John Rommel was born in 1955 to a lower class family in New York. His father had immigrated over to the United Statesfrom Germany prior to the rise of Hitler in 1933. He desired to show pride in his new country, so he worked hard at thedocks to earn a living for his family. While he was never made much, he always stressed pride in his work and obeyed thelaw. He believed this was a firm foundation for becoming successful.John always showed a bright mind and highly intuitive nature, but he never showed any desire for schooling. He sawsociety as an unfair, unforgiving system that repressed those of lower social status. John was not a violent person; heconsidered himself very honorable, but he did not have a desire to work like his father did, earning low wages for hours oftedious work to support his family. Instead, he opted for more illegal endeavors—gambling, stealing, and even dabbling inorganized crime. However, he never told his father because he did not want to disrespect his family. When he turned 17,he became a drug-runner for the Gambino family because a couple of his close “brothers” had become involved in thebusiness as well.Soon John became involved with more than just drug running; he began to assist the family with offering “protectiveservices” to different shops and businesses in Brooklyn’s lower east side. Should the businesses miss a payment orrefuse their help, he would instigate certain actions against the business to cause severe damage, enough to ensure thebusiness owner would seek their protection from then on.Eventually, John’s employment with organized crime caught up to him as he was arrested at the age of 25. When heappeared in court, his defense suggested that he plead guilty as the prosecution had enough evidence to convict himanyway. When he was sentenced the judge decided to send him to prison for five years, with a potential of being releasedafter three years for good behavior. John noticed his parents sitting in the audience at the hearing, and he began to feel agreat sense of shame for what he had done and believed he had brought shame to his family.
Based on what you have just read, and using your textbook as a reference, answer the following questions:
1. Why would John be considered a deviant? What social foundations of deviance appear to be evident in this case?
2. Examine the three theoretical foundations of deviance (structural-functional, symbolic-interaction, and socialconflict).Determine which foundation applies to John’s situation and why. Give specific examples.
3. Choose three theories, one within each theoretical foundation, that apply to this case. If a foundation does nothave an applicable theory, state why and what behavior could have been exhibited that would have reflected that.
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