Sociology and Deviance

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Deviance
Richard Bernal
Intro to Sociology
Professor Mondoga Mokoli
3/7/13

What is deviance? 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. 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...
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