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Vignette: Ethan is a 16 year old white male. He lives with his mother and father in a wealthy Texas suburb. His parents own a multimillion dollar metalworks company which made it possible for Ethan to enjoy significant priviledges, including having his own car at age 13. He attended an exclusive private school until he was 14, when he withdrew after a dispute with the school during which his father threatened to buy the school. Ethan had several misdemeanour run-ins with the law, but his father always managed to get him off without any real consequences for his actions. Ethan’s parents also used their money to get themselves out of several legal problems. Ethan had very little supervision in the family home, and often threw unsupervised parties with drugs and alcohol. One night after one of his parties, Ethan was driving his truck while intoxicated. He caused an accident that killed four people and injured several others.
Ethan was indicted on four counts of intoxication manslaughter.
1. Pick three theories of deviance (example: strain, labeling, subcultural), one from each of the three theoretical approaches (functionalism, conflict and symbolic interactionism) discussed in your textbook that you think applies to Ethan’s behavior above. Provide a one- paragraph summary of each of the three theories than you pick.
2. Compare/contrast the claims and assumptions of each of your chosen theories.
3. Analyze Ethan’s criminal behavior from the perspective of each of the three theories that you picked. In other words, how would each of the three theories explain the Ethan’s fatal accident and the events leading up to it?
4. Which one of your three theories provides the most convincing explanation for Ethan’s behavior? Why? Provide evidence from your textbook, notes and the vignetter to support your conclusion.