Explaining Social Deviance : The Great Courses: Psychology

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Paul Root Wolpe
  • Series: The Great Courses: Psychology
  • 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Deviance is not as deviant as you might think!

Would you consider the audio edition of Explaining Social Deviance to be better than the print version?

Don't know


What was one of the most memorable moments of Explaining Social Deviance?

When it becomes clear that deviance is not necessarily a bad, or unusual thing


What about Professor Paul Root Wolpe’s performance did you like?

His intonation and narrative is interesting. If you enjoy learning about a somewhat dry topic he makes it interesting. I never was bored.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it's got too much information in it. Need to digest slowly.


Any additional comments?

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.

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- Kim Drnec

Great grounding for social deviance

Would you consider the audio edition of Explaining Social Deviance to be better than the print version?

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.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Explaining Social Deviance?

Control theory as roughly analogized to his daughter taking a lollipop off the store counter. Another memorable moment was the story about 'Monster'.


Which scene was your favorite?

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.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to each chapter during my commute which is about an hour each direction.


Any additional comments?

The format is structured like a college lecture, but the tone is conversational and very easy to listen to and enjoy.

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- Tom

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses