perceived threat, obstruction of escape route, and communication failure.
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Deviance
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Acts, beliefs, and attributes, or behaviors that depart from a group’s norms and evoke disapproval.
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Why are norm violations not always threatening?
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They can clarify moral boundaries, promote social unity, and encourage change.
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Absolutist View
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Deviance is a quality that inheres to the very nature of an act, attribute, or belief. This perspective holds that distinctions between right and wrong are objective facts that hold across space and time.
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Relativist View
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Emphasizes that standards of morality and normalcy do not exist independently of socially created rules, customs, and judgments.
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Symbolic Interactionists on Deviance
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Deviance is a socially constructed reality that can be understood only in terms of values, perspectives, and reactions of a particular group or culture.
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Howard S. Becker
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Created the Labelling Theory.
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Labelling Theory
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Highlights the importance of the labeling of acts or attributes that violate norms, rather than the nature of the acts or attributes themselves. Also looks to the rule makers and enforcers as causes of deviant behavior.
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Moral Entrepreneurs
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Shape the production of deviance through their participation in rule creation and rule enforcement.
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Rule Creators
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Take the initiative to have a rule formulated and adopted. They begin by stirring up social awareness, recruiting alliese, getting legitimation of beliefs and political force, and banning as a sing of success.
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Rule Enforcers
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Those who ensure that a ban is observed. The application of rules is often a political endeavor that legitimizes moral views and goals of powerful groups at the expense of less powerful groups.
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Primary Deviance
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Temporary, isolated, and often trivial rule violations that are fairly easy to conceal.
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Untimely Acts
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Many time-related factors make acts more or less likely to be seen as deviant.
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Attributes and Visibility
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Are physical or mental impairments, a display of dishonestly or \”unnatural\” desires. Membership in an oppressed or discredited group.
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Stigma
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Social devaluation as a result of traits that are seen to violate prevailing appearance norms and on which others focus their attention.
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Attribution
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The process by which inferences are made about the motivations underlying a specific rule violation act or condition.
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Normalization
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Try to avoid having a deviant label applied to their rule-breaking acts or attributes.
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Reaction Process
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Conditions that are likely to make people react to deviance are when it threatens a sense of social order, the observer believes intervention will do some good, and when rule-breaker does not appear to engage in remedial work.
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Secondary Deviance
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Results from the labeling process; people labeled as deviant are more likely to see themselves in this way and to participate in even more deviant behavior.
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Tertiary Deviance
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When stigmatized individuals redefine their \”deviant\” behavior or attributes as \”normal\”, challenging and transforming the meanings attached to these behaviors or attributes.
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Politics of Fear
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Decision makers promotion and use of audience beliefs and assumptions about danger, risk, and fear in order to achieve certain goals.
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Role of the Media
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Changed the social meanings attached to some acts, supported expansion of police and military authority, as well as justifying pre-emptive war.
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Symbolic Mobilization
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use of verbal and nonverbal symbols to create, maintain, and strengthen one’s position
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Role Exit (Process)
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Begins before the individual make any concrete steps to exit the role; it begins with doubts about their willingness or ability to carry a role and initiates a weighting the costs and benefits of the role and alternatives.
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Motives
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Public explanations of behaviour
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Motivations
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\”Internal\” interests
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Vocabularies of Motive
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refer the words, phrases, or rhetoric’s that people use to provide \”legitimate\” explanations for their actions
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Symbolic Mobilization
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the use of verbal and non-verbal symbols to create, maintain, and strengthen one’s position. Ex: Liberals
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Destigmatization
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ex: purification, transcendence, and distancing.
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Social processes of deviance:
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1. Banning, 2. Detection, 3 Attribution, 4. Reaction
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Deviance as Functional (not the SI perspective)
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Clarify moral boundaries, Promote social unity, encourage change
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Emergent Norm Theory
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New norms are created as participants in a crowd interact and negotiate the meaning of a situation

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