Beginning from a child we begin to experience different situations and interactions with others. We start getting taught the difference between right and wrong, what may be considered good and what is considered bad, and also taught the things we should and should not do. As we grow older we try to refrain from behavior of which society may disapprove of. Society see’s certain types of behavior as being deviant. First let’s begin by explaining what is a deviant behavior? Deviant behavior can be any behavior that does not conform to what people may consider normal, a behavior that does not meet with many expectations in society. Societies are both social structure and culture. Robert K Merton developed structural
Deviant behavior is socially constructed with the people in power defining what is expectable and what is deviant.
The traditional legal perspective is law-centered. Law is purely law; it is limited in its
A cross-cultural examination of certain deviant acts surface interesting observations of both the root of function of deviance in that given society. This observation will illustrate how the ways in which deviance is viewed in a specific culture is not universal. The author also touches upon how the “concept of normal” is equated with the “concept of good”; therefore, by consequence, anything remotely outside this pre-established box is viewed in a negative manner (Benedict 1934:4). The category of deviance is employed by society as a strategic means of reducing diversity, maintaining order and above else, upholding the social norm. Individuals who threaten this system are immediately labeled as evil wrongdoers who are then treated differently on every level. A further scholar, Erikson, compares the social system to a “nucleus, “which” draws the behavior of actors toward [itself] within range of basic norms,” (Erikson 1962: 309). This analogy provides powerful imagery of how the social system functions and the reason for why deviance is seen as such a threatening act. He further draws a comparison between the law and the norm arguing that both are reinforced by consistently being “used as a basis for judgment,” (Erikson 1962: 310). The entanglement of
As I have been constantly reminded throughout the duration of this course, deviance can have many definitions. For the purpose of this paper, I will used the relativist definition: deviance is behaviors that illicit a definition or label of deviance. However, behaviors or acts are not inherently deviant. They become so when the definition of deviance is applied. So the focus is not on why individuals violate norms, but instead how those norms are constructed. Norms are rules of behavior that guide people’s actions (Inderbitzin, Bates and Gainey 2015:3). They are society’s rules of appropriate behavior. Norms are generally broken down into three categories: laws, mores, and folkways. Laws are the strongest norms backed by official sanctions or a more formal response. Mores are “moral” norms that may generate outrage if broken. And folkways are everyday norms that do not generate much uproar if they are violated.
In every society around the world, the law is affecting everyone since it shapes the behavior and sense of right and wrong for every citizen in society. Laws are meant to control a society’s behavior by outlining the accepted forms of conduct. The law is designed as a neutral aspect existent to solve society’s problems, a system specially designed to provide people with peace and order. The legal system runs more efficiently when people understand the laws they are intended to follow along with their legal rights and responsibilities.
There are many different theories on what causes a person to exhibit deviant behavior. Some explanations can be biological, sociological as well as psychological. Sociological explanations for deviant behavior focus on how social structures, forces, and relationships foster deviance whereas biological explanations focus on physical and
Social and personal Control, by Reiss suggest that deviant behavior is based on the bond
One of the most prominent statements on deviance is contained in the following quotation from Howard S. Becker (1963), one of the early exponents of the interactionist approach. Becker argued:
Abnormal behavior in one society appears normal in the other society (Nairne, 426). Deviance is weighed by the society’s reactions to the particular behavior, also it is measured by the society’s way of life so that it defines the unwelcoming behavior. It ignores the social order and some organizations believe, the reality in society.
Social control theory has become one of the more widely accepted explanations in the field of criminology in its attempt to account for rates in crime and deviant behavior. Unlike theories that seek to explain why people engage in deviant behavior, social control theories approach deviancy from a different direction, questioning why people refrain from violating established norms, rules, and moralities. The theory seeks to explain how the normative systems of rules and obligations in a given society serve to maintain a strong sense of social cohesion, order and conformity to widely accepted and established norms. Central to this theory is a perspective which predicts that deviant behavior is much more likely to emerge when
Deviance is socially constructed because it is defined and outlined firmly by society’s norms. As a result, a deviant act in one society may not be considered deviant within a different society. Societies define themselves through the shared common values of the individuals and in order for a society to maintain these values and cultural identity they create and maintain boundaries (Erikson, 2005, p17). These boundaries allow individuals to relate to each other in an articulate manner and so that they may develop a position within society (Erikson, 2005, p17). The boundaries are created by individuals’ behavior and interactions in their regular social relations. Deviance then becomes the actions which society perceived to be outside of its boundaries. In other words, an act is viewed as deviant when it falls outside of those commonly shared values and norms which created the boundaries. This is because the society is making a declaration about the disposition and arrangement of their boundaries. Boundaries are not fixed to any society rather they shift as the individual’s redefine their margins and position on a larger cultural map (Erikson, 2005, p20).
To come to understand why people act with deviant behavior, we must comprehend how society brings about the
In the United States of America, societal deviance changes nearly on a daily basis. Depending on the current culture, deviance is modified to make societal heroes like celebrities, political figures, and sport players look less deviant and more like role models for the public. The change in what is considered “normal” is customarily a result of society in general. By using a reference group of people, individuals tend to identify with those who are in the lime light. Then when that role model does something appalling, the public becomes desensitized to this behavior and its abnormality and becomes less distinct thus adding to the change in social deviances.
Defining deviance as behaviour, which violates consensual social norms, also raises the questions of whose norms? Why are some norms more important than others? And why do some norms appear to serve the interests of capitalist governments and the powerful? .