Prof script – social groups and social control



1. What is social interaction? What are the elements of social structures? How does this apply to the activity you just completed?

2. What are the functions of social institutions? How do you see this applied in your life?

3. What influence does mass media have? Frame your answer using sociological perspectives.

4. What is social control? How is social control enforced? What are the different sociological perspectives on deviance?


1. Deviant behavior violates standards and expectations of a group social norm. Reflect on a time when you violated a widely shared and understood norm of your society. What was the norm? What was the violation? What sanctions did your social group place on you for your behavior?

2. Deviant behavior often varies in its degree of seriousness. It may range from mild transgressions of folkways, to more serious infringements of mores to quite serious violations of the law.  When sociologist study deviance, they do not “judge certain kinds  of behavior or people as being “good” or “bad.” Instead they attempt to determine what types of behavior are defined as deviant, who does the defining, and how and why people become deviants, and how society deals with the deviants.

3. It is not at all unusual to think of deviance as being associated with bad behavior.  So far each of you have done a really good job discussing deviance.  How a society defines deviance, who is branded deviant, and what people decide to do about deviance all have to do with the way society is organized. Gradually, in our society people have begun to recognize that deviance is much more than a matter of choice.  There has been a lot of focus on negative deviance; however not all deviance is negative.Can you think of examples of positive deviance?

4. Let’s consider the Stanford Prison experiment, if you had been a guard, do you think you would have been more likely to go along with the other guards or would you have resisted or spoken up about treating the prisoners the way you would have wanted to be treated if the roles had been reversed? Explain.

5. “An open mind allows us to be curious, to be receptive to new ideas, to build relationships with people very different from us, and to learn about unfamiliar cultures. Self-awareness is about becoming aware of one’s own “cultural baggage”: our assumptions, our preferred way of communicating, as well as an awareness about how our preferred way of doing things may be perceived by others” (Öhler, 2012). Öhler also states that there are four requirements for tapping into the benefits of cultural diversity in the workplace. What can we do as individuals in the workplace to help develop the workplace culture?

Öhler, I. (2012). 21st century skills – relating across cultures and nationalities. New Zealand Management, 59(3), 55.

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