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?”

Tuesday 24 March – Crime and Deviance

Today we began our explorations into the topic of crime and deviance.

  1. Students were asked to come up with a theory for why deviance happens/exists in our society:



2. Students were given their own copy of the deviance reader (v.important!) See PDFs below:




*Download this reader onto your computer, and print if possible. If you cannot download it, please send me an email ASAP.

3. I then asked students to consider if there is a behaviour that is considered universally deviant across all social and historical contexts. This was a difficult task, and it led to a discussion on a key sociological approach to deviance: the relativity of deviance. Students read the pages from the van Krieken et al (2017) textbook below and responded to the following questions (if you were absent today, please do the reading and answer the questions in your exercise book):

a) Explain the change towards a relative understanding of crime and deviance (5-7 sentences)

b) How does van Krieken et al (2017) define:

  • crime (1-2 sentences)
  • deviance (1-2 sentences)


4. We then watched the first 30 minutes of the following SBS documentary on female prisoners:

Click here to access it via SBS On Demand (signing up is free)

*If you can’t sign up, type in SBS Lockdown into YouTube and it should be available.