Deviant Behavior and Social Control

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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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There are three main psychological theories; psychoanalytic, behavioral, and

crime as individual choice. They focus on the factors of the role of parents and one’s

early life. Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory which focuses on

someone’s unconscious. He suggests that there are three parts to the personality, the id,

the superego, and the ego, and that the id holds our natural instincts (Tischler, p.145). He

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
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