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Determinants of Deviance and Social Control

Updated on February 17, 2022
Nyamweya profile image

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics.

Deviance and social control are matters that are complex to deal with. This is because they relate to controlling the behaviors, feelings and thoughts of individuals, which is not an easy task. One who is dealing with deviance and social control must prepare to either win or lose the battle. In a fight against deviant acts, winners are normally considered to be good. Questions of deviance and social control are day-to-day occurrences, which individuals have to encounter.

Deviants are related in one way or another to those who endeavor to control them. This is because the main purpose why deviants exist is to oppose those who exercise power and authority against them.

The result in the fight against deviance and social control is that winners have the opportunity of ensuring social order. On the other hand, losers thrive under the vision of others. Moreover, these losers are subjected to all sorts of social control practices. Some of these social control practices against deviants include, but not limited to being fined, beaten, incarcerated, shamed, hospitalized, drugged or even shown an exceeding level of love. Deviant members of the society may include such criminals, as substance and drug users, gangsters, homosexuals, serial killers, burglars. Interestingly, the author considers that the actions and behavior of deviant members in the society may not be very different from those persons who are labeled as “normal” members of the society.

It is true that the violent activities of juvenile gangs may have terrorized urban centers and their neighborhoods. Moreover, there have been sensational media reports on deviant behaviors, which have subsequently led to formulation of policies that are meant to control such behaviors. Such policies include “stop and search”, creation of new prisons and criminalization of gang parents and caretakers. However, these group of people and their activities which are considered as “deviant “ can also be related in many ways to what other “normal people” are doing in today’s society.

Good examples can be derived from some bankers who engage themselves in illegal activities such as “hoarding” of mortgage loans and hence hindering investments. Other “gangs” according to the author include the senior management of organizations who engage themselves in “exporting” of job to developing countries’ where they can find cheap labor and therefore, denying locals employment opportunities. The author laments that the actions of such group of people are more costly to the well being of an individual, as well as the nation when compared to those of the deviant gangs found in urban centers.

The reason for this misconception of deviant gangs is because they threaten the control of those individuals who have authority and power over them. In other words, such people oppose the power bestowed upon societal leaders who are mandated to control social order and separating between good and bad.

Various factors cause deviance. These include but not limited to biological factors, psychological factors, environment while others acquire it through learning. In addition, there are also those who see deviance behavior as being caused by an excessive and retrogressive social control.

However, we are made to imagine whether deviance is simply an excuse that has been used by leaders as a means of maintaining social control or whether it is a norm that is supposed to be eliminated for social order?


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