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The Sociology Of Deviance Disputing It Is Dead

2379 words - 10 pages

Sociologists suggest deviance is a violation of any societal norm. Yet some have suggested deviance is a socially outmoded concept based on a Durkheim’s model of social solidarity. Therefore suggesting now it is obsolete, there is no longer a use for it in a (post) modern progressive and diverse society like Australia. According to Roach Anleu (2004) Colin Sumner was one such claimant. Sumner suggested that the sociological concept of deviance and any coherent theoretical development stagnated in mid 1970s, as no agreement on how deviance should be set never happened, therefore there was never an answer to the question, “deviant from what”? Secondly, Sumner states there is no explanation for ...view middle of the document...

This does not necessarily mean that society considers all crime as deviant behaviour. For example, even, though a person may get a parking fine others may not consider him deviant. This paper is going to argue that the Durkheim’s sociology of deviance still plays an effective role in our society.
Emile Durkheim often referred to as the founder of the normative/functionalist theories was interested in what holds society together. In the Division of Labor in Society (1983), he suggests two types of social solidarity (law), mechanical and organic. Society prior to the changes brought about by industrialisation tended to be of mechanical solidarity. They tended to be small societies with a high degree of religious commitment, with a low division of labour meaning they often had the same job and responsibilities. These societies were not very complex, but based on shared sentiments and responsibilities. As people moved from rural to urban communities, they become what Durkheim described as organic. These changes saw more specialisation of tasks and a more secular and individualistic society. In other words, organic solidarity is a more complex society with a higher division of labour. According to Durkheim’s theory, most of today’s societies would fall under the umbrella of organic solidarity. Durkheim, believed deviance as being normal and necessary within society, as it affirms cultural values and norms. Since it defines, the boundaries of the society within which we live, it teaches people right from wrong. He believed that any serious acts of deviance forces people to come together and react against it in the same way. Deviance pushes the moral boundaries which in time leads to social change. Durkheim’s theorises that crime is a normal aspect of society therefore; crime itself serves as a social function. The social function enforces the fact criminal activity is going against the social norm. His theory suggests since crime is in all societies, it therefore performing a necessary social function otherwise; it would disappear in an advanced society. One of these necessary functions is social change with crime one of the most effective sources of social change in any society. When a deviant behaviour goes against social norms, eventually a society’s collective belief will transform the belief that particular behaviour is deviant thus bringing about social change. Though Durkheim argues that some crime is inevitable, within some societies, the crime rate may become pathological indicating, that particular society that is sick, meaning that it is suffering from social disorganisation.
Durkheim’s theory of deviance suggests the church is one of the bases of social control within mechanical solidarity. He suggests as society shifts to organic solidarity that there is a move away from religion. Luther Jr (1965) studied the challenges of changing social values and of decreasing religious influence. He suggested some trends showed the conservative...

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