Sociology 224: Deviance and Conformity

University of Alberta
Department of Sociology
Instructor: Dr. Stephen A. Kent
TELEPHONE–492-2204/5234 (leave name and number if I am out.)

(Fall, 2012) Tuesday and Thursday

OFFICE HOURS: Tu/Th 15:30-17:00, or by appointment. PLEASE NOTE: If a situation arises that will affect your performance in the course, then I expect to be informed immediately. Either speak with me directly or leave a note or phone message with instructions as to how I can contact you.

Required Text:

M Bereska, Tami M. 2010. Deviance, Conformity, and Social Control in Canada. 3rd Edition. Toronto: Pearson.

Course Purpose and Objectives: The lectures and readings are designed to provide an overview of the prominent theoretical issues in the sociology of deviance and conformity, supplemented by historical and contemporary examples from a variety of cultural contexts. I emphasize Canadian issues whenever possible.

Course Outline:

1st exam on Thursday, October 3rd: Bereska, Chapters 1, 6, 7, and 8 lectures: non-sociological perspectives; Satanism; religion; racism; child abuse.
2nd exam on Thursday, October 31st: Bereska, Chapters 2, 4, and 5 lectures: prostitution; sexuality; drugs and alcohol; youth
University scheduled final exam date: Bereska, Chapters 3, 9, and 10 lectures: police; politics; corporate; science, Internet

PLEASE NOTE: Bring a pencil to each exam. The exams will consist of 50 multiple choice questions. The exams will cover only the assigned chapters and accompanying lectures.

Grading: Each exam will count 33 1/3%, which means that no supplemental tests will be permitted. The grades for each exam initially will be recorded as grades, and will be translated into numbers for the final grade according to the following scale:

Descriptor Letter Grade Point Value
A+ 4.0
A- 3.7

B+ 3.3
GOOD B 3.0
B- 2.7

C+ 2.3
C- 1.7

Poor D+ 1.3
Minimal Pass D 1.0
Failure F 0

Please review the amendments to the Code of Student Behaviour, especially Section 30.3.2(2). In a phrase, if I catch you cheating, then I’m coming down on you like a ton of bricks (and I have done it before). You likely will wind up in a hearing before a Dean. Believe me, it isn’t worth it.

a. “Policy about course outlines can be found in §23.4(2) of the University Calendar.”

b. “The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.”

c. “Audio or video recording of lectures, labs, seminars or any other teaching environment by students is allowed only with the prior written consent of the instructor or as a part of an approved accommodation plan. Recorded material is to be used solely for personal study, and is not to be used or distributed for any other purpose without prior written consent from the instructor.”


Strict university rules require that I follow a rigid procedure for students seeking approval for missed exams. Here is information about the policy:

Absence from Exams (University Calendar §23.5.6)

Excused absence for a missed exam is not automatic and is granted at the discretion of the instructor (in the case of term exams) or the student’s Faculty (in the case of final exams). Instructors and Faculties are not required to grant excused absences for unacceptable reasons that include, but are not limited to personal events such as vacations, weddings, or travel arrangements. When a student is absent from a term or final exam without acceptable excuse, a final grade will be computed using a raw score of zero for the exam missed. Any student who applies for or obtains an excused absence by making false statements will be liable under the Code of Student Behaviour.

To apply for an excused absence, a student first must notify me by e-mail within two working days of the missed exam. Second, a student must provide me with supporting documentation 3 pertaining to the absence.

ALL STUDENTS WILL WRITE ALL THREE EXAMS, and no procedures exist for replacing an exam with another kind of work. Make-up exams for the first two tests occur during the classes immediately after the scheduled exam dates. Please come to the next class with your excuses, and a teaching assistant will take you to another room to write the make-up.

For medical illnesses, students can present one of the following:

  • “University of Alberta Medical Statement” signed by a doctor (this cannot be required, but will be accepted if provided in lieu of other documents)
  • “Medical Declaration Form for Students” (for Faculty of Arts students)
  • “Statutory Declaration” (for students in Faculties other than Arts, to be obtained from home Faculty or the Office of the Registrar)

For other acceptable absences, such as domestic afflictions or religious convictions, the student should submit appropriate documentation to the situation. This could include the following:

  • For a death in the family – a copy of the death certificate
  • For a religious conflict – a letter (on letterhead) from a priest, rabbi, imam, pastor, or other recognized religious congregational leader
  • For a car accident – a copy of the accident report
  • For other serious afflictions – consult with Instructor or Department about appropriate documents

The requirements for permission to write a missed final are particularly strict, so please pay particular attention to those policies. If you fail to write the FINAL EXAM you must formally apply to your Faculty office within two working days following the missed final exam in order to be considered for a deferred final examination. The decision to grant a deferred final exam is not the instructor’s. Only the student’s home Faculty can grant a deferred final exam. If any students contact professors about getting deferred final exams, or are granted them by their home Faculties but cannot attend on January 18, then the professor must direct them to their Faculty

Deferred examinations are intended to accommodate students who have experienced an incapacitating illness or severe domestic affliction; applications based on minor or inconsequential ailments will not be approved. There is only one date for deferred final exams. Any student who is granted a deferred final exam will write the make-up at a designated time on Saturday January 18, 2013 in room Tory 1-91, beginning at 9 o’clock


Below please find examples of a multiple choice exam that I gave 4 several years ago, the format and style of which is what you can expect with the three tests. Each of the tests are comprised of a number of multiple choice, short answer, and longer answer questions, with probably a few more taken from the readings than the lectures. Here are some sample questions, based upon a different text:


Questions from Stebbins, chapter 11

11. Tolerance actually falls roughly between what two attitudes?

  1. embracement or adoption of an activity or belief and indifference to it
  2. indifference to an activity or belief and scorn or disdain of it
  3. embracement or adoption of an activity or belief and scorn or disdain of it
  4. support or adoption of an activity or belief and disapproval of it
  5. indifference to an activity or belief and support of it

12. Habitual tolerance is _____?

  1. the ability to understand the roles of others while refraining, by means of personal detachment, from adopting their standpoints
  2. tolerating (but not embracing) the stance of others because the tolerator recognizes the contributions made by disparate standpoints in understanding a complex area of interest where many issues remain unsettled.
  3. considering the activities and beliefs to be reasonable when viewed in light of the shared perspectives of others