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Deviance Is Relative Essay

1555 words - 6 pages

“Deviance is Relative” is a controversial topic that has caused intrigued sociologists to have debates in order to come to a conclusion. Because there is no absolute standard application towards deviating behavior, we can only gain knowledge through practical implications, main ideas, and concepts & processes.
Practical Implications of “Deviance is Relative”
There is no absolute way of defining deviating acts. Deviance can only be defined in a relation to certain norms, but no standards are permanent. Norms can involve being within stereotypical viewpoints. Counter-stereotypical behavior may be viewed as acts of deviance; Phelan and Rudman defined backlash effects as “social and economic penalties for counter-stereotypical behavior” (2008). Phelan and Rudman concluded “When stereotypes are violated, people take notice.” I have seen people take notice of two men holding hands. Phelan, J. E., and Rudman, L. A. provided a few examples of the effects of deviance. A particular female puffing on a cylindrical roll of tobacco sticks out like a sore thumb in a gathering. The testosterone-infused male crying in a food market can hold the eyes of the shoppers. Our curiosity is poked whenever people stray from social norms, subsequently, becoming the center of attention is not the only result (2010). Proven by researchers, Deviators can go through punishment, social and economic. Punishment refers to positive or negative sanctions that follow deviating behavior such as a reward, being put on trial, death and so forth.
Main Ideas, Concrete Examples, and Issues
Deviance is reflected in social control system, medicalization of deviance, and white collar crime. Social control system can be defined as a group’s formal and informal means of enforcing its norms: Through sanctions, society can enforce its norms. Without sanctions, society will not have any means of enforcement. If society does not have any means of enforcing its norms, then that means anyone can do anything he/she wants. Without laws, society will become anarchy. An example is a murderer breaking the law and killing another human being for religious purposes. He will experience negative sanctions. He will either be on the run, in detention, or facing capital punishment. Because of possible circumstances, sanctions are necessary. Medicalization of deviance means to make deviance a medical matter; a symptom of some underlying illness that needs to be treated by physicians. Certain acts of deviance can be a sign of mental illness: Rape, murder, stealing, cheating and so on. Mental illness can stand for illogical thinking process. Thomas Szasz argues that “mental illnesses are neither mental nor illnesses. They are simply problem behaviors.” The problem with his theory is behavior results from thinking. Before a person is raped, the rapist contemplates about the most efficient way to rape someone. His contemplation or thinking process happened before his behavior. Another example is...

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