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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

FACILITATING INSTRUCTOR GUIDE

8

Analyzing this Problem as a Sociologist

How would each paradigm/perspective view the causes and possible solutions of this problem?

Order/Structural-Functionalism

What is it about society that has created this deviant (antisocial) behavior in both gangs? What can be done to change the way both gangs were socialized? The law is not as effective as it should be--certainly the families are not working properly--both are dysfunctional. Look for broad macro solutions.

Pluralist/Symbolic-Interaction

There is a labeling problem between the Saints and Rebels. If the Rebels were as clean cut as the Saints, there would be less differentiation in how they are treated. Since both gangs are into antisocial behavior, society cannot properly correct behavior. The Rebels are viewed as beyond hope; the Saints are not even dealt with.

Polite gestures of the Saints hide antisocial behavior. Both groups are mislabeled. The Saints appear better than they really are—the Rebels appear worse than they really are.

Or a bigger question -- is this just normal adolescent behavior -- rite of passage type behavior? Does society make criminals by mislabeling this type of normal teenager behavior?

Conflict/Conflict

This is a classic case of the "haves versus the have-nots." The inequitable distribution of resources (for example---cars versus no-cars) has a lot to do with the difference in how the two gangs are treated. A thought provoking question: Who is more likely to receive jail time for the same offense?---The Rebels or the Saints?

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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