Thursday 14 May – Essay

Good morning!

Your essay is due at 10.00am today. Please submit it to CANVAS (see info about this in previous post)

Essay question:

Explain and evaluate alternative sociological theories as to why some young people are more likely to be involved in criminal behaviour in contemporary Australian society. Use the stimulus material and information from the course to support your argument.



Tuesday 12 May – Deviance essay preparation

Hello, dear students

Please spend today working on your essay, so that you are ready to write it on Thursday morning. I am available via Zoom, phone or email if you have any questions/want to clarify anything. Send me an email to organise a time to chat, and we can make it happen.

You can use a half A4 cheat sheet.

You will receive the stimulus via email (it will also be posted to the blog) on Thursday morning at 8.25am. 

Please submit your essay to the assignments section on CANVAS. Take clear photos of your handwritten essay and submit it as one PDF. See instructions below on how to do this:


When submitting work it is best to combine your photos into a single pdf file.  This will make uploading, downloading, marking and receiving feedback much easier.  You can use the Microsoft Office Lens App (iOS (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) or android (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)) to do this.  Here is a step-by-step guide using the Office Lens App.

Xodo ( (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)) is another good app to use.

Our android and apple phones can do this kind of thing without an app!

Check out the built in scanners for Androids & iOS (Apple):

Android devices – Google Drive app feature (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

iPhones / iPads – Notes app feature (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

Whatever you use, submitting a single pdf is the way to go!

Thursday 7 May – Deviance


We will do our first sociological essay on Thursday 14 May (next Thurs).

You can read about the essay by clicking below:


Click here to watch a video where I try to explain how to write an introduction and the key ingredients of a body paragraph for this essay (*Warning* – you may need to make yourself a snack to get through this bad boy)

Traditional theories (theories that don’t acknowledge relativity and instead follow an absolute definition of deviance…they also tend to blame the individual):

Durkheim, Sutherland, Merton (Merton kind of does see society as partly to blame, but doesn’t recognise relativity), A. Cohen, Hirschi, New Right.

Contemporary theories/interactionist theories (theories that acknowledge relativity of deviance, and tend to blame society):

S.Cohen, Lemert, Becker, Garfinkel, Marxist, New Left.

For the rest of the lesson, read about the Marxist perspective of deviance and Left Realism (pg. 6 to 7). ****If you are overwhelmed and tired, then leave these last two theories for end of year.

Have a good day. Everything will be OK.



Tuesday 5 May – Deviance


What are we doing today?

Revising and learning theories of deviance

Evidence of engagement:

  • Presence at the Zoom meeting
  • Contribution to discussion board

What is this leading to?

Deviance essay (end of week 3)

Lesson plan

Hirschi’s (1969) Control theory

If you were unable to attend the Zoom session, or you would like to further clarify your understanding of Hirschi’s Control theory, read pg 13 to 15 of your deviance reader and takes notes on this theory.

Labelling theory

Video explaining Labelling theory

Please take notes on this theory. If you would like to go beyond the video, you can go to page 5, 6, 15 and 16 of the deviance reader to add further detail. (Your notes should include the theorists Lemert, Becker and Garfinkel)


Read the following extract from the van Krieken et al (2017) textbook about indigenous people and crime:


Watch this episode of ABC’s Australian Story on AFL player Marlion Pickett 

Using each of the theories below, explain how the theory would attempt to explain Marlion’s situation. Write these explanations in your book.

New Right theory

Hirschi’s (1969) Control theory

Labelling theory (including Lemert, Becker and Garfinkel)

Once you have completed all three, choose one of your theory explanations to post to this discussion board.








Thursday 30 April – Deviance


Hi all,

It was so cool to read your contributions on the discussion boards, and the work you emailed. Thank you. I wonder if you read some of each other’s contributions…I hope so 🙂

What are we doing today?

Revising and learning theories of deviance

Evidence of engagement:

  • Email work as per instructions

What is this leading to?

Deviance essay (end of week 3)

Lesson details:

If you haven’t already, please read page 22-26 of your deviance reader and take notes in your exercise book about S.Cohen’s (1972) Moral Panic theory. Please ensure you include the concepts S.Cohen uses to explain his theory (e.g. folkdevils, accredited experts, othering)

In recent years, some parts of the media and political sphere focused heavily on so-called ‘African gangs’ in Australia.

The following two articles are opinion pieces that seek to explain how the media/politicians have presented the issue of ‘African gangs’:

Article 1

Article 2

Can you link this issue to S.Cohen’s theory? (Write 150 words on this – which is one large-ish handwritten paragraph)

TASK (please email your answers to me):

Read page 4 to 5 of your deviance reader focusing on the New Right perspective. Please write a 150 word paragraph which answers the following questions:

According to this perspective:

a) What are the causes of crime?

b) What should governments/police do to “fix” crime?

Please write 100 words on the ‘Broken Windows thesis’ (Wilson & Kelling, 1982)

Click here to watch a video on the Broken Windows thesis 

*When you watch the video, think about how it might apply to the Australian context.

Extension activity: If you finished the above with plenty of time to go, please start to look at Hirshi’s (1969) Control theory (page 13-14 of the deviance reader) and take notes on this theory in your exercise book.

Remember: Email me any questions you might have.

Tuesday 28 April – Deviance


What are we doing today?

Learning more theories of deviance

Evidence of engagement:

  • Participation on discussion boards
  • Email work as per instructions

What is this leading to?

Deviance essay (end of week 3)

Lesson details:

  1. C.S Lewis quote

TASK: Please read the C.S Lewis quote (tweeted by Julia Baird) from the last blog post, and answer the following questions on the padlet discussion board:

a) What do you think C.S Lewis is saying about power and deviance in society?

b) What example(s) in Australian society support C.S Lewis’ statement?

Click here to post your answers to our discussion board (this will be used as evidence of engagement)

      2. Delving deeper into the theories

So far, we have learnt the following theories:

Durkheim’s (late 1800s) Functionalist perspective of deviance

Merton’s (1968) Structural Strain theory (also called Anomie theory)

Sutherland’s (1939) Differential Association theory (also called Cultural Transmission theory)

A. Cohen’s (1955) Delinquent Subculture theory

Let’s delve deeper into Sutherland’s and A.Cohen’s theories. We will start with Sutherland:

Click here to watch a refresher I made on Sutherland’s theory

You can also go to pg. 10-11 of your Deviance reader (see earlier posts if you don’t have this downloaded) to read about Sutherland.

TASK: Watch the following parts of the ABC Four Corners ‘Kids Doing Time’ (2009) documentary

0.00 – 15.00

28.28 – 34.00

Click here to access the ABC Four Corners Kids Doing Time (2009) documentary.

Questions (send your answers to me via email – this can be photos of your written work in your book or it can be typed into the email). Your answers do not need to be highly polished – but I will use them as evidence of engagement.

a) Explain how Sutherland’s theory might explain the experiences of some of those featured in this documentary (draw on quotes from the documentary).

b) Apart from simply learning criminal behaviour, what other reasons might there be for these young people entering the criminal justice system?

c) Find out what is meant by the word ‘marginalised/marginalisation’ and write a 50 word explanation of what it means.

This term ‘marginalisation’ leads to another important theory: A. Cohen’s Delinquent Subculture theory

Click here to watch a refresher I made on Delinquent Subculture theory

You can also go to pg. 19 of your Deviance reader (see earlier posts if you don’t have this downloaded) to read about A.Cohen’s theory.

TASK: Read the following extracts from the van Krieken et al (2017) textbook and respond to the questions below on the group discussion board (link provided below)


a) Briefly explain how A. Cohen’s theory links to this information.

b) S. Cohen (1972) developed Moral Panic theory to explain the construction of deviance. How does his theory provide a different understanding of youth and crime in Australia? *Pg. 22 to 26 of the Deviance reader explains this theory.

Click here to post your answers to our discussion board (this will be used as evidence of engagement)

Remember I am available between 10.30-12.30 and 1.30-2.30 to answer questions (send me an email)

Final task for Term 1


As discussed in our Zoom meeting this morning, please make sure you take some notes on A. Cohen’s (1955) Delinquent Subculture theory.  This theory is useful for trying to explain “deviance” and crime carried out in groups. There are steps in this theory (i.e. this happens then this happens which results in this..)

We will write a deviance essay in Term 2 (looking at Week 3 at this stage). You will need to know the theories to do this essay, so please stay on track with learning them.

Please stay in touch and send any questions you have my way.

Tuesday 31 March – Deviance


***IMPORTANT: The Deviance reader I scanned and uploaded to the blog on Tuesday 24 March was not the complete version (it was missing every second page).

If you have already downloaded it, please delete it and download the following PDF documents which make up the entirety of the Deviance reader:




Today’s lesson:

  1. Please watch the following videos which recap what we learnt last lesson (including summaries of the first two theories we look at), and make sure you are on track with your notes for this.


Video 1

Video 2

Video 3


P.S I know I look insane in the freeze frames of these vids. Soz.
  1. Try to use Merton’s (1968) Structural Strain theory to explain the information presented in the stimulus below:


Stimulus 1 – The female criminal : an overview of women’s drug use and offending behaviour

Women’s drug use is believed to be a defining factor in their participation in crime and it is argued that the severity of women’s drug use is more closely related to their criminality than it is for men, particularly for prostitution and property crime. Women’s drug use and offending are different from men’s. For instance, female offenders are more likely than males to be incarcerated for non-violent crimes, such as drug offences (14 percent of female prisoners, compared to 9 percent of males), whereas male offenders are more likely to be incarcerated for violent crimes such as assault (23 percent of male prisoners, compared to 14 percent of females) (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002). Women drug users, particularly those who have been incarcerated, experience higher levels of abuse, economic hardship and other adversity in their lives than men.


If you need a sentence starter: “Merton’s (1968) Structural Strain theory explains deviance as… this theory could explain the information presented in the stimulus, particularly through the use of the [insert the type of response you think most applies here].. because..

In what ways might Merton’s theory not be applicable/helpful in explaining the above stimulus?


3. Turn to page 10 of the Deviance Reader and read about Cultural Transmission theory – particularly Sutherland’s (1939) Differential Association theory.                   

  • Write down, in your own words, the key argument put forward by Sutherland, be sure to include the key concepts (age, intensity and ratio) and what they concepts mean.
  • Do you think this theory is reflective of the earlier perceptions around crime and deviance (absolute definition of crime and deviance) or does it acknowledge the relativity of deviance? Explain your answer.
  • Apply this theory to the following stimulus from the 2016 Sociology exam paper:


Thursday 26 March – Deviance

  1. We continued to talk about the relativity of deviance – which is the idea that deviance is socially constructed. It is relative to time, place, culture, status of the actor and audience.

We used the following PowerPoint to discuss some examples of this:


2. We also added page numbers to our deviance reader (starting with no. 1 on the inside of front page).

We turned to page 1 of our deviance reader and read the paragraph titled Sociological theories of crime and deviance (this paragraph ends on the sentence ‘There is also concern that the concepts of crime and deviance are themselves problematic and contribute to the problem they seek to resolve, an issue examined later in this chapter’)

Please summarise that paragraph in your own words. This is the basis of our deviance essay. It helps structure the arguments.

We then answered the following questions in relation to the next section of the reader:


*Although cut off in the image above, there was an additional question “Can you apply this theory to any of the women in the SBS Lockdown documentary?”