Sociology and Deviance

Deviance Richard Bernal Intro to Sociology Professor Mondoga Mokoli 3/7/13 What is deviance? - Sociology and Deviance introduction?? According to John Macionis, deviance is the recognized violation of cultural norms. It is such a broad concept that it is in all human activities; therefore, we can say that crime is a form of deviance. Of course, crime is also a broad subject its own. Not all deviance involves action or even choice. Its aim is to understand empirically and to develop and test theories explaining criminal and deviant behavior, the formation and enforcement of laws, and the operation of criminal processing systems (Macionis, 2010).

The study of deviance can be divided into the study of why people violate laws or norms and the study of how society reacts. This reaction includes the labeling process by which deviance comes to be recognized as such. The societal reaction to deviant behavior suggests that social groups actually create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance and by applying those rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders (Crossman, 2013). What are the functions of deviance? According to Durkheim there is nothing abnormal about deviance.

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He says that it performs four essential functions. The first is that deviance affirms cultural values and norms. The second is responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries. The third is responding to deviance brings people together. The last one is deviance encourages social change (Macionis, 2010). In the next paragraph, I will go into more detail about each of the functions. People usually prefer some attitudes and behaviors to others. Deviance is needed to define and support morality. When defining who are deviant and who are not, people draw a boundary between right and wrong.

People will start to react to the more serious deviance with outrage. This is what brings people together. An example is the September 11, 2001 attack. People joined to protect the country. Today’s deviance can become tomorrow’s morality. Rock-and-Roll music is a great example. In the 1950’s, it was condemned as immoral and now it is a multibillion-dollar industry (Macionis, 2010). Edwin Lemert explained what primary and secondary deviance is. For primary deviance, he explains that skipping school for example provokes a slight reaction from others and have a little effect on a person’s self-concept.

When he talks about secondary deviance, he says that someone who is an alcoholic gets “shunned” from his friends and seeks out those who will accept the drinking habits. He says that this is the mark o a deeper deviant identity (Macionis, 2010). Travis Hirschi has his own control theory. These include: attachment, opportunity, involvement, and belief. He explains that the stronger that these four things are, they are less likely to be deviant. This can true for the opposite. If they are weak in these four things, they are likely to be deviant (Macionis, 2010).

Society has always said that someone who have a strong social attachment, who are seeking opportunity, who are involve in activities, and have a strong belief in something are most likely to be a outstanding citizen. Though this is true, I have learned that even the best of people can become deviant. According to Edwin Sutherland, a person’s tendency toward conformity or deviance depends on the amount of contact with others who encourage or reject conventional behavior. This is theory on differential association.

There have been a number of research studies that confirm the idea that young people are more likely to engage in delinquency. How do we try to control this? Societies seek to ensure that their members conform to the basic norms by means of social control. Three main types of social control processes operate within social life: (1) those that lead us to internalize our society’s normative expectations (internalization), (2) those that structure our world of social experience, and (3) those that employ various formal and informal social sanctions (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2002).

We can understand more about this and what causes deviance but we may never be able to fully control it. Works Cited Crossman, A. (2013). Sociology of Deviance and Crime. Retrieved from About: http://sociology. about. com/od/Disciplines/a/Sociology-Of-Deviance-Crime. htm Macionis, J. J. (2010). Deviance. In J. J. Macionis, Sociology (pp. 216-229). Upper Sadle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. McGraw-Hill Higher Education. (2002). Deviance and Crime Chaper Summery. Retrieved from Online Learning Center:

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