Essay on Sociology of Deviance Midterm

1977 Words Feb 5th, 2013 8 Pages
Jennifer Nieto-Robinson
Professor McBroom
Sociology of Deviance Midterm 326

1) What do sociologists mean when they describe deviance as being relative? Provide an example of a deviant behavior and identify how it is relative.
Deviance is behavior that a considerable number of people in a society view as reprehensible and beyond the limits of tolerance. In most cases it is both negatively valued and provokes hostile reactions. Deviance does not exist independently of norms. Without norms, and without the application of norms in interpreting behavior, there is no deviance. Society bases their views on what is considered appropriate by the majority of people within that society or culture. So in rural Utah seeing two men hold hands
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Then choose a deviant act and utilize the theory to explain why people engage in such behaviors.

When thinking of deviance the first thought that comes to mind is someone who would be considered abusive, incapable of following directions or rules, or completely aggressive in nature and is unable to live among society for fear of what he/she may do to themselves or others. Fortunately there are other views and ideas of what deviance means, and it is different in every society. The word deviance even means different things if it is defined under a different perspective such as sociological, biological, or psychological. For sociologist deviant behavior is the behavior that fails to conform to the rules or norms of the group in question. (Durkheim, 1960) So if we are to determine whether an act is deviant or not, it is relative to the group who is enforcing the rule. This view is based on society as a whole and how they choose to govern themselves. Under the biological view of deviance, the belief is that deviant behavior is something that you are born with, not something you acquire. It is not necessarily genetically inherent, but it does allow for a susceptibility of deviance. “Melnick believed that certain individuals inherit an autonomous nervous system that is slow to be aroused or react to stimuli. Such individuals are then slow to learn control of aggressive or antisocial behavior.”(Melnick, 1977) Now