Essays On Deviance And Social Control

Deviant Behavior and Social Control Essay

1906 WordsNov 26th, 20118 Pages

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…show more content…


also states that our instincts are subdued by socialization, but for some the socialization is

not adequate and this causes deviance. In behavioral theory it says that we respond to

incentives and negative sanctions. If one is rewarded for a negative behavior that they

are likely to continue that behavior. The crime as individual choice theory takes into

thought everything that could cause crime and says that if the consequences of

committing a crime are more desirable that not committing the crime than a person

will choose the one with the greater reward.

Sociologists have developed six main sociological theories of deviance. Emile Durkheim’s Anomie theory suggests that people become disconnected from society because they feel that the norms are inadequate examples for behavior. Durkheim said, “We must not say that an action shocks the common conscience because it is criminal, but rather that it is criminal because it shocks the common conscience.” The strain theory by Robert K. Merton suggests that American are geared toward deviance because of a lack of legitimate options to attain the monetary goal that Americans emphasize (Tischler, p. 146). Travis Hirschi posed the control theory which focuses on the importance of the people around you to mold you into a regular lifestyle. He said that there are four main points to why someone will become deviant or not: attachment to others, commitment to conformity, involvement

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Deviance And Social Control Essay

The concepts 'Social Control' and 'Deviance' have more than one definition to me, my understandings of these terms are that they try to group, control and define different kinds of anti-social behaviour. In this essay I will be reflecting on how certain topics have deviant labels attached to them as a result of social control. I will be explaining my initial understanding and views of these topics, going on to explain how they may have been changed, challenged or reinforced after attending lectures and using the sources available to me to expand my knowledge. Also, I will be using evidence from texts I have read to support these views and considering how these contribute to the inner-relationship between 'deviance' and social control. The key topics I will be demonstrating this with are Teenage Mothers, Eugenics, Deviant Bodies and The Cultural Degeneration of Travellers. These topics highlight key areas in which deviant labels are attached to groups of people by social control and how society has tried to control people's views in order to separate class and be in command of what should be seen as acceptable behaviour.

My understanding of social control before this module was that it encompassed the way in which a society is governed, policed, and dictated. I thought the definition of social control was about how we live our lives, and make decisions in accordance to a set of guidelines, rules and regulations that have been set out by a group of much more powerful, influential figures in society. I think that social control is not universal, all countries have completely different ways in which their society is controlled, and I also think that all societies need to be controlled in some way shape or form, although most like the idea of (social) freedom, without some form of social control there would only leave for social chaos. This understanding has been reinforced but I now understand that social control lays much more emphasis on the behaviour of individuals in the society it controls.

The knowledge I had on deviance was slightly mixed, as before this module I was unsure whether deviance and crime were related. I knew that crime is the act of disobeying the law, and I did not see that socially deviant behaviour should be classified as a criminal act. I believed deviance was more so directed to behaviour that is not socially accepted or follows social norms. For example, I think the act of being as part of a 'gang' is socially deviant behaviour but until a person within a gang has disobeyed the law and committed a crime, they are not a criminal. I believe social control has a very big influence on what society views as 'deviant' especially with teenage mothers.

My view on teenage mothers was one that was slightly biased. Being twenty one, I have many friends a few years older and around the same age as myself who have children that were conceived and/or born whilst the mother was in her teens. After seeing first-hand what a great job they...

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Comment on the main themes of the novel, particularly the focus on social control and conformity as well as individuality, self-expression and a sense of freedom:

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