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Upon successful completion of this activity, students will be able to:
- Analyze social phenomena utilizing theoretical frameworks
- Explain the concept of social deviance and provide examples of deviant behavior in social context
- Acquire a basic understanding of how to apply theories of deviance to their own personal and professional experiences
Things to think about while completing this activity:
- How do our partners in interaction respond to “normal” behavior in unexpected/inappropriate settings:
- How does a “normal” act become deviant?
- What are the responses and consequences of behaving in unexpected ways?
- How do you feel engaging in this behavior?
- How did you expect that others would respond to you?
- What is the worst thing that could have happened as a result of this experiment?
For this project, you will engage in a “normal” activity in an unusual setting. For example: Set up a picnic in a hotel lobby, enter a crowded elevator but do not turn around to face the door (ride the elevator facing the crowd), ask a classmate or coworker to pass you the butter in a meeting where there is no food served, knock on the door of your own home, or ask your roommate, spouse, or family member for permission to eat out of your own refrigerator.
It is important for this activity that you do not share with your interaction partners that you are doing this behavior for a class until your experiment is complete. Make sure to continue your behavior for at least one full minute and carefully observe the reactions of others around you.
Write up a description of your experiment, along with your observations of the social reactions to your behavior. Define and describe the Interaction Perspective on understanding deviant behavior and explain how your behavior became deviant in the context in which you performed it. This discussion can include a description of why you chose the behavior you engaged in, but it also must include reference to the textbook and course materials about the social construction of deviance and the Interaction Perspective; make sure you demonstrate a clear understanding of this theory and its application in your experiment. You may draw on materials from Modules 1 & 2 for this assignment. Your paper will be 750-1000 words and should conform to SPA style formatting.