CRIME AS A DEVIANT Amanda Hess Borzacchini Group 20 Kursk 2012
Henry David Thoreau•“People should refuse toobey any law they believe unjust”
What is Deviance?• Deviance describes actions or behaviors that violate social norms, including formally-enacted rules (e.g., crime), as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g., rejecting custom, traditions and mores). It is the purview of sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and criminologists to study how these norms are created, how they change over time and how they are enforced.
Functions of Deviance• Deviant acts can be assertions of individuality and identity, and thus as rebellions against group norms of the dominant culture and in favor of a sub-culture.• Deviance affirms cultural values and norms. It also clarifies moral boundaries, promotes social unity by creating an us/them dichotomy, encourages social change, and provides jobs to control deviance. "Certain factors of personality are theoretically and empirically related to workplace deviance, such as work environment, and individual differences”.
Types of Deviant• Taboo is a strong social form of behavior considered deviant by a majority. To speak of it publicly is condemned, and therefore, almost entirely avoided. The meaning is "under prohibition", "not allowed", or "forbidden". Some forms of taboo are prohibited under law and transgressions may lead to severe penalties. Other forms of taboo result in shame, disrespect and humiliation. Taboo is not universal but does occur in the majority of societies. Some of the examples include murder, rape, incest, or child molestation.
• There are four different types of deviant behaviors falling into different categories:• One of the four is falsely accusing an individual which falls under others perceiving you to be obtaining obedient or deviant behaviors.• Pure deviance, which falls under perceiving one to participate in deviant and rule-breaking behavior.• Conforming, which falls under not being perceived as deviant, but merely participating in the social norms that are distributed within societies.• Lastly is secret deviance which is when the individual is not perceived as deviant or participating in any rule- breaking behaviors.
Deviance as a violation of social norms• Norms are rules and expectations by which members of society are conventionally guided. Deviance is a failure to conform to these norms. Social norms are different in one culture as opposed to another. For example, a deviant act can be committed in one society that breaks a social norm there, but may be normal for another society.• Viewing deviance as a violation of social norms, sociologists have characterized it as "any thought, feeling or action that members of a social group judge to be a violation of their values or rules"; "conduct that violates definitions of appropriate and inappropriate conduct shared by the members of a social system"; "the departure of certain types of behavior from the norms of a particular society at a particular time"; and "violation of certain types of group norms [... where] behavior is in a disapproved direction and of sufficient degree to exceed the tolerance limit of the community."
• Deviance is concerned with the process whereby actions, beliefs or conditions (ABC) come to be viewed as deviant by others. Deviance can be observed by the negative, stigmatizing social reaction of others towards these phenomena. • Criminal behavior, such as theft, can be deviant, but other crimes attract little or no social reaction, and cannot be considered deviant (e.g., violating copyright laws by downloading music on the internet). • Some beliefs in society will attract negative reaction, such as racism and homonegativity or alternatively even race-mixing or homosexuality, but that depends on the society. • People may have a condition or disease which causes others to treat them badly, such as having HIV, dwarfism, facial deformities, or obesity.• Deviance is relative to time and place because what is considered deviant in one social context may be non-deviant in another (e.g., fighting during a hockey game vs. fighting in a nursing home). Killing another human is considered wrong except when governments permit it during warfare or for self-defence. The issue of social power cannot be divorced from a definition of deviance because some groups in society can criminalize the actions of another group by using their influence on legislators.
Mertons strain theory• Merton described 5 types of deviance in terms of the acceptance or rejection of social goals and the institutionalised means of achieving them:• 1. Innovation is a response due to the strain generated by our cultures emphasis on wealth and the lack of opportunities to get rich, which causes people to be "innovators" by engaging in stealing and selling drugs. Innovators accept societys goals, but reject socially acceptable means of achieving them. (e.g.: monetary success is gained through crime).• 2. Conformists accept societys goals and the socially acceptable means of achieving them (e.g.: monetary success is gained through hard work). Merton claims that conformists are mostly middle class people in middle class jobs who have been able to access the opportunities in society such as a better education to achieve monetary success through hard work.
• 3. Ritualism refers to the inability to reach a cultural goal thus embracing the rules to the point where they lose sight of their larger goals in order to feel respectable. Ritualists reject societys goals, but accept societys institutionalised means.• 4. Retreatism is a response that shows the inability of a person to reject both the cultural goals and means letting the person "drop out". Retreatists reject the societys goals and the legitimate means to achieve them.• 5. Rebellion is somehow similar to retreatism, because rebellions also reject both the cultural goals and means but they go one step further and a "counterculture" that supports other social orders that already exist (rule breaking).
Mechanism of social control• a way of directing or influencing members’ behavior to conform to the group’s values and norms.