Deviance And Social Change : Deviance Essay

Deviance And Social Change : Deviance Essay

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Kiara Rivera
SOC 295 Section E01
April 28th, 2015
Deviance and Social Change
Deviance as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is, “The fact or state of departing from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behavior.” These “usual or accepted standards” are more often referred to as social norms. Sociologist, Emile Durkheim, identified four functions of deviance. The first two “affirming cultural norms” and “clarifying moral boundaries” are a result of the punishment of deviant behavior. So, if someone performs and action that is considered deviant and is punished for it, as a society we are more affirmed of what is considered right/wrong. They are not justified in being deviant, as their actions are usually deemed morally wrong. The other two functions “promoting social unity” and “encouraging social change” are a result of more complex issues within a society. (David Emile Durkheim). Oftentimes, groups within a society are underrepresented and become frustrated with their unjustly inferior position. In an effort to obtain equality and push back against oppressors, the group will unite and perform acts considered deviant to the existing norms within that society. This group’s deviant behavior becomes frequent and large scale and is often referred to as a social movement. Social movements have oftentimes resulted in social change and stated in the last of Durkheim’s four functions of deviance.
The films, Fiddler on the Roof, Thelma and Louise, and Avatar, depict individuals who are part of larger scale deviance. Each of these films illustrates a deviant individual sharing the common goal of larger deviating group. That is, to deviate with the purpose of creating a social movement that will ultimately result in soc...


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...irectly/indirectly supporting what can be considered necessary social change. So, as members of society it is in our best interest to approach deviance first with learning and then understanding. Once understanding has been achieved, society can then accurately make decisions in terms of punishing the deviant behavior, or accepting it as a call for change.






Works Cited
Brereton, Pat. Hollywood Utopia: Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
David Emile Durkheim. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. .
Discovering Sociology. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Lauderdale, Pat. "Deviance and Moral Boundaries." American Sociological Review: n. pag. Print.
Miller, Barbara L. "The Gun-in-the-Handbag, a Critical Contriversy, and a Primal Scene." Reel Knockouts: Violent Women in the Movies. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 200-18. Print.

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