What Is Deviance? Essay

1947 words - 8 pages

Deviance can be defined as an absence of conformity to the social norm. Not all deviant behavior is necessarily illegal or harmful to individuals, these behaviors can range from standing in another’s personal space to murdering another individual. In some cases, it can be looked upon as a positive change or a unique and favorable act. Although, considered deviant because it is not the social norm, it still can have a very positive social aspect or lead to social change. Culture and the societies within these cultures have a significant impact on what is considered deviant and what is acceptable or even lawful behavior. The degree of deviance is measured by society’s reaction towards the action and the lawful sanctions that may take place. The definition of what is deviant is ever-changing and will continue to change as long as society evolves.
Looking at society today, compared to what it was 50 years ago, it can be seen that what a culture considers deviant can change overtime. Although this may not be true with all societies and cultures, the preponderance of them have seen this trend over time. This change in a culture’s definition of deviance can change how a culture may act, their moral values, and how these values are upheld and enforced. “The most stimulating ideas to appear in social control studies in the past two decades are surely that a society’s mechanisms of control form a coherent whole; that the principle of that coherence change over time; and that examining the mechanisms of control, their principles of coherence, and the process through which both change provides a window on larger matters.” (Messinger and Greenspan, 58)
Deviance in the cultural setting has its pros and cons in many communities in a society. The meaning of deviance varies from one society to another, but the general meaning is not following the norms that have been established by a specific culture. Abnormal behavior in one society appears normal in the other society (Nairne, 426). Deviance is weighed by the society’s reactions to the particular behavior, also it is measured by the society’s way of life so that it defines the unwelcoming behavior. It ignores the social order and some organizations believe, the reality in society.
The violation of the social norm can be meant to be utilized as a way of sustaining power, position, and influence of a specific group of people or organizations. In most cultures, the idea of deviance is based on the values, deeds, and beliefs that are achieved through interaction among people that have influence in the society and from the understanding that culture is passed on from member to member. Societies are also comprised of the subculture and the culture itself. The huge cultural forces depict what deeds are appreciated and which are unaccepted or discouraged. On the other hand, the subculture in a certain setting creates a resistance to the dominating culture and in doing so, they give a hand in the behavior...

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