Limitations of theories of sociology of deviance

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Theories of Deviance are limited in their ability to explain deviant acts if one adopts the view that these theories are universal. There is no universal, right or wrong theory, rather each theory provides a different perspective which only "fully makes sense when set within an appropriate societal context and values framework" . The functionalist theories share a common structural explanation of causes of deviance . They assume that conformity in society is achieved through the existence of norms and values shared by the general consensus and that a high level of social integration is required for society to function successfully . Merton's Anomie of Strain theory hypothesises that deviant behaviour is the result of a "disjunction…show more content…
The limitation of the differential association theory lay in the question: if deviant behaviour is learned and is indeed "contagious", then why do so many in high crime areas, including criminals own siblings not become criminals? . Sociological conceptions, which regard an individual as a hapless victim of pernicious influences, are limited in providing a critical explanation of deviance, as they ignore the role of personal choice . When so many limitations of the functionalist theory are put forward it is difficult for one to submit to this theory as one of universal application. The conception of consensual norms and values presents one of the major limitations of the functionalist theory. By accepting the status quo in terms of core values, functionalist theories fail to explain how structural inequality contributes to deviance . 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? . The interactionist theory regards deviance as an outcome of the labelling interaction process occurring between people . Thus "deviance...... is a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender" . Becker argues that there is no such thing as an
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