A Sociological and Psychological Assessment of Crime and Deviance

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A Sociological and Psychological Assessment of Crime and Deviance


The sociology of deviance is the sociological study of deviant behavior, or the recognized violation of cultural norms. Cultural Norms are society's propensity towards certain ideals; their aversion from others; and their standard, ritualistic practices. Essentially the 'norm' is a summation of typical activities and beliefs of group of people.

There are various Sociological deviance theories, including Structuralist: why do some people break the rules? , Marxists: who makes the rules, and who benefits from their enforcement?, and Interactionist: How did this person become processed (labeled) as a deviant?

Sociology asserts that deviance is problematic
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They are intrinsically social because they involve judgment. Decisions are made as to what constitutes deviance and what behaviors are to be considered illegal. The labeling of certain acts as deviant calls our attention to the fact that it is the reaction to the act that places it in the category ‘deviant’ not the act itself. Being able to separate biological and environmental factors is nearly impossible since they impact on each other from the day we are born.

Isolating one variable and finding an association with criminality is a correlation but this should not be confused with a ‘cause’. There is a danger of reducing complex processes to simple one-cause explanations. There are some very dubious ethical implications from this area of research. The logical conclusions are to alter peoples biology by pre or post natal interference. It is also quite obvious that there are types of behaviors that will be damaging to any society and need to be controlled. Some of these behaviors seem to have a biological or psychological origin, rather than an environmental cause. The most obvious of the biological/psychological distinctions is that of the different levels/types of deviant involvement engaged in as a consequence of sex. Males seem to be far more predisposed to act in ways that all societies want to reduce because of their social harm. Some of the earlier biological theories are clearly flawed and have been used to demonstrate the weakness of such…