Throwing Rocks At A Brick Wall : Social Construction Of Deviance

2410 Words Aug 3rd, 2014 10 Pages
Jasmine Tekiyeh
Anthropology 135S
Muriel Vernon
Final Paper

Throwing rocks at a Brick Wall: Social Construction of Deviance

Whether we choose to admit it or remain completely oblivious, our world is composed of social norms that govern our everyday actions. Everything from brushing our teeth to wearing appropriate clothing in public is predetermined and dictated by society. Violation of these established rules inevitably earn an individual a label of “weird,” “abnormal” or “deviant.” The concept of deviance as been debunked by a plethora of scholars—many of whom have adopted an anthropological perspective on the issue. Collectively, their theories and arguments portray the intricacy of the deviant phenomenon and its embedment within the intersection of cultural, political and social ideas. Before diving into how social construction is maintained, it’s important to provide some context on the issue. John Curra in his article The Relativity of Deviance argues, “the only way to understand deviance as a cultural construct is by using social variables such as power, conflict, norms, labeling culture…cause, blame, social relations…” (Curra, 2011, Preface). His argument proves the source of deviance to be a divergence from socially hegemonic standards. Curra further proposes that society conditions individuals to view “human diversity” as “social deviance by altering how attitudes, behaviors, and conditions are defined and understood,” (Curra, 2011: 15). Ruth Benedict…

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