Constructions of Deviance, 8th Edition, ISBN 13: 978-1-305-09354-6, Patricia A. Adler & Peter Adler, Wadsworth Cengage Learning
Module 8: Overview & Outcomes
This module explores the life cycle of a deviant identity; doing something for the first time is different than doing it for the hundredth time, and as people age, grow and change, so does their relationship to their deviant identities and behaviors. Similarly, deviant identities that are thrust upon us by our ascribed characteristics (race, sexual orientation, disability, obesity, etc.) can change over time either because the characteristics themselves change or because our culture comes to view these characteristics differently. This module explores the cycle of becoming deviant, being deviant and leaving deviance throughout a “deviant career.”
Module 8: Learning & Assessment Activities
During this module you will:
o Module 8: Module Notes: Deviant Careers
o Adler & Adler Introduction (pgs. 545-548), Article #47 (pgs. 573-584), Article #49 (pgs. 597-607)
o Listen to This American Life “Pimp Anthropology (Links to an external site.)” [Audio File][00 Min 18 Sec]
o “Do You Still Feel Mentally Fat? (Links to an external site.)” [Video File][04 Min 18 Sec] and read the comments posted below this video.
• M8D1: Entering Deviance and Early Intervention
• M8A1: Final Exam
Module 8: Module Notes: Deviant Careers
Upon successful completion of this activity, students will be able to:
• Identify ethical problems faced by individuals or communities and identify effective solutions
• Acquire a basic understanding of how to apply theories of deviance to their own personal and professional experiences
• Explain and critically evaluate contemporary literature in the field of criminal justice
• Analyze social phenomena utilizing theoretical frameworks
• Explain the concept of social deviance and provide examples of deviant behavior in social context
• Adler & Adler Part VIII (pages 545-548)
• Listen to the audio podcast: This American Life “Pimp Anthropology (Links to an external site.)” [Audio File][00 Min 18 Sec]
• Watch the YouTube video: “Do You Still Feel Mentally Fat (Links to an external site.)?” [Video File][04 Min 18 Sec] and read the comments posted below this video.
As we have discussed throughout this course, there are two different ways to become deviant – an individual either embarks on a deviant career through engaging in behaviors that are considered by his or her society to be deviant, or a person is marked as deviant by some characteristic that is written on his or her body, which is considered to be deviant. Both avenues to a deviant identity are socially constructed and depend upon the context of the individual’s time and place in the world. Adler & Adler use the analogy of a “career” to describe the lifecycle of a deviant identity; whether someone is a deviant because he or she is obese or because he has perfected the art of being a pimp, this identity is dynamic and changes over the course of a lifetime or a “career.” In this module, we will be discussing the “deviant career” from “getting in,” or becoming deviant, to “getting out,” or becoming normal. The readings, podcast and video provide examples and insights into the lifecycle of a deviant career.
After listening to the podcast “Pimp Anthropology,” let’s explore the deviant career of Ice Berg Slim (a 1960s-1970s pimp). First, it is important to note that the deviant identity of being a “pimp” was a category that was established and well-known prior to Mr. Slim’s career with this identity. Adler & Adler propose that there are five stages of a deviant career that are interesting for scholars to study. Below is a discussion of these stages using the podcast to illustrate each stage:
1. Entering deviance: This stage in the deviant career is the most heavily studied, as it is often believed by scholars and policy makers that “early intervention” addressing deviant behavior prior to or around this stage could result in fewer “deviants” and reduce the social problems associated with these identities. It is through studies of how people enter deviance that scholars have identified groups that are “at-risk” for various deviant behaviors, including gang involvement, eating disorders, self-mutilation, and criminal activity. In the podcast “Pimp Anthropology,” Iceberg Slim discusses his entry into the pimp identity, as he admired neighborhood pimps even before he knew what or who they were, and he started hanging out in places where pimps could be found, admiring their lifestyle.
2. . Adler & Adler propose that the second stage in a deviant career is training and socialization. Iceberg Slim discusses spending time with his pimp friends, watching violence being done to women and learning and attempting to internalize the “rules of the game.” He discusses “passing” as a pimp by selling drugs, which was considered to be a less illustrious deviant occupation.
3. According to Adler & Adler, the deviant career changes over time, and the study of these changes will illustrate that deviant identities are not static and that being deviant changes over the course of time in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. In the podcast, Iceberg Slim describes his evolving relationship with his main prostitute, Louise, and with subsequent prostitutes, and although he fully understands the “rules of the game,” Iceberg cannot maintain the level of interest and engagement with his identity needed be a “good pimp” or to exert the power and control over his prostitutes that they expect from a pimp. At one point, Iceberg discusses doing violence to Louise, as this was the expectation from his role, but ultimately, he describes a succession of prostitutes that do not stick with him because of his lack of enthusiasm. There is relatively little study of this part of the career of deviance, although this stage actually makes up the majority of a deviant career.
4. Exiting Deviance: “Getting out” or wanting out” is an area of deviant behavior that receives a great deal of academic attention because it is another point where it is believed that social changes can be made. If we understand what makes a person want to exit a deviant lifestyle or identity, perhaps we can duplicate this experience to push people out of destructive or criminal patterns. Think back to the episode of “Intervention” that we watched during Module 7; the intervention specialists worked with Allison’s family to make her life as a drug user so uncomfortable that she would have no choice but to leave this life behind and pursue the alternative path they presented to her through rehab. For Iceberg Slim, this process was not nearly so dramatic. Instead, he describes slowly losing interest in being a pimp until, ultimately, he was without any women with whom to work.
5. Adler & Adler state that very little information is known about people’s post-deviant experiences because in order to escape a deviant identity, individuals often leave everything they knew in their deviant lives behind and their whereabouts are unknown. However, Iceberg Slim’s post-deviant career of making jewelry for hip hop musicians, who borrow heavily in terms of style from pimp culture, provides one example of how a person can use the insider knowledge gained in a deviant career to have led a legitimate post-deviant life.
M8D1: Entering Deviance and Early Intervention
Upon successful completion of this activity, students will be able to:
1. Explain the concept of social deviance and provide examples of deviant behavior in social context.
3. Acquire a basic understanding of how to apply theories of deviance to their own personal and professional experiences.
5. Assess contemporary literature in the field of criminal justice (Criminal Justice Major Outcome #4).
As you read Part VIII of the textbook, listen to the podcast, and watch the YouTube video, think about how people first become deviant. Consider what could prevent them from going down these paths. Think about times when you were tempted to commit a crime, binge and purge, take illegal drugs, drop out of school or engage in a dangerous behavior – what stopped you? If you didn’t stop, why not? If you did engage in some of these behaviors, how did you keep them from becoming your identity? How does a person go from one act to a “career” in deviance?
After reading Part VIII of your textbook, listening to the podcast, and watching the YouTube Video, discuss what strategies you think parents, lawmakers and social movements could use to intervene before or during the time that folks are becoming deviant. For example, who could have done what to prevent Iceberg Slim from being a pimp? What could be done to prevent a person from committing his or her first burglary? What is your suggestion about advertising campaigns, social movements, education or parenting to prevent children from becoming obese adults? Use at least one of the articles or the podcast to discuss your ideas for identifying “at risk” groups and preventing members of these groups from entering into deviant careers.
Your initial post should be at least 250 words and must substantively integrate the assigned readings in the instructions with proper APA style formatting. For more information on Entering Deviance and Early Intervention check out: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/law/law/deviance
Attachment: Discussion Rubric
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