A Sociological and Psychological Assessment of Crime and Deviance

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A Sociological and Psychological Assessment of Crime and Deviance

The sociology of deviance is the sociological study of deviant behavior, or the recognized violation of cultural norms. Cultural Norms are society's propensity towards certain ideals; their aversion from others; and their standard, ritualistic practices. Essentially the 'norm' is a summation of typical activities and beliefs of group of people.

There are various Sociological deviance theories, including Structuralist: why do some people break the rules? , Marxists: who makes the rules, and who benefits from their enforcement?, and Interactionist: How did this person become processed (labeled) as a deviant?

Sociology asserts that deviance is problematic, yet essential and intrinsic to any conception of Social Order. It is problematic because it disrupts but is essential because it defines the confines of our shared reality. It is intrinsic to a conception of order in that defining what is real and expected, defining what is acceptable, and defining who we are always is done in opposition to what is unreal, unexpected, or unacceptable. Sociologically, deviance can be construed as a label used to maintain the power, control, and position of a dominant group.

Deviance is a negotiated order. Deviance violates some groups assumptions about reality (social order). It violates expectations. The definition of deviance defines the threat and allows for containment and control of the threat. The definition of deviance preserves, protects, and defines group interests and in doing so maintains a sense of normalcy. Deviance can consequently be seen as a product of Social Interaction; the result of setting boundaries and limitations, rules and laws, acceptable and unacceptable.

"In sum, by deviance I mean one thing and one thing only: behavior or characteristics that some people in a society find offensive or reprehensible and that generates--or would generate if discovered--in these people disapproval, punishment, condemnation of, or hostility toward, the actor or possessor....What we have to know is, deviant to whom?" (Goode, 1994, page 29)

Psychological theories of crime and deviance really only describe the difference between supposedly ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ human characteristics. What constitutes crime or deviance is a value judgment made by humans. The behav...

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...ldren that it is okay if they want to be different, or feel that they are because everyone is unique and should not be ashamed of that. The harsher acts of deviance are still looked extremely upon as horrid, and will hopefully never change. What causes a person to act a certain way is, the least to say a controversial topic. It may be from inherited traits, learned from society and family, or even a combination of both. In this case, an exact answer will probably never be known.

Sources Cited

1. Becker, Howard S. Overview of Labeling Theories. ddemelo/crime/labeling.html.

2. Berg, Irwin A. and Bass, Bernard M. (1961). Conformity and Deviation. New York: Harper and Brothers.

3. Deviance: Behavior that Violates Norms. Http:// Academics/Social_Studies/Care/ITTP_2/Chap.8.html.

4. Four Categories of Family Functions that Seem to Promote Delinquent Behavior. Htm.

5. Lemert, Edwin M. (1972). Human Deviance, Social Problems, and Social Control. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

6. Pfuhl, Erdwin H. Jr. (1980). The Deviance Process. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company.
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