Deviance Deviance - behaviour that differs from the social norms of the group and is judged wrong by other members of that group. Are gangs deviant?
Deviance The perception of deviance ranges and includes all behaviour from opposing social norms to committing serious crimes (e.g. Rude table manners to mass murder) Therefore, deviance is harmful behaviour that goes beyond the bounds of acceptance in society Deviance also reflects the culture and times (e.g. Viewing a woman’s leg below her dress was unacceptable during the Victorian era etc) Read spanking and smoking examples
Deviant vs. Non-Conformist? People that frequently break important norms are called deviants. Deviance is NOT the same as non- conformity. Non-conformity is behaviour that varies from the social norms or expectations of larger society but is not judged as wrong (e.g. Males wearing skirts or the Amish refusing to incorporate advanced technologies).
Deviant Behaviour Perspectives Biological Perspective Today, some argue that deviance may be based on brain functions or genetics.
Psychological Perspectives Many criminals cannot control their aggression. Perhaps as children, criminals were rewarded for deviant behaviour or it was excused. Deviant Behaviour Perspectives
Sociological Perspective Structural Functionalists: deviance occurs when behaviours reject cultural goals and accepted means of achieving them departure from cultural ideals. Deviance can be a positive social function by clarifying moral boundaries and promoting social cohesion. Conflict: society’s inequalities are reproduced in its definitions of deviance, so the less powerful are more likely criminalized. Symbolic Interactionism: focus on how interpersonal relations and everyday interactions shape definitions of deviance and influence those engaged in deviant behaviour. Deviant Behaviour Perspectives
Differential Association Theory (Sutherland) People learn all behaviour the same way (including deviant behaviour) – from family, friends, co-workers, etc. bad companions = bad behaviour Deviant Behaviour Theories
Control Theory (Hirshi) Social bonds that connect people help to keep us from committing deviance. Deviant behaviour comes in the absence of social control or if the rewards are more certain than the punishment. A person’s self-control and conscience are predictors of behaviour. Deviant Behaviour Theories
Labelling Theory (Becker) Automatically being labelled or being defined in a particular way. Calling someone a ‘criminal’ or ‘immoral’ may encourage others to treat that person as such, regardless of whether or not the label is true. Becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, making something happen because it was expected. Deviant Behaviour Theories
Labelling cont’d Becker suggests that in one sense there is no such thing as a deviant act. An act only becomes deviant when others perceive it to be deviant. He uses nudity as an example. Nudity is not seen as deviant in bedroom where man and wife sleep. However, if another person enters it is. However, in certain situations such on a naturist holiday or nude beach, nudity would not be considered deviant. A male spectator who streaked might be seen as a ‘joker’, but if he exposed himself to the crowd he would be seen as a ‘pervert’. Thus there is nothing intrinsically normal or deviant about the act of nudity. It only becomes deviant when others label it as such. Whether or not the label is applied will depend upon how the act is interpreted by the audience. This in turn will depend on who commits the act, and when and where it was committed. Becker illustrates his views with the example of a brawl involving young people. In a low-income neighbourhood, it may be defined by the police evidence of delinquency; in a wealthy area as evidence of high spirits. The acts are the same, but the meanings given to them by the audience differ. In the same way, those who commit the acts may view it in one way, but those who observe it may see it differently. In a low-income area it may be seen as defending their territory, but may be seen as deviant by power groups. Those who have the power to make the label stick have thus labelled them. Thus deviance is not a quality that lies in behaviour itself, but in the interaction between the person who commits an act and those who respond to it. Deviant Behaviour Theories
“ Positive ” Deviance Positive deviance refers to actions considered deviant within a given context, but which are later reinterpreted as appropriate or even heroic.