How do deviants reconcile their behavior with society's norms? This set of 10 lectures examines the complex topic of deviance and how major sociological theories have attempted to define it and understand its role in both historical and modern society. Professor Wolpe introduces deviance as "a complex, often ambiguous, social phenomenon that raises numerous questions about how a varied and often arbitrary set of characteristics can be used to name the same idea."
Intended for those with some understanding of sociology, these lectures trace Western theories of deviance from classical demonism to constructionism. Along the way, you'll get a chance to investigate a range of fascinating, thought-provoking, and sometimes even frightening topics and issues.
You'll discover the relationship between deviance and criminology, and come to terms with three major sociological perspectives on deviance in human society. You'll explore the concept of demonism, with divides the world into good and evil, and see how it's often been used to explain and categorize bad behavior when no other explanations are available. You'll learn about the influence of science on sociological thought as proposed by a range of important thinkers, as well as the impact of this science on everything from the IQ controversy to the eugenics movement to Social Darwinism.
Professor Wolpe has crafted an engaging series of discussions that are sure to have you looking at the world around you (and the people in them) in a new way.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses
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"Deviance is not as deviant as you might think!"
When it becomes clear that deviance is not necessarily a bad, or unusual thing
His intonation and narrative is interesting. If you enjoy learning about a somewhat dry topic he makes it interesting. I never was bored.
No, it's got too much information in it. Need to digest slowly.
I never thought about deviance as he presents it. I listened to it to try and understand why some people are so evil. He doesn't really discuss this but presents theories of deviance from a social science perspective which I was unaware of.
"Great grounding for social deviance"
The added value of the audio version is the inflection of the professors voice giving you additional insight into what he is trying to communicate.
Control theory as roughly analogized to his daughter taking a lollipop off the store counter. Another memorable moment was the story about 'Monster'.
The conversations about labeling in combination with differential association was the most interesting to me because I think it speaks to some of the violent behavior we see in schools these days.
I listened to each chapter during my commute which is about an hour each direction.
The format is structured like a college lecture, but the tone is conversational and very easy to listen to and enjoy.
"Fascinating history. Specious logic."
This series should have been called Constructionist (or Learning Theory): A Debunking of Hard Science.
Paul Wolpe spends the first 5 hours (7 lectures) detailing the fascinating history of pseudo-scientific theory of phrenology before introducing the origin of modern Sociological theory.
These stories run parallel to numerous arguments on the fluid and arbitrary definition of "deviance" and what constitutes deviant behavior. This was precisely what I was hoping for from this lecture series.
And then everything changed. "Explaining Social Deviance" is not truly the crux of this course. Instead the title is merely an entry point for Wolpe to make broader, unrelated philosophical arguments.
By the 10th lecture Wolpe devolves into an unexpected (and fundamentally incorrect) deconstruction of "Hard Science," during which he tries to discredit the Theory of Evolution and the Scientific Method in general. He implies that the laboratory is unnatural (ie. the use of genetically modified lab mice and purified water not available anywhere on the planet) and therefore the tests and discoveries made therein are also unnatural.
To Wolpe, the tenets of mathematics and science are deceptive and dangerous: He doesn't care much for isolating variables, creating repeatable tests, and ensuring that his theories are falsifiable. Sadly, it is the neglect of these very tenets that leads to the creation of damaging pseudosciences, which he warned against at the opening of the series.
Wolpe's conclusions left me disappointed, disheartened, and reminded of Richard Feynman's wise words regarding Science: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool."
Mr. Wolpe has fooled himself (and many, many others according to his academic credentials). I hope he does not fool you.
Absolutely. I have enjoyed 10 other Great Courses lectures and have many more awaiting in my queue.
"Excellent content, though outdated"
The content in this lecture is fascinating and intriguing, leaving the learner with a desire to know more about social theories and was constitutes deviance as we define it.
The lecturer is an excellent speaker, however the content is outdated, referencing cultural events that occurred in the 1990's. I would love an updated addendum to this lecture.
"An Unscientific History of Subjective Views"
An empirical and evidence based analysis of deviant behavior applying the modern scientific study of neurology, psychiatry, genetics, and biology.
I would not recommend it to anyone seeking factual knowledge beyond a study of historical perspectives.
Wolpe adequately explains the historical thinking on social deviance leading up to the modern scientific perspective. He speaks clearly and articulately, and he conveys the material energetically and thoroughly.
These lectures convey the history of human thought on social deviance from a purely philosophical perspective. The course is not scientific, it misrepresents modern naturalistic concepts, and it fails to describe social deviance from a modern intellectual standpoint.
The course takes a chronological approach, discussing historical ideas on deviance from ancient times forward. The lecturer references philosophers and pre-science scholars from every period, such Hobbes, Descartes, Freud, and Marx. Each lecture adequately describes one kind of historical thinking on social deviance, building on any that came before. By the final three or so lectures, the listener has been given an overview of sociological thinking up to and including the turn of the 20th century.
The final three lectures attempt to explain modern views on social deviance, but it is clear that the lecturer lacks the background or understanding necessary to do so adequately. Fields such as behavioral genetics, neuroscience, modern psychology, science based medicine, and even the scientific method are completely ignored at best. At worst, they are improperly described, mischaracterized, and rejected. This leaves the listener with a shaky, half formed theory based on pure philosophy--unsupported by empirical evidence and mired by circular and fallacious reasoning. It places scientific, evidence-based ideas in the same category as creationism, parapsychology, and pseudoscience--in the lecturer's own words!
This course does not belong in any serious intellectual study of human behavior. Rather, it is a historical perspective on philosophies of human deviance.
"Should be updated and revised"
This lecture has many facts basic facts when it discuses biology, psychology, and philosophy. The performance is the most frustrating part. There is a consistent social laugh in the background that is so plastic it could not be matched by 30 of The Container Store's plastic surplus. It's depiction of deviance is enjoyable and informative in a cursory way though.
"It's more than what I thought it would be!"
This was exactly what a sociology course should be. I had to reexamine the way I think about society! Great job!
What's crazy is in chapter 9 he predicted Donald Trumps ability to easily work in politics (among other things)
"Excellent theoretical guide"
I was hoping to learn some practical stuff from this book, but it turned out to be a typical "textbook" read: lots of theory, definitions, etc. Yes, it's a great and useful book, just not in a way I expected.
"Very easy to follow and hard to put down!"
I am a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology and love The GreatCourses lectures. This one is definitely one of my favorites. It is so relevant and stretches critical thinking skills by presenting new ways to conceptualize behavior in society. The professor is animated and lively which makes this a completely easy read.
Found this course very interesting I only wish it had been updated for 2015 this is from 2004. A real shame.
"Interesting introduction but outdated & flawed."
I enjoyed it up until chapter 10 with the rant on scientists. What makes science a science is not who has power but data and evidence. Good Science is not about a subjective position it's about robust evidence and data. if you are unable to back up your argument with data then it is not science it's pseudoscience this is why creationism and parapsychology are considered deviant science because it's difficult to prove objectively. The lecturer showed real ignorance in this area and should leave biology and geology to the biologists and geologists. As for quantum theory, those ideas aren't entirely pulled from nowhere. There's robust mathematical evidence, physical evidence and data from particle accelerators and cloud chambers and much technology is based in quantum theory and works. Science is often abstract, counterintuitive and hard to explain but it is regulated by logic, objectivity and a constant attempts to " kill your darlings." Yes science evolves when popular thought advances but it is wrong to say that deviant science is just as legitimate because it's simply not even science.
"Excellent and enjoyable tutorials"
This is an excellent set of tutorials looking at social deviance from a sociological perspective as opposed to what I've read from my psychological studies and subsequent career in which I work to support offenders in the community.
Extremely informative and highly recommended.
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