Social Deviance

1. Introduction
Ø  The word “deviance” is related to the root for “deviate” which means to wander off track.  In sociology, our concern is just as much with what keeps people on the line as it is about people getting off it.
Ø  Deviance is any behavior that violates cultural norms. Deviance is often divided into two types of deviant activities.
 The first, crime is the violation of formally enacted laws and is referred Introduction
to as formal deviance. Examples of formal deviance would include: robbery, theft, murder, and assault, just to name a few.
 The second type of deviant behavior refers to violations of informal social norms, norms that have not been codified into law, and is referred to as informal deviance. Examples of informal deviance might include: picking one's nose, belching loudly (in some cultures), or standing too close to another unnecessarily.
2.Definitions of Deviance
Ø  To adapt unusual social behavior other then ongoing social patterns is referred to as Social Deviation  (David Popnoe)
3.Definitions of Social deviance
Social deviance is the area of sociology that studies the violation of social norms or expectations.
4.Kinds of Social Deviation
1.     Disapproved
Some people in the society violate the existing patterns and rules of the society for their personal benefits e.g. Criminals, robbers, smugglers etc. this is a sort of disapproved deviation.
2. Approved
There are some people in the society who do not like the prevalent norms and laws. They consider their right to violate such norms and laws. They express their violation through their words and acts. They do not hide from the others. They even instigate others to imitate them. Such people are normally called revolutionary people which is some how approved in different societies.
3. Relative and Absolute Deviation
Most people in modern societies are neither completely conformist nor completely deviant. A completely deviant person would have a hard time staying alive. Even extreme spectacular deviants, such as revolutionists, or hermits, are generally fairly conventional in some of their activities. And nearly all normal people occasionally deviate. It is clear that nearly everyone in our society is deviant to some degree, but some are more frequently and broadly deviant than others, and some conceal their deviant actions more fully than others.
5.Theories to Explain Social Deviance
·         Labeling Theory
Labeling is a process of social reaction by the "social audience," the people in society exposed to, judging and accordingly defining (labeling) someone's behavior as deviant or otherwise.
Labeling theory in the work of learnt (1951), Becker (1963), and Matza (1964), as well as other writers. It is mostly in the fields of criminology and the sociology of deviance that the theory has been developed. A basic proposition is that deviant behavior has the characteristics of a transaction between the deviant person and another or others. Particular behavior is deviant because it is defined as such by groups in society, particularly by those groups who have some power to establish that their definitions carry weight.
Labeling theory is a pretty simple theory that is based on social deviations which result in the labeling of the outsider. Becker defines deviance as being created by society. Social groups create deviance through the establishment of social rules, the breaking of these rules results in the perpetrator being labeled as a deviant.
Because of the objectivity involved it is needless to say that these labels are not always accurately applied to people. Once a label is given to an individual they become part of all the generalizations that go with that label. These labels also present a self fulfilling prophecy. Being identified as a deviant, a person is usually ostracized from conventional social groups, and therefore is forced to become part of less desirable ones. Being a member of less desirable social groups will only reinforce that they are a deviant, and increase their chances of engaging in deviant behaviors.
  Labeling theorists do not like labels, but they say that labeling is a social fact, especially when we talk about social institutions like law enforcement, social service agencies, and mental health facilities. So therefore they study the power of labels in our society
Labeling Activity Affects Those Labeled in Various Ways
An individual does not become labeled as a deviant simply by breaking a rule, or even several rules. Many people break rules, but only some are subsequently labeled. The social process that follows the breaking of a rule may involve individuals in negotiating, rejecting, accepting, reinterpreting or modifying. A key assume for Lemert (1972) is whether primary deviation becomes secondary deviation.
Ø  Primary deviance
 Behavior that does not conform to the social norms, but the behavior might be temporary, fleeting, exploratory, trivial, or especially, concealed from most others. The person who commits the deviant act does not see him/herself as deviant; put differently, it is not internalized as a part of the person's self concept .Primary deviance is a deviant act that provokes little reaction and has limited effect on a person’s self-esteem. The deviant does not change his or her behavior as a result of this act.
Ø  Secondary deviance
Behavior that does not conform to the social norms, but the behavior tends to be more sustained over time. The person continues to do the deviant behavior even after being caught and labeled by a social institution. The person accepts the deviant label, incorporating it into the person's self concept. Secondary deviance includes repeated deviant behavior that is brought on by other people’s negative reactions to the original act of primary deviance.
·         Control Theory
Control Theory in sociology can either be classified as centralized or decentralized or neither. Decentralized control is considered market control. Centralized control is considered bureaucratic control. Some types of control such as clan control are considered to be a mixture of both decentralized and centralized control.
Decentralized control or market control is typically maintained through factors such as price, competition, or market share. Centralized control such as bureaucratic control is typically maintained through administrative or hierarchical techniques such as creating standards or policies. An example of mixed control is clan control which has characteristics of both centralized and decentralized control. Mixed control or clan control is typically maintained by keeping a set of values and beliefs or norms and traditions.
    A functionalist like Merton, U.S. sociologist Travis Hirschi assumed that the family, school and other institutions can greatly contribute to social order by controlling deviant tendencies in all of us. If such control is lacking or weak, in Hirschi’s view , people will commit deviant act.
        According to Hirschi, the best control mechanism against deviance is our bond to others or by extension society. There are four types of social bond in control theory.
1.      Attachment

       The first bond is attachment  to conventional people and institution.
Teenagers for example, may show this attachment by loving and respecting their parents, making friends with conventional peers, liking school or working hard to develop intellectual skills.
2.      Commitment

        The second is commitment to conformity. This commitment can be seen in the time and energy devoted to conventional activities(  getting an Education, developing an occupational skill, improving professional status, building a business, or acquiring a reputation for virtue )
3.         Involvement 

       The third is involvement in conventional activities. Following the maxim that “idleness is the devil’s workshop” , people keep themselves so busy doing conventional things that they do not have time to take part in deviant activities or even think about deviance.
4.      Belief  
   The fourth belief in the moral validity of social rules. This is the conviction that the rules conventional society should be obeyed. People may show this moral belief by respecting the laws.
Many societies have support  Hirschi,s theory that the lack of social bond cause of deviance, but most of these studies have ignored , as be the effect of delinquency. Just as the loose of bond can cause the youth to commit delinquency, delinquency can cause the youth to lose their boned to society.

·         Conflict Theory

Conflict theory suggests that human behavior in social contexts results from conflicts between competing groups. The basic theory of deviance in social conflict centers around class warfare, in which the lower classes rebel against the upper classes who set the rules upon which society operates; laws are then generated to settle these conflicts. Any violation of these laws is seen as a deviant act. Conflict theory suggests that deviant behaviors result from social, political, or material inequalities of a social group. In response to these inequalities, certain groups will act deviantly in order to change their circumstances, change the social structure that engendered their circumstances, or just to “act out” against their oppressors.
Conflict theory argues that society is not best understood as a complex system striving  for equilibrium  but rather as a competition.

The following are three primary assumptions of modern conflict theory:
1.     Competition: 
Competition over scarce  resources (money, ) is at the heart of all social relationships. Competition rather than consensus is characteristic of human relationships.
2.     Structural inequality: 
Inequalities in power and reward are built into all social structures. Individuals and groups that benefit from any particular structure strive  to see it maintained.

3.     Revolution: 
Change occurs as a result of conflict between social class's competing interests rather than through adaptation. It is often abrupt and revolutionary rather than evolutionary.
6.Causes of Social Deviation
Ø  Lack in Socialization
Socialization plays vital role in forming a good and responsible citizen. If the process of socialization is not given proper attention then the degree of social deviation increases in society.
Ø  Ridged
If the culture of society is un-flexible and un-compatible to the changing circumstances, the new generation expresses its anxiety over this rigidity.
Ø  Unpopular Social Laws
In some cases the governments intact such laws which may be in the interest of the government but not in the general publics interest. People deliberately deviate from them and protest against such things.
Ø  Extra Ordinary Exploitation
If any group or nation is suffering from extra ordinary exploitation then such group or nation may deviate and protest over the exploitation to attract the attention of the government or international community.
Ø  Cultural Invasion
If a society’s culture is begin invaded in some form to an extreme degree the people deviate from their on cultural patterns and adopt the invaders cultural patterns. E.g. the eastern world is heavily influenced by the western world through media; as a result traces of westernization can be seen in countries such as Pakistan .

7.How Does Social Deviation Affect Culture?
Ø  Crime

The  culture classifies some deviant behavior as criminal. This sort of behavior has written laws and sanctions against it. Persons who act in such ways are liable to be arrested and punished in the judicial system. Most crime has victims who are hurt or otherwise negatively affected by the behavior. Criminal behavior influences others in a culture by inducing fear and anger at the criminals and sadness for the victims. Crime rates can drastically alter cities and neighborhoods in appearance and demographics.

Ø  Weakening of Norms

One of the biggest threats deviation holds to a culture's status quo is the weakening of norms. If too many people are allowed to operate with deviant behavior, the behavioral norm becomes violated. This might occur in a cycle. Professor Lisa Barnett of Coe College states that a weakening of cultural norms might actually cause deviant behavior.
Ø  Creation of New Norms

The ability of deviant behavior to weaken norms might also provide a positive construction of new norms. For example, 40 years ago in the United States, most people considered body piercing to be deviant behavior. It was not illegal, but the culture deemed the act repulsive. As more people began expressing this deviant behavior, norms against body piercing weakened. Today, body piercing is more culturally acceptable than ever in the United States.
Ø  Revolution

When deviants seek not only to go against cultural norms, but also to change them significantly, Cultural Revolution can occur. Deviants may present a completely alternative lifestyle to what is predominantly held as acceptable. If enough people adopt the deviant lifestyle, the behavior is no longer deviant and itself becomes the norm. The cycle then continues when persons deviate from the newly established norms.