Essays On Deviance And Social Control

Deviant Behavior and Social Control Essay

1906 WordsNov 26th, 20118 Pages

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…show more content…


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 common conscience.” The strain theory by Robert K. Merton suggests that American are geared toward deviance because of a lack of legitimate options to attain the monetary goal that Americans emphasize (Tischler, p. 146). Travis Hirschi posed the control theory which focuses on the importance of the people around you to mold you into a regular lifestyle. He said that there are four main points to why someone will become deviant or not: attachment to others, commitment to conformity, involvement

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As we all have observed, throughout history each culture or society has unique norms that are acceptable to that group of people. Therefore, to establish and come to the acceptance of these basic norms, each society must develop its’ own strategies and techniques to encourage the fundamentals of behavior, which is clear in our modern society. Most do assume that everyone in a society will follow and respect such norms. However, some tend to deviate from the adequate norms and demonstrate deviant behavior. Nevertheless, we are inclined to ask ourselves, why do people decide to violate such important standards of living? To come to understand why people act with deviant behavior, we must comprehend how society brings about the…show more content…

According to the control theory, as we network with the members of our society we will ultimately conform to these norms. Hence, those who violate these norms result in exhibiting deviance, or a behavior that violates society’s social standards. A person can gain this deviant behavior by physical or behavioral traits, thus acquiring a negative or positive social stigma. The term stigma is used to categorize the labels a society uses to diminish a definite group of people. Unfortunately, most people are stigmatized by their past acts of deviant behavior that they may not be engaging in, for example an ex-convict or ex- mental patient. Technology and new innovations have also contributed to having an influence in social interactions and standards of behavior. Many of the illegal acts done in the internet including pirating software or music have no social stigma attached to them due the approval of the online community. At the same time as people continue to disobey social norms and deviate from societal expectations, sociologist draw to five sociological perspectives to explain deviance. From the functionalist perspective, Robert Merton adapted Durkheim’s idea of anomie to explain why people act in certain ways. The anomie theory of deviance states “that people adapt in certain ways either by conforming to or by deviating from cultural expectations” (Schaefer, 2009). According to this theory it can include

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