sociology and deviance essay


“Becoming a deviant involves a social technique of definition”. The purpose of this composition is to demonstrate how this kind of sociological perspective can assist understand drug taking in society. In the essay I will discuss the notion of deviance and will display that people do not become deviants on the power of their conduct alone, although by the calamit� of a society whose rules that the offender has deemed to have violated. I will look at approaches to deviance through biological, psychological and sociological methodologies and while the examination of the theories is definitely necessarily short, it will interrogate some of the main theories relevant to deviant behaviour in contemporary society.

The essay will use Howard Becker’s labeling theory as difficulties method of understanding deviance, whilst the issue of drug abuse will be used as the specific deviant behaviour. I will also display that the notion of deviance in world is subject to change in accordance to site and period.

Deviance can be explained as behaviour which usually violates interpersonal norms or expectations of behaviour in particular circumstances (Lofland 1969, p.

1). It is important to know that deviance does not necessarily constitute against the law activity, nevertheless whilst sometimes this may be the situation, it is also authentic that conduct which may be regarded as deviant in one setting is definitely perfectly acceptable in another. The processes which determine whether a great act is usually deviant or not are usually determined within a social or perhaps historical circumstance (Henry 2009, p. 2), which by their very character are smooth and be subject to change. For example , smoking cigarettes upon aeroplanes was at one time considered regular, whereas today, such an action would be regarded deviant actions and make the smoker liable for criminal prosecution. In an attempt to make clear deviant behaviour, theorists give various details, including arguments from a biological and psychological perspective, which claim that causes of deviant behaviour need to be found within the individual (Aggleton 1987, p. 15).

Cesare Lombrosso (1835-1909), an Italian criminologist during the nineteenth century, postulated that criminals were proclaimed by particular physiognomic features or malocclusions that susceptible them to deviant behaviour; this individual “believed the criminal to be an wrong person who hadn’t evolved towards the same interpersonal and neurological level because other people”, and that they “were born using a strong propensity toward lawbreaking”(Vito and Maahs 2012, l. 81). Lombrosso theorised that the propensity toward criminality was an inherited trait, his theory of atavism recommended that legal types represented “a reduce position inside the evolutionary order” (O’Brien and Yar 08, p. 11).

Another method of understanding deviance is based on emotional causes which usually suggest that deviant behaviour features its origins in the nature of the individual (Anderson and Taylor swift 2008, g. 169). For instance , violence, from a psychological perspective, can be related to conflicting issues via childhood, and also the crime of murder could possibly be said to be the outworking of the aggressive persona; or the action may have been committed by a individual that is morally flawed. Essentially then, what we should see in biological and psychological theories suggest that the causes of deviance emanate from within the individual. In contrast to these kinds of views, sociologists have developed a variety of ideas which address the causes of deviance from numerous sociological perspectives.

Sociologists provide a number of hypotheses to explain deviance, however , they may be yet to realize a description which is universally agreed upon (Clinnard and Meier 2011, p. 74). Emile Durkheim’s (1858-1917) functionalist perspective suggests that deviance is a ethnical creation which is essentially an affirmation of cultural rules and ideals. He �vidence that deviance is beneficial for society mainly because it drives interpersonal change with out which a society might enter into atrophy or stagnation (Parrish 2010, p. 269). In response to biological answers for deviance, Robert Merton (1910-2003) difficulties this approach in citing the variations among societies inside the extent and types of deviance. Functioning from a functionalist perspective, Merton extends upon Durkheim’s work in employing his idea of anomie as the foundation for his theory in deviance.

“Merton theorised anomie is straight related to traditions (which contains goals) and social composition (which involves means) and observed deviance occurs once there exists a detachment or disjunction between the two” (Franzese 2009, p. 36). For example , females places a great emphasis around consumerism, for a few however , financial constraints rule out them coming from achieving socially desirable goals of usage. Zygmunt Bauman describes such a situation through the London riots of 2011, which this individual argues was undertaken by defective and disqualified customers who involved in deviant behaviour in order to satisfy these normally unattainable goals (Roarmag 2011).

Another way of understanding deviance is through Howard Becker’s labelling point of view, which holds that “Social groups create deviance by causing the rules whose infraction makes up deviance, through applying those rules to particular people and labelling them because outsiders” (1963, p. 9). Essentially then simply, the sociology of deviance speaks to the processes that divide world into several types of people and the social effects of these processes.

In all on this it is important to note that there is not any suggestion the fact that act on its own is innately deviant, but rather the transgressing of socially determined best practice rules has positioned the transgressor in a position outside of the boundaries of social acceptability, (Shepard 2010, p. 182) and therefore the person is considered to be deviant in the eyes of regular society. The idea of deviance is broadly assigned to particular behaviors in particular settings. For example , smoking cigarettes marijuana mainly street of the Australian town is considered a deviant act, however , the same activity occurring as a religious activity in India might be perfectly satisfactory. The additional consideration is usually deviant conduct relative to period. The use of marijuana in the USA for example was legal before the 1930s and therefore was not considered deviant behaviour. Today, it is punishable by law.

Just how then are we socialised? What are the important thing socialising providers that trigger individuals within society to interact in behavior which is noticed by the majority as deviant? In applying drug tradition as an example, the principal claim of this essay is that the socialising real estate agents of medicine users came from a learned behavior, a tendencies that had been trained from the discussion amid sub cultures, alternative beliefs and learning approaches that are not the normal teachings of any particular tradition and not endorsed in the ordre society. This really is demonstrated through the studies done by Howard Becker on marijuana work with. Becker held the belief that in a similar manner that people learn how to become anything at all in world, some discover how to become medication users by using a specific formula:

An individual will be able to use marijuana for delight only when he (1) discovers to smoking it in a way that will produce real effects; (2) learns to recognize the consequences and hook up them with medicine use; and (3) understands to enjoy the sensation he perceives (1953).

Becker, in performing interviews with fifty pot users, contended that the learning process of medication use requires the individual to overcome selected fears and insecurities associated with the effects of the drug to be able to progress from novice to experienced consumer. The modification from new user to experienced user is summed up simply by Becker when he recounts an episode where a new customer was overcome by fear and hysteria. An experienced consumer who witnessed the instance exclaimed “She’s dragged because she’s large like that. I’d give anything to get that high personally. I haven’t been that high in years” (1953). Through this statement we come across clear evidence that Becker’s theory of learned medicine use holds true. Clearly, the knowledgeable drug user i visited one time a novice, who progressed through Becker’s hypothesised three step process and thus become transformed into an experienced drug user.

The process that Becker explains and the causing transformation of the individual demonstrates that drug work with has become normalised for that person; to the level that they become what Becker refers to as a great outsider, who have at the severe “develop total – broken ideologies detailing why they can be right and why people who disapprove of and penalize them are wrong” (1963 l. 9). And so essentially then, though the person may have been an ordinary functioning person in society prior to undergoing the transformation to drug user, this new status today affords them to being perceived as a cultural deviant. This is certainly known as marking theory, if a person engages in activities which have been considered to be contrary to social norms of a particular location, agencies of cultural control, like the police, educators and others in positions of power apply these brands to which the person designated while deviant comes to accept, unless they cease the deviant activity.

While the initial act of making use of the drug is called primary deviance, when the branded person welcomes this deviant label and identifies themselves primarily because deviant, having adopted a lifestyle around the deviant behaviour, this can be known as extra deviance (Shepard 2010, s. 183). Extra deviance in that case has the a result of deviance extreme, where the deviant behaviour turns into a greater portion of the persons id and as they become “re-socialised in a deviant role”.

At this point their particular behaviour shows a reaction towards the problems made as a consequence of the societal response to their deviance and they turn into increasingly “locked within their deviant role” (Siegel and Welsh 2009, g. 181). So in this sort of the drug user, secondary deviance can be thus powerful which it becomes the “person’s expert status, normally the one considered the most significant in a persons social identity” (Mooney ou al. 2012, p. 7). Merton alluded to this circumstance as a personal fulfilling prediction (Samaha 2006, p. 90).

What is deviance? How do persons become deviants? Who makes a decision what deviance is? How come deviance occur and in what ways does it impact world? These are inquiries that have been asked by sociologists for many years and questions this essay offers attempted to response. It has been displayed through a number of methodologies, such as biological, emotional and sociological, that various explanations may be arrived at. This essay hasn’t attempted to claim that one strategy offers a definitive comprehension of deviance in society, it has demonstrated however , that in interrogating diverse approaches, every will provide a unique explanation that adds to an overall understanding of the problems of deviance in world.

What the essay has shown certainly, is that deviance is actions that violates the rules or anticipated behaviours of any given world. That said, this may vary in as much that it must be subject to cultural settings and time. Many ways in which deviance can be played out out in lifespan of an individual has been shown in the case examine on medication use. Through the lens of Howard Becker’s labeling theory, the specific ways deviant behavior violates the norms of society has become demonstrated. Finally, it has been displayed that deviance, in the words of Becker, “is not only a quality of the act a person does but rather a consequence of the application of rules and sanctions to an offender”… Deviant behavior is that which in turn people in positions of power in society have so marked.


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  • Category: science
  • Words: 2166
  • Pages: 8
  • Project Type: Essay