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Sociology Paper, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 613

Essay

Introduction

The concept of deviance is related to that of power.  Those people who are involved in the determination of deviance have more power than those who are without it. Deviance is caused by the political and economic forces in society. In conflict theory deviance differs from that of crime by the manner in which the needs are controlled by society. “Social -control theory argues that deviance is largely a matter of failed social controls. Merton believes that the strain between the norms that define socially appropriate goals and the norms that specify socially appropriate means for attaining these goals creates an atmosphere in which deviance will appear” (Sociology Guide).

Concepts

Defining what constitutes deviant behaviour can prove difficult. Killing someone in western society my certainly be construed as an act of deviant behaviour.  However with the Eskimos it has been routinely accepted that killing the disabled, infirm or very elderly may be acceptable circumstances. (Aggleton)In the 1950’s sociologists had a very transparent view of deviant behaviour. Those who transgressed the acceptable rules of human society were considered to be deviants.   The concept of being deviant and breaking criminal laws is a somewhat of a grey area. Person smoking marijuana may be doing so as a means to counteract pain or a means of relaxing and as such might be perfectly acceptable in certain communities, nevertheless it contravenes the law.

Current theories on deviance illustrate where rules concerning the governance of one aspect of human behaviour is found to be contradictory to another i.e.  Rules for a workforce posted by the employer and showing a course of action that is required to be followed whilst the company pursues an entirely opposite policy.  This sort of ambiguity creates a serious issue for the employee as by following one set of demands he violates another (the company policy statement). (Ericson).  Two examples of deviance in foreign countries are:  (1) The way women are treated in Pakistan and the concept of throwing acid in peoples face is a deviant behaviour compared to western society values (2)  The way people both read and write in the Arabic community is from right to left; this as opposed to the reverse order in most parts of the Western World.

Deviance in Society Today

Essentially deviance may be considered violating what is accepted as cultural normalities.  Parts of this may be criminal offenses towards society and include items like prostitution, sexual assaults, acts of murder and deviant sexual behaviour.  Other aspects may be non-criminal but considered as anti-social acts that include acts of non-conformity, breaking rules of society and social revolutionaries etc.  In the 1960’s Hippies were considered as deviants because they had long hair, wore flamboyant dresses and were associated with smoking marijuana.  They rejects the accepted norms of society in favour of a more free and liberated society.  As such deviance varies within acceptable cultural norms. Religion can play a part in this doctrine and it can be difficult for Western Christians to accept the more fundamental behavioural patterns of the Islamic culture and more orthodox Jewish culture.  In our society this may be looked upon as deviant behaviour but in the Middle East and Israel these may be considered as the norm. As such deviance is often the way people define and view it from a particular perspective. The latest example being the smoking of marijuana and how this is becoming legalised or accepted behavior in a number of different American States e.g. Washington and Colorado.

Works Cited

Aggleton, P. Deviance Society Now. London: Tavistock Pulications, 1984.

Ericson, K.T. “Notes on the sociology of deviance.” Social Problems No 9 (4) (1962): 307-314.

Sociology Guide. Questions on Deviance and Social Control. 27 11 2010. http://www.sociologyguide.com/questions/deviance-socialcontrol.php. 7 11 2012.

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