preview

Theories that Explain Deviance

Better Essays
Deviance is a behavior, trait, belief, or other characteristic that violates a norm and causes a negative reaction in a group. The definition of deviance varies widely across cultures, time, and situations. Some of the different deviances that our culture encounters is: body modifications, being overweight, exc. I personal have experienced being treated as devein because since high school to now in collage I have had a mohawk off and on. This is nothing to extreme when talking about the world of deviance but none the less it is an experience that has changed my view on how people are judged. When sociologists use the word "deviant," they are making a social judgment but never a moral judgment. If a particular behavior is considered deviant, it means that it goes against the normal values of a particular group but may not necessarily be that it is inherently bad. In short it means that someone is different from the culture that they live in or are around. A considerably amount of the academic papers on deviance focus on crimes and how dissimilar cultures describe very different acts as criminal or how the crimes are punished. For an example in our culture woman can go out on their own but in the Middle East they have to be accompanied by a man and can be punished. Some of the different theories of deviance are as follows. Functionalists debate that deviance aids a social function by illuminating moral boundaries and encouraging social cohesion. Whereas conflict theorists believe that a society’s inequalities are reproduced in its definitions of deviance, so that less powerful groups are more likely to be deemed deviant and criminalized. In Merton’s structural strain theory claims that the tension or strain among socially acceptable... ... middle of paper ... ...ead to these patterns of criminal behavior. There is an ongoing debate about the role of punishment in the criminal justice system, a collection of social institutions that create and enforce laws. Deterrence is a method to punish that depend on the threat of a strict penalty to discourage individuals from committing the crimes. Retribution is a method to punish that stresses vengeance or payback for the crime as the suitable goal. Incapacitation is a method to punish that seeks to defend society from criminals by imprisoning or executing them. Finally, rehabilitation is an approach to punish that tries to reform criminals as part of their penalty. Positive deviance discusses to actions well-thought-out deviant inside a given situation, but which are later reinterpreted as suitable. And this can result in a change of the social norms in a culture for the better.
Get Access