Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saints and the Roughnecks

Of the sociological theories explaining deviance that we he have discussed, pick two that you think apply to the The Saints and the Roughnecks and explain why you think these theories apply.

Also, please read “The Pathology of Imprisonment” on pp. 297-304 of the textbook. There will be a discussion about this article on Monday, March 23rd.


  1. Merton's Strain theory can apply to the article. The Saints accept the cultural goals in society, however they achieve this in unconventional means (Innovation). We see in the end, that most of them succeed in the long run, however through high school they did not achieve succeed the same way others did. The Roughnecks seem like they rejected the cultural goal of completing high school, they seemed to seek new goals through new means (Rebellion).

    Labeling theory also explains the deviance we see in the article. Each of the groups held labels and seemed as though they needed to upkeep this label. Teachers, classmates, and community members alike, labeled each group and gave them little chances to prove them otherwise. Both of these theories help to explain the deviance that was in the article.

    - Jack.

  2. I definitely agree that labeling theory played a huge role in this story. Especially with the Roughnecks, they accepted and followed the label they were given much in part because they didn't have the power or social status to change this label. I think that this situation is a pretty sad one, because i think its not too far of a stretch that if the community had been a bit more open two of the roughnecks wouldn't have ended up murderers.

    There was also definitely rebellion and anti-conforming done by the Roughnecks which i think stemmed from the labels that were attatched to them. Bad news

  3. strain theory applies because the cultural goals were pretty much the same for the saints and the roughnecks. They probably tried to reached them the best way that they could think of, and the way the two groups reached the goals was very different due to class and wealth. It also had to do with labels. It showed that people tend to fall under theirs and conform to what they think is thought of them.

  4. Labelling is definately a factor, when you think about what the roughnecks did when they got done with high school, since they werent labeled "boys just being boys" when they became men they were still roughnecks, continuing in this ill mannered fasion, while the saints when on to be totally succesful, especially if they were to even try to act another way than they were labeled most people would still recognize them as roughnecks and not give any incentive to stop.

    Which gives a reason to rebel, no one did anything for the roughnecks except give them a hard time, the two who got scholarships was the onlt exception and the only ones who ended up doing something with themselves, the others just rebelled the whole time.
    -Charlie O.

  5. -Labeling Theory:
    This theory is eaily applied to both the Roug Necks and the Saints. Bothe the Saints and the Rough Necks could be catagorized as Teritary deviants. Bothe of the groubs are labled by the society around them and you would have to guess that they like the lable, other wise they problably wouldnt continue doing the behavior that earned that lable. The Rough Necks and the saints are also both under the secondary deviance catagory because Society has labled both of them (in different ways, but it's still the same idea), and they have adopted that lable and made them selves that lable. The only difference is that the Rough Necks have been labled as pretty much bad people destined to fail. They reflect this lable in the way they act (they are very out in the open about it as well). The thing about the Saints is that they act pretty much the same as the Rough Necks, but because they are less out in the open about it, it appears as though the would be under thet catagory of primary deianvce (occasional deviant acts that do not result in either society labeling someone deviant), which relieves them of societys strain on them to fail.
    This links in to the strain theory some aswell. The differnet levels of societal acceptance for either group has also led to different social goals being placed on either group. Such as saying, the saints (although troblesome) are going to be over all successful people, where as the Rough Necks are just goin to fail in life. This can also lead to different amounts, and different types of deviance.


  6. i deffinately agree. labeling efected both the saints and the roughnecks. but i think the the roughnecks were more dramatically effected because even tho they both did the same things and acted the same way the saints were given more chances to redeam themselves and had more oppotunity to try to change. the roughnecks were given a lable at birth by being born to poor blue color families. it would have been much more difficult for the roughnecks not to follow the lable given to them than it was for the saints.

    -jacob g

  7. There was nothing biologically different between the saints and the roughnecks. They were all humans, built of the same mash-up of genetic materials as one another. But it is obvious that something was keeping each group from resembling (in the public eye) one another. The only valid explanation for this is a labeling system. The saints and roughnecks were expected to respectively act in each their own way, and so the public eye chose only to see them as fulfilling their prophesy. As a result of this, they even began to expect of themselves what this label imposed upon them, and thus started acting more and more like their label, which only verified it from society's standpoint, completing the vicious cycle.

  8. Merton's Strain Theory:
    The Saints are fitting into the category of accepting societies goals and using accepted means to get there. The Roughnecks are not accepting societies goals and are using thier own ways and means to achieve the goals they want.
    Labeling Theory:
    The Saitns are labeled as good and rich, so they have an easier time becuase thier label is a good one. The Roughnecks label is a bad one, theese labels help further perpetuate the two groups separate actions.