Throwing Rocks At A Brick Wall : Social Construction Of Deviance

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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…show more content…
A cross-cultural examination of certain deviant acts surface interesting observations of both the root of function of deviance in that given society. This observation will illustrate how the ways in which deviance is viewed in a specific culture is not universal. The author also touches upon how the “concept of normal” is equated with the “concept of good”; therefore, by consequence, anything remotely outside this pre-established box is viewed in a negative manner (Benedict 1934:4). The category of deviance is employed by society as a strategic means of reducing diversity, maintaining order and above else, upholding the social norm. Individuals who threaten this system are immediately labeled as evil wrongdoers who are then treated differently on every level. A further scholar, Erikson, compares the social system to a “nucleus, “which” draws the behavior of actors toward [itself] within range of basic norms,” (Erikson 1962: 309). This analogy provides powerful imagery of how the social system functions and the reason for why deviance is seen as such a threatening act. He further draws a comparison between the law and the norm arguing that both are reinforced by consistently being “used as a basis for judgment,” (Erikson 1962: 310). The entanglement of
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