Lest we think that demonic perspectives on deviance died “a long time ago,” I thought I’d share some light reading for Satan that I found in a West Texas gas station during Spring Break. While here in Florida, I’ve heard demonic possession describe a number of social ills (e.g., bad kids, murderers in prison, people who don’t go to church)… Now that you’re probably looking for it, have demonic perspectives been following you too?
Why do you think demonological perspectives have been so prevalent throughout history? Do you think people truly believed in the perspective, or was there more to it (for example: if people feared they themselves would become deviant, they wanted to believe that it was because of something they couldn’t control… in this case, the possession of demons)? Do you think we will see demonological perspectives as frequently in the future? Why or why not?
For reference, please look at these videos:
Related to our discussion on the Salem Witch Trials, one of the most recent theories on the roots of this historical event that eventually led to the execution of 19 young women and terrorizing of many more.
Over a dozen teens in LeRoy, NY have begun having odd, Tourettes-like symptoms that appear to be spreading among teens. What are the possible explanations? How do these symptoms appear similar to those related to the young girls and women of the Salem Witch Trials?
This week we will focus on non-sociological and pre-sociological theories of deviance. Part of our coverage will address demonological perspectives on deviance–those that posit that deviance and/or crime are the result of individuals’ possession by evil spirits and/or their temptation from the devil.
Throughout history, demonological perspectives have served as non-scientific means of understanding events or behaviors that appear to be irrational (e.g., murder) as we will discuss on Tuesday. Exorcisms are the typically response to what appears to be the work of demons and we have several historical and contemporary examples from real life (and not just the stuff of Hollywood).
As you can see from the examples below, these perspectives still pervade our views on deviance and crime (e.g., gay exorcisms). Warning: These videos may be disturbing to view.
One of the most well-known exorcisms of a young woman, Annelise Michel, who eventually died of malnutrition and dehydration:
Can individuals capitalize on demon possession?
And get rid of “filthy stinking sex demons” and “homosexual spirits” today?
As sociology students, what are your thoughts on these perspectives on deviance?