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Explain Why Is It Important To Analyse Deviance In Society. Using Examples To Illustrate Your Answer, Discuss What Such An Analysis Can Tell Us About The Social And Political Implications Of Deviance.

1372 words - 5 pages

The expression, deviance draws reference to frown upon behaviour in a social context; the breach of various concerted norm that generally exist in a community or in society (Newman 2004). Some types of deviance are determined by criminal law, others by social standards, morality, the expectations of certain social groups, the welfare system or the medical vocation (Roach-anleu 2003).It is subjective to classify what is regarded as deviant since norms and values vary across nations and culture. Various forms of action or behaviour may well be respected in one context, or by certain groups, but may also be viewed negatively by others (Giddens 2001:687). In this essay, we will look at the significance of analyzing deviance through its functions in society, the impact of power on what constitutes deviance, where two theoretical approaches will be highlighted, namely the Conflict Theory and significantly the Labeling Theory, in the context of homosexuality. We will further examine the social and political implications deriving from the Labeling Theory in particular, such as the notion of stigma and its consequences.It is paradoxical that deviance is simultaneously pathological and contributory to the make-up of society; deviant behaviour conventionally denotes the violation of social norms, on the other hand deviance is normal and universal, and actually helps maintain social order to a certain extend. To understand the importance of deviance in society, we must first determine the functions of deviance in a social context. Firstly, deviance elucidates shared values and norms. The establishment of a margin between acceptable behaviour and deviant behaviour helps sustain morality. With the absence of deviance, there would not be conformity in society. Secondly, by addressing deviance through social control allow people to have a clear definition of what constitutes deviance, and seeks to foster and maintain the perimeters on the moral community. Also, responding to deviance reinforces social cohesion by making people more mindful of shared values and norms, hence bringing members in unity through the common indignation against the deviant. Lastly, deviance foster social change; norm-breaking behaviour challenges the status quo by pushing the limitations of the community, in doing so, proposing alternative ways of social conduct (Holmes, Hughes & Julian: 2003).The study of deviance, hence, is directly linked to social power and the influence of social class - the divisions between the privileged and the poor. The shared system of beliefs, values and ideas are framed by those in power and control, which justifies the interests of the dominant groups (Giddens: 2001). This brings us to the examination of the theoretical approaches in the studies of homosexuality as a deviant act. The Conflict Theory suggests that deviance is intentionally chosen and often political by nature. Individuals principally choose to take on deviant behaviour in response to...

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