Deviant Behavior and Social Control Essay

1906 Words Feb 16th, 2012 8 Pages
Deviant Behavior and Social Control

Deviance is only considered to be deviance when the actions go against what are

considered the norms of the group. Is a group of cannibals in the South American jungle

eating fellow human beings considered deviant behavior? Is kissing your loved one in a

public place to show affection considered deviant behavior? What about a person laying

down a small rug and praying wherever they are at certain times throughout the day.

There is no definite answer to the questions previously posed. Deviant behavior is a part

of every society, but is it a necessary part of society and what causes it? There are many

theories on what may cause deviance, but no single one is correct. This
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also states that our instincts are subdued by socialization, but for some the socialization is

not adequate and this causes deviance. In behavioral theory it says that we respond to

incentives and negative sanctions. If one is rewarded for a negative behavior that they

are likely to continue that behavior. The crime as individual choice theory takes into

thought everything that could cause crime and says that if the consequences of

committing a crime are more desirable that not committing the crime than a person

will choose the one with the greater reward.

Sociologists have developed six main sociological theories of deviance. Emile Durkheim’s Anomie theory suggests that people become disconnected from society because they feel that the norms are inadequate examples for behavior. Durkheim said, “We must not say that an action shocks the common conscience because it is criminal, but rather that it is criminal because it shocks the common conscience.” The strain theory by Robert K. Merton suggests that American are geared toward deviance because of a lack of legitimate options to attain the monetary goal that Americans emphasize (Tischler, p. 146). Travis Hirschi posed the control theory which focuses on the importance of the people around you to mold you into a regular lifestyle. He said that there are four main points to why someone will become deviant or not: attachment to others, commitment to conformity, involvement…

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