What isdeviance and what does it mean to be deviant? Deviant behavior in terms of broadsocial conditions is constantly changing. Deviance is not just a matter ofnumbers nor is what is less common. Deviant acts are not necessarily against the law but are considered abnormal and may be regarded as immoral rather than illegal underthe laws of thatjurisdiction. An act is deviant when it is appears to be strange and violatessocial norms.
Socialnorms are behaviors accepted by either a significant group of people or thosewith the power to enforce. These types of deviant acts are meaningful though not considered to be criminal under a legal definition. While some aspects ofpersonality may be inherited, psychologists largely see personality as a matterof socialization and deviance as a matter of improper socialization. Individuals participating in these types of acts may exhibit a tendency toward antisocial behavioroften linked to criminal behavior. While there is value in both biological and psychologicalapproaches, each is limited in their explanation of deviance for they onlyunderstand deviance as a matter of abnormality and do not answer the questionof why the things that are deviant are considered deviant in the first place.Additionally, many jurisdictions aremoving to have these deviant behaviors declared illegal while others are doing the opposite to have longer consideredillegal.
Isknowing/agreeing upon what is and isn’t deviant behavior important for society?Why or why not?Social control is an attempt to regulate people’s thoughts andbehaviors in ways that control, or punish, deviance. These negative sanctionsare negative social reactions to deviance. The opposite, are positive sanctionsthat are affirmative reactions that are usually in response to conformity.Formal sanctioning of deviance occurs when norms are written into law, andviolation almost always results in negative sanctions from the criminal justicesystem. Sociologist JacksonToby proposed a theory of delinquency claiming that such tendencies toward deviance were shared equally among all individuals. Furthermore, Toby’s concept of a stake in conformity may serve to explain what prevents most people from committing a crime. The stake inconformity is the extent to which individuals are willing to risk by breakingthe law orinvested in traditionalsociety standards.
Agreeingon what is considered deviant behavior is important because studies have shown that stakein conformity is one of the most influential factors in an individual’s decisionto offend. Individuals who have nothing to lose are more likely to take risksand violate norms than those who have relatively more invested in traditionalstandards. Functionalistsand sociologists believe that deviance can have positive functionsfor society and plays animportant role in society, such as being used to challenge people’s views. Emile Durkheim concluded that deviance is an essentialcomponent of any strong society.
He argued that deviance can serve twonecessary functions. It keeps a society stable by defining the boundaries ofacceptable behavior to promote integration by causing people to feel that theybelong to the group or society that supports those norms. Durkheim also noted that when deviance ispunished, societiesare made aware of what is acceptable and reaffirms current social norms, which equally strengthens a society.