First Assignment          Second Assignment            Third Assignment



First Assignment:  Norm Violation Experiment – Due Jan. 20



For this assignment you will need to violate a minor social norm, preferably regarding gender roles, and then analyze the reactions of others who observed your “deviant” act.  You may need to repeat your norm violation or continue engaging in it for awhile in order to observe the changing reactions of others.   


Warning:  Remember that you are only being asked to violate a minor norm.  Do NOT do anything that will frighten or alarm those around you.  Do NOT do anything illegal. 


The Write-Up


In a 4-5 page paper (double spaced and typewritten), consider the following questions and be sure to include ANALYSIS (not mere description) that draws upon RELEVANT COURSE READINGS AND CONCEPTS: 


1)    What norm or social rule did you violate and what is normative behavior in this situation?  (Chapter Two of the Adlers' book may be helpful to you in answering this question).  What did you do?  When and where? 


2)     Who was your audience?  How did they perceive and define the “meaning” of your actions?  How could you tell?  That is, what reactions (verbal or nonverbal) did they direct toward you?  Did different people react differently? (Consider age, gender and race factors)?  Did anyone negatively sanction you?  If so, how?  What was the purpose of their sanction (e.g., ridicule, shame, to ensure conformity)?  


3)    How did violating this norm make you feel?  How can you explain these feelings sociologically?  (E.g., how are concepts such as socialization, internalization, social control, role-taking, and/or the looking-glass self relevant?)


4)    Would this act always be viewed as deviant or would it be acceptable in a different time or context?  


Examples of Minor Norm Violations:


 1.        Cutting in on a line.

 2.        Interrupting someone constantly.

 3.        Walking backwards through campus.

 4.        Hanging out in a public bathroom.

 5.        Facing backwards in an elevator.

 6.        Invading another's personal space when talking to him/her.

 7.        Wearing your clothes inside out.

 8.        Walking your cat on a leash.

 9.        Eating food at a nice restaurant without using utensils.

10.       Wearing clothing or engaging in actions typically associated with a person of the opposite gender. 




Second Assignment:  Theory Project Paper -- Due March 1



This project has two parts.  The first part consists of an in-class GROUP PRESENTATION that lasts at least 30 minutes.  In this presentation, your group needs to (1) do something creative (e.g., perform a skit or do a "role play" of a deviant act) OR (2) draw on the mass media or popular culture (e.g., films or TV shows) to portray the "deviance" you are analyzing.  Your group also needs to (3) use some form of A/V (e.g., transparencies or PowerPoint presentation) when presenting their theoretical analysis… 


For the second part of your project, you will need to write A PAPER that analyzes an example of "deviance" using one of the theoretical perspectives discussed in the course text and/or in class sessions.  You may choose the same example of deviance and theoretical perspective you used for your group project.  However, you will be expected to present a more detailed discussion and analysis in your written paper.


In the (4-6 page, typed, and double-spaced) paper,  you should do the following:


1)     Describe an example of "deviance" or "deviant behavior."  You may choose to attach a newspaper article or report but be   sure to also describe the deviant behavior or event in your first paragraph of the paper.


2)    Analyze this example of "deviance" from the viewpoint of one of theories presented in the book and class.  Remember that what you analyze will depend upon the theory chosen.  For instance, a labeling theorist" would focus on how and why a person becomes labeled as deviant and what affects this has on his self-image and future.


3)    Discuss the weaknesses or shortcomings of the theory you have used in your analysis.  What does it fail to recognize or explain with respect to the example of "deviance" you have chosen. Draw upon one or more of the other theories to critique the theory you have chosen.



*Note: Be sure to talk with me if you have any questions about what you are supposed to do or if you need some feedback regarding your ideas and plans. 






Third Assignment: Analysis of Elite Deviance


Write a paper of about 3-5 pages in length, describing and analyzing a case of "elite" or white-collar crime.  Describe the nature of this crime based on information you gather from newspaper or magazine articles or from the Reimer text and Chapters 31 and 32 in the Adler and Adler text.   


In your write-up, address the following questions:  What laws or social rules were violated by this crime?  What social reactions were provoked by it?  How strong were reactions to it?  Was the crime responded to through the criminal justice system?  If so, how?  If not, why not?  Was reaction to the crime affected by the social characteristics (race, class or gender) of the perpetrators and/or victims?  What did the perpetrators do to neutralize and counteract negative social reactions (and official sanctions)?  Were they able to avoid a harsh sentence or punishment?  Based on the ideas and perspectives discussed by Reimer or other conflict theorists, how would you explain the "causes" of and reaction to this crime?