Deviant Behavior and Social Control

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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 deviant and

criminal behavior is what led to the emergence of certain laws, and it is these laws that

govern the punishment for the crime. Felony crimes in the United States can range from

murder to burglary, both come with penalties of imprisonment. There are four main

goals of imprisonment, one of which is rehabilitation. The statistics show that this goal

of rehabilitation is not being achieved because inmates being released have a high rate

of committing a crime within three years. Is imprisonment the proper punishment for

certain crimes? I pose the following questions for discussion:

What makes for deviant behavior and what are the theories behind

What type of crimes exist in the United States?

What parts of the court and prison system are effective, and which

parts are ineffective?

1. What makes for deviant behavior, and what are the theories behind deviance?

Truthfully, deviance is only in the eyes of the beholder. In India it is considered

a highly sexual act to kiss your loved one and is only done in the confines of privacy. If

someone were to get on the ground and start praying during certain times in public in the

United States, they would be looked upon with views of anything from disgust to

misunderstanding. The act of cannibalism is something that is looked upon negatively in

almost every society. There is both positive and negative affects of deviant behavior on a

society. On the positive side it will force a group to become more organized, help clarify

their beliefs, and develop the norms. On the negative side it will weaken the trust, make

situations unpredictable, and cause for the reallocation of resources (Tischler, p.140).

There are theories to as why deviant behavior exists and they are put into three main

focus areas: biological theories of deviance, psychological theories of deviance, and

sociological theories of deviance.

The biological theory of deviance focuses on the traits that were inherited

(Tischler, p.143). Certain sociologists developed their theories based on the size and

shape of one’s body. Lesare Lombroso studied the skulls of criminals and concluded

that they had more of an ape like shape. William H. Sheldon followed Lombroso’s lead

and categorized humans in three body types: endomorphic, ectomorphic, and

mesomorphic. He concluded that endomorphs were relaxed, ectomorphs tend to be

timid, and mesomorphs are aggressive. He also studied juvenile boys and saw that the

mesomorphs were more likely to be delinquent. The most recent studies have stated that

traits are passed from parent to child that cause the child to be more susceptible to

impulsive and negative acts. They also show that poor parenting could cause a lower

serotonin level, which leads to aggressive behavior.

There are three main psychological theories; psychoanalytic, behavioral, and

crime as individual choice. They focus on the factors of the role of parents and one’s

early life. Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory which focuses on

someone’s unconscious. He suggests that there are three parts...
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