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In what ways (influences in our society) dictate how the definitions of “deviance” and “law” are constructed in the United States?

This is one of many questions assigned but I cannot find anything in the textbook which talks about this. Any help?

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Good grief, Carson - that's not even English!  Did a TEACHER write that question?  If so, FOR SHAME!  I'm sorry that you have to labor under the tutelage of someone who can't write a sentence in English.  But, okay...

    "Law" is defined in the United States (so far as it's technical definition is concerned) by traditional legal means.  It is considered to consist only of acts of Legislatures which have been accepted and made official part of the body of law - and it's meaning is thereafter REFINED by the decisions of courts (which are recorded as precedent for all later reference to that particular law.  How does "society" influence this process?  "Society" can influence who the judges are.  "Society" can also influence any judge's thinking directly.  So, judges can influence not only how a particular law is defined or applied, but in doing so they have the potential to actually incrementally influence the definition of the very function and domain of "law".

    What that has to do with "deviance" isn't made clear by the question.  The word "deviance" is a statistical term and a medical term, and it's also used in a general sense to refer to any departure from the expected.  None of those things have to do with "law".  So you should be forgiven if you have to tell your teacher that you couldn't understand the question, as written.

    But if your lectures have perhaps addressed circumstances in the US in which law was used in an attempt to ensure that everyone acted "as expected", then maybe that is what the teacher is referring to.  That is - if someone departs from what's expected by society, if any departure has been outlawed, then that would make deviancy a crime, and the person would then be a criminal.  Under those circumstances, complainants, police, and prosecutors would be the ones influencing the definition of deviance.  They themselves would be subject to society's sway.

    Maybe that's what the teacher is referring to.  In the future, remember that test questions can come from not just the textbook, but also from online readings, lecture, and even classroom discussion.  It's a mistake to buy the book and think that, as long as you read the relevant chapters, that you're prepared for the exam!

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