Principles of Sociology
Paper #4 Deviance
Deviance is the recognized violence of cultural norms. The concept of deviance is very broad because norms are what guide human activity. Deviant acts are known as crime, which is the violation of a society’s formally enacted criminal law. Criminal deviance varies from a wide range including minor traffic violations, and major violations such as robbery and murder. Society tries to regulate people’s thoughts and behavior through social control. Social control can be informal such as parents praising their children when they do well, or punishing them when they do something wrong. Cases of serious deviance involve the criminal justice system. How society defines deviance, who is branded as deviant, and what people decide to do about deviance all do with the way society is organized.
Psychologists think that personality is shaped primarily by social experience; which allows for deviance to be viewed as the result of unsuccessful learning within socialization. From the symbolic-interaction perspective theorist would say deviant behavior is learned or is part of socially constructed reality that emerges in interaction . Our social experiences along with the society by which we live in determine our odds of acquiring deviance. The Labeling Theory is the idea that deviance and conformity result from how others react to what people do, not necessarily the act of what they do. As far as deviance is concerned, people may define the behavior in a number of ways. Deviance can be classified as both primary and secondary. Primary deviance according to Edwin Lemert is norm violations that provoke slight reaction from other and have little effect on a person’s self-concept. In contrast Lemert refers to secondary deviance as the change in self concept, or when a person begins to employ deviant behavior as a means of defense, attack, or adjustment to the problems created by social...
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