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Pertinent Issues in Social Psychology - Term Paper Example

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The author describes the labeling theory which states that a person can be labeled as deviant just by their actions if those actions do not conform to societal expectations. The author also examines diagnosing mental illness and the sociological imagination. …
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Download file to see previous pages Vincent was labeled a gang-member for wearing a black and white bandana. Differential association theory, according to Rohall, Milkie, and Jeffrey state that deviance is learned through interactions with others, where a person learns to be deviant (209). The beliefs and values that a person acquires from communications with members of intimate groups may lead to deviance. Here, a deviant individual tends to disregard the rules of conduct and chooses to break existing laws. According to Rohall, Milkie and Jeffrey's differential association explains why different regions within a given country may have different crime rates (211). In Winnipeg, for example, the crime rates are higher than in other regions in Canada, due to differential-associated deviance. For instance, McIntyre writes about Antony Woodhouse who was executed by members of a certain gang for refusing to acknowledge the status of the gang. When he was asked whether he was “down with the IP”, Woodhouse said he was not and was instantly killed. Among the two foregoing theories, I think differential association theory best explains the rise in criminal acts in Winnipeg, especially because the killings are done by individuals belonging to gangs. This means that the beliefs of intimate gang members often influence the behavior of others. Diagnosing mental illness According to Rohall, Milkie, and Jeffrey, sociologists look at mental illnesses from a social point of view and come up with various perspectives to explain the occurrence of mental illnesses (222). Using the Symbolic Interactionism approach, the meaning of mental illness is seen as evolving over the course of time. The main idea here is that different cultures have different meanings attached to mental illnesses. Rosenhan states that “normal” is not universal, as the definitions of normal and abnormal vary from one culture to another (379). In a study, eight pseudo-patients gained admission into mental hospitals without the staff members knowing their true mental conditions. Rosenhan writes that although the pseudo-patients behaved normally within the hospital, the staff members still believed that they were insane and kept them admitted for an average of 19 days (384).   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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