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Social Deviance and its Behaviors
In today’s society, customs and norms are looked upon as unwritten rules that everyone is expected to follow. A person that decides to go against these customs and norms are labeled as deviants. In a way, everyone has been a deviant from time to time based off of this definition. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain deviance in depth, my perspective and perspectives of others in the classroom.
In a sense, deviance can be something as small as not listening to the teacher or having a strike about an issue that you think is morally wrong. Deviation may include criminal behavior , positivity, and actions that may not be prosecutable. An example of criminal behavior would be a man robbing the grocery store. This man is seen as a deviant because as a society, we are expected not to steal from others. My perspective is that this criminal behavior should be labeled as deviance, since the man in the example is going against our beliefs of what is right and wrong in society. My classmates perspective agreed with my opinion that criminal behavior is deviance and morally wrong. An example of positive deviance would be someone that is a part of a strike going against the issue of abortion. This person is standing up for something positive because abortion is also seen as deviance in the eyes of some. My perspective is that this is not deviance because the person was only standing up for something that they thought was right; there was no criminal intent involved. Some people in the class agreed with me and thought this should not been seen as deviance, while others in the classroom thought this was deviance because it goes against norms and expectations that we are expected to follow. I disagree with the classrooms overall perspective because the action performed by the individual was not prosecutable and was positive.
A theory of deviance is that the same way behavior violates norms is performed with the same mindset of those who follow norms and expectations. This theory means that instead of following the standard way of being successful, someone might think of another way to become successful, even though what they might have to do is illegal. An example of this would be robbing a bank, in order to become rich, which is America’s idea of being successful. This person is a deviant because they are robbing, which is seen as wrong in America’s society, but they are also striving to achieve America’s idea of success, which wouldn’t be deviance. This person’s behavior would put them into a category known as an innovator. An innovator is someone who accepts the goals of society such as success but tries to achieve them by doing something illegal. My perspective is that this theory is correct in a sense that it categorizes the different types of behaviors and explains them in a way that anyone can fit into them. My classmates perspective disagrees with the theory and the types of behavior because they point out that the successful are only protecting their own interests and that if we conform, we are only helping the rich maintain their success and social control. I feel that what my classmates think is somewhat true, but shouldn’t necessarily rule out the theory and behaviors as being irrelevant.
Another type of behavior is known as the ritualist. The ritualist is someone, who isn’t trying to strive for America’s idea of success, but is content simply with working and paying bills. This person is deviant in a sense that they are not following along America’s idea of success but they are at least satisfied with where they are at now in their lives. My perspective is that this shouldn’t be seen as deviance; I feel that if someone is happy with where they are at in their life then why do something they don’t want to do even though everyone else is doing it. My classmates perspective was similar to mines in that this type of behavior shouldn’t necessarily be seen as deviance.
The third type of behavior is known as the retreatist. The retreatist is someone who isn’t trying to become successful and doesn’t follow the means of society. An example of this would be a drug addict because these people aren’t trying to become successful and aren’t following the norms and customs of society. These people in a sense are seen as deviants of society. My perspective is that I agree with this type of behavior because these type of people don’t want to be involved in society and aren’t trying to be successful. My classmate perspective disagreed with this behavior because they felt that someone might have been born into that type of lifestyle and weren’t taught how to be successful and to do what is right in the eyes of society. I feel that my classmates perspective is true, but that the individual who was born into a different lifestyle doesn’t necessarily have to follow the lifestyle and become a drug addict.
The fourth type of behavior is known as a rebel. A rebel is someone who doesn’t follow social norms and the ideal of success, but try to follow some other type of social structure. This person is someone who is still a deviant in the since that they are supposed to, in an American’s perspective, follow along with everyone else by working and striving for success but decide not to. An example of rebels would be the military. These are people that do not work, don’t follow norms and expectations of society, and aren’t trying to be successful. The people that are in the military then are seen as deviants. My perspective is that I disagree with this behavior because I feel that people in the military are just individuals who want to try to to protect their country, by all means necessary. My classmates perspective over this behavior also disagree and feel that these people in the military shouldn’t be seen as deviants since they are trying to keep the country safe .
Conformity is an adaption that is the opposite of deviance. This is when someone accepts the goals of society and strives to work hard. An example of this would be a college student, who is trying to receive a higher education, in order to obtain a better job, to make more money, and eventually becoming successful. My perspective is that I agree with this adaption because there are some individuals who would like to be successful and who would love to have a carefree lifestyle. My classmates perspective agreed with this adaption and that we should all strive to become successful by following norms and expectations.
Finally, social control is relationships, commitment, and norms that would stop you from being a deviant. For example, someone you care about stops you from fighting/arguing with someone. Another example would be how the wealthy are trying to maintain their wealth by setting up laws, norms, and expectations of the lower class to follow. This means that the wealthy are only caring about themselves but can only maintain their materialistic possessions, if there are people who are beneath them, such as the middle class and the lower class. The middle class and lower class are people who do the jobs that the rich do not have to do. So, there is a hierarchy here where the rich are at the top and maintain social control over the middle and lower class. My perspective is that I agree with this adaption because it will keep society balanced because if everyone is rich then no one would work and the circulation of money would stop, cutting off the rich from making money. My classmates perspective also agreed with mine in that their needs ot be social control in order to maintain some sort of equilibrium.
Overall, I do not agree with the entire concept of social deviance and control. I feel that minor things that people do such as disagree with someone of higher family ranking shouldn’t be seen as deviant. I feel that deviance should only be seen as something that involves some sort of criminal intent. The behavior I agree with the most is conformity because conformity is helping us Americans to better ourselves financially and economically.