Deviance and Social Control

1558 WordsApr 13, 20067 Pages
Deviance is any infraction of norms, whether the violation being minor as jaywalking or as significant as raping someone. So you and I every day violate these societal norms no matter how big or small they may be. The heart of deviance is best explained by sociologist Howard S. Becker (1966), "It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant." Different groups have different norms, maybe something deviant to a particular person may not be deviant to another (Henslin 2005: pg. 134). This principle holds within a society as well cross-culturally. A specific form of deviance is a crime, or the infringement of rules that are written laws. Like the norms, a crime in one culture can be applauded by another. To…show more content…
Our inner controls also include our inner morality, for example; our conscience, religious values, ideas of right and wrong. Inner controls intrinsically also include fears of castigation, integrity and the want to be a "good" person. Outer controls on the other hand comprise of people, friends and authority, who influence us not to deviate. A good example of this is my life would be the issue of drinking. Even though I do not drink alcohol personally, it is very tempting to do so. Everyone seems to drink, and at times I get pressured to do so. But fortunately, I turn down the peer pressure. In the case of labeling theory, which concentrates on the importance of labels (names, reputations) that people give us. "Labels tend to become a part of our self-concept and help to set us on paths that either propel us into to divert us from deviance" (Henslin 2005: pg. 140). Going back to the label of the students in the movie of Stand and Deliver, the students were labeled as "stupid, poor and useless". But in fact, as we can see, that is not the case and succeeded despite the criticism of outsiders and sadly, the insiders of the school system as well. When one thinks of deviance, it's the dysfunctions of society that are likely to be thought of first. On the contrary, functionalists are as probable to accentuate the functions of deviance as they as they emphasize dysfunctions. Society as a whole, is distressed about deviance, especially crime, and presumes that
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