Bullying: Sociology and Socially Accepted Goals

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 9 (2504 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Defining Deviance
Many sociologists agree that there is no simple definition of the term deviance and proposed that deviance refers to the behaviours that violate social norms of a society. Downes and Rock, suggest that ‘deviance’ may be considered as banned or controlled behaviour which is likely to attract punishment or disapproval (1988, p. 28).

Some Deviant behaviour that can be found in Schools:
• Bullying

• Fighting

• Graffiti

• Vandalism

• Gang Violence

Theories of Deviance
A number of theories related to deviance have emerged within the past 50 years (Clifford, 1960). Five of the most well-known theories on deviance are as follows: 1. Differential-association theory

Control theory

Labeling theory

Anomie theory

Strain theory

1. Differential-association theory

Edwin Sutherland coined the phrase differential association to address the issue of how people learn deviance. According to this theory, the environment plays a major role in deciding which norms students learn to violate. People also learn their norms from various socializing agents—parents, teachers, ministers, family, friends, co-workers, and the media. In short, people learn criminal behaviour, like other behaviours, from their interactions with others, especially in intimate groups (Surtherland 1993). The differential-association theory applies to many types of deviant behaviour. For example, juvenile gangs provide an environment in which young people learn to become criminals. These gangs define themselves as countercultural and glorify violence, retaliation, and crime as means to achieving social status. Gang members learn to be deviant as they embrace and conform to their gang's norms.

2. Anomie Theory
Anomie refers to the confusion that arises when social norms conflict or do not even exist (Merton, 1960). Robert Merton (1960) used the term anomie to describe the differences between socially accepted goals and the availability of means to achieve those goals. Merton stressed, that attaining wealth is a major goal of Americans, but not all Americans possess the means to do this, especially members of minority and disadvantaged groups. Anomie Theory & Deviance

Those who find the “road to riches” closed to them experience anomie, because an obstacle has thwarted their pursuit of a socially approved goal. When this happens, these individuals may employ deviant behaviours to attain their goals and retaliate against society. [pic]

Control Theory
According to Walter Reckless's control theory, both inner and outer controls work against deviant tendencies. People may want—at least some of the time—to act in deviant ways, but most do not. They have various restraints: inner and outer. Control Theory& Deviance

Travis Hirschi noted that these inner and outer restraints form a person's self-control, which prevents acting against social norms. The key to developing self-control is proper socialization, especially early in childhood. Fro example, Students who lack this self-control, then, may grow up to commit crimes and other deviant behaviours. Internal controls Outer controls:

• Consciencepolice
• Valuesfamily
• Integrityfriends
• Morality and religious authorities
the desire to be a “good person.

3. Labelling Theory
arose from the study of deviance in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Labelling theory is concerned with the meanings people derive from one another's labels, symbols, actions, and reactions. This theory holds that behaviours are deviant only when society labels them as deviant. A person becomes the thing they are described as being. Labelling Theory & Deviance

Although, students from both groups committed crimes, the students from respectable families were perceived to be “good” because of their polite behaviour. Those from the other group are seen as “bad” because of their insolent behaviour...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • bullying Essay
  • bullying Essay
  • Sociology Essay
  • Sociology Essay
  • sociology Essay
  • Sociology Essay
  • sociology Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free