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Flashcards in Lecture 19 Deck (41):

What does it mean to be deviant for Goffman?

Within this tradition, being deviant is a social status. The deviant status of the individual only makes sense in a social situation. A person on a deserted island cannot be deviant.


How is deviance relative for Goffman?

What’s deviant in one place may not be deviant in another place.



Goffman was a sociologist who was one of the most famous and influential sociologists in the world. Basis of his work is in Shakespeare. All the world is a stage, and all men and women are players. We all wear certain masks. Most of those masks are of other people. Control and stage how we appear to others. We try to present ourselves in the best light possible. Like actors, we play a range of different parts depending on the situation we take ourselves to be in. Work vs. home vs. school vs. bachelor party.


Whose ideas was Goffman's work based off of?



Interpretive Theories

Emphasize the social meanings that emerge from interactions, and the subsequent interpretations individuals have about acts, characteristics, or people.


Deviance as a social status can be ascribed. What does this mean:

A status that is assigned to us. We are not involved in this process.


Examples of ascribed deviance:

Sex, race, initial social class, or some other inherited or innate characteristic such as being born deaf or blind.


Examples of achieved deviance:

Being a high school dropout, a liar, a cheater, an abusive parent, or a criminal.


Status Set

We all have a wide variety of statuses both ascribed and achieved. Determines who we are. Most include deviant and conforming statuses.


True or false? Interpretive theories are objective.

False, they are subjective.


More often than not, deviance is an ascribed status. True or false?

False. More often than not, deviance is an achieved status. Normally, to be deviant, we must have committed some act willingly that violated a norm.


What are some examples of ascribed deviance?

- Born into religious cult.
- Born as specific facial or ethnic group.


Master Status

When one status overpowers all other statuses.


Once a master status is established, virtually everything that individual does from that point on is...

Interpreted in reference to that status.


Give an example of how master statuses could be bad:

OJ Simpson’s master status was a Heisman Trophy winner and one of the greatest running backs in NCAA history. Shortly thereafter he became known as one of the greatest running backs of all time. Then he became a Hall of Famer. Then he became the man who murdered his wife and her friend.



A set of expectations that are associated with that particular status. Tells us what to do, or what we should do.


Like any other status, deviance is accompanied by a ___.



Explain status and role in the context of a play:

The status of being deviant is the part for which we are cast, and the role is the way we play that particular part.


Explain status and role in the context of a student:

We expect someone with the status student to fulfill certain roles. Attend class, take exams, do other things associated with being a student. Status is student, and role is what you do as a student.


Give an example of role and status expectations:

When Jeffrey Dahmer entered a courtroom, many Americans could not believe he could possibly be the deviant who lured gay men back to his residence, killed them, had sex with their corpses, mutilated them, froze their body parts, and cooked them as part of a meal. He did not look the part. Different response with Charles Manson. Very few people doubted his guilt.


Role Set

Different roles that accompany statuses.



Role-taking is the process of adopting and fulfilling the expectations associated with the particular status.


When people in a particular status fulfil role expectations, they are said to...

Embrace the role.



When a person's sense of identity is influenced by the role.


Give an example of how the godfather of an organized crime family can embrace different roles:

* While the godfather of an organized crime family clearly embraces that role, he may also see himself as a good husband, father, or businessperson who adheres to a strong code of ethics.



So wrapped up in their identity it becomes who they are.


Example of role-merging:

For most of us, we are nude at some point. Some people might decide they enjoy sleeping in the nude. Maybe they go on vacation and say “lets go to a nude beach” and they like it. They decide next, “lets go to a nudist camp.” Start adopting a lifestyle. Eventually they start role-merging.



A situation in which a role becomes so important to a person’s identity, that like a master status, it supersedes all other roles. It becomes a master role. Role-engulfment often accompanies a master status.


Superman and role-engulfment:

Superman is an example of role-engulfment. Gets caught up in superhero status and role, to the detriment of all other statuses and roles. Too busy saving people that he has little time for Lois Lane, his job, or seeing his mother.


What does the scene shown in class from Superman 3 show?

Clark Kent facing off against Superman. Dark Superman beats the crap out of Clark Kent, but Clark reclaims his true identity of good Superman. He can never escape being Superman; he can only defeat the dark side. Role engulfment.



Occurs when people play a deviant role, but remain detached from it in order to avoid negative aspects associated with the role (sanctions or stigma).


Give an example of role-distancing:

Because deviance is occupying a status and performing a role, people expect both. If you were creeping on a merry go round, you would look and behave a certain way. Not checking your watch and looking bored.


What happens when deviant people are called out?

Most people expect people to confess their deviance. Apology or renewed commitment to conformity. Juries are more lenient towards criminals who confess.


What happens when a person's look does not match the role?

People become confused.


If you fulfill expectations, you become a deviant who...

Conforms to expectations of deviance.



Negative social labels.


Types of stigma:

- Abominations of the body.
- Blemishes of individual character.
- Tribal stigmas.


Either people know about the stigmatizing characteristics about the individual, or people do not know what's deviant about someone. When they do know why you are deviant, you have been ___.



Either people know about the stigmatizing characteristics about the individual, or people do not know what's deviant about someone. When they do not know why you are deviant, you are ___.



Blemishes of individual character:

Labels of mental disorder, dishonesty, alcoholism, bankruptcy, etc.


Tribal stigmas:

Being discredited for membership in a particular racial, religious, or ethnic group.