Deviance, And Howard Becker's Outsider-Defining Deviance

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Society has taught its members how to act in certain ways, and what standards they are required to meet as they journey through their lives. These individuals will take certain actions to maintain a position in their society in hopes of not being cast aside. However, there are the select few in society who chose to go against these rules and standards that society has set in place for example, people who get their face’s tattooed. Society has ruled that facial tattoos go against their rules, compared to someone who receives an arm tattoo. These certain individuals are believed to possess something society labels as deviance. Becker states in his writing that deviance is, “The failure to obey group rules” (Becker 5). Individuals who receive facial tattoos are considered deviant due to opposing the rules set by the hegemonic society. These individuals will take something in their culture and style it to make it their own, causing them to be cast into a subculture, which in turn assaults the ideas of ideology and culture. In Howard Becker’s piece Outsider-Defining Deviance, he states three definitions of deviance and claims they are not adequate definitions but, they help to prove his point. “Another sociological view is more relativistic. It identifies deviance as the failure to obey group rules. Once we have described the rules a group enforces on its members, we can say with some precision whether or not a person has violated them and is thus, on this view, deviant”

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