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Manual Thinking About Deviance: A Realistic Perspective

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With Symbolic interactionism, reality is seen as social, developed interaction with others. Humans therefore exist in three realities: a physical objective reality, a social reality, and a unique. A unique is described as a third reality created out of the social reality, a private interpretation of the reality that is shown to the person by others Charon, One, being that both are created through social interaction, and two, one cannot be understood in terms without the other.

Behavior is not defined by forces from the environment such as drives, or instincts, but rather by a reflective, socially understood meaning of both the internal and external incentives that are currently presented Meltzer et al. In his differential association theory, Edwin Sutherland posited that criminals learn criminal and deviant behaviors and that deviance is not inherently a part of a particular individual's nature. Sutherland outlined some very basic points in his theory, including the idea that the learning comes from the interactions between individuals and groups, using communication of symbols and ideas.

When the symbols and ideas about deviation are much more favorable than unfavorable, the individual tends to take a favorable view upon deviance and will resort to more of these behaviors. Criminal behavior motivations and technical knowledge , as with any other sort of behavior, is learned. Some basic assumptions include: [ citation needed ]. One example of this would be gang activity in inner city communities. Sutherland would feel that because a certain individual's primary influential peers are in a gang environment, it is through interaction with them that one may become involved in crime.

Gresham Sykes and David Matza 's neutralization theory explains how deviants justify their deviant behaviors by providing alternative definitions of their actions and by providing explanations, to themselves and others, for the lack of guilt for actions in particular situations. Frank Tannenbaum and Howard S. Becker created and developed the labeling theory, which is a core facet of symbolic interactionism, and often referred to as Tannenbaum's "dramatization of evil".

Becker believed that "social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance". Labeling is a process of social reaction by the "social audience", stereotyping the people in society exposed to, judging and accordingly defining labeling someone's behavior as deviant or otherwise. It has been characterized as the "invention, selection, manipulation of beliefs which define conduct in a negative way and the selection of people into these categories [ Labeling theory, consequently, suggests that deviance is caused by the deviant's being labeled as morally inferior, the deviant's internalizing the label and finally the deviant's acting according to that specific label in other words, one may label the "deviant" and they act accordingly.

As time goes by, the "deviant" takes on traits that constitute deviance by committing such deviations as conform to the label so the audience has the power to not label them and have the power to stop the deviance before it ever occurs by not labeling them. Individual and societal preoccupation with the label, in other words, leads the deviant individual to follow a self-fulfilling prophecy of abidance to the ascribed label.

This theory, while very much symbolically interactionist , also has elements of conflict theory, as the dominant group has the power to decide what is deviant and acceptable, and enjoys the power behind the labeling process. An example of this is a prison system that labels people convicted of theft, and because of this they start to view themselves as by definition thieves, incapable of changing.

Becker has written,. Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an "offender". The deviant is one to whom the label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.

In other words, "Behavior only becomes deviant or criminal if defined and interfered as such by specific people in [a] specific situation. In legal terms, people are often wrongly accused, yet many of them must live with the ensuant stigma or conviction for the rest of their lives.

On a similar note, society often employs double standards, with some sectors of society enjoying favouritism. Certain behaviors in one group are seen to be perfectly acceptable, or can be easily overlooked, but in another are seen, by the same audiences, as abominable. The medicalization of deviance, the transformation of moral and legal deviance into a medical condition , is an important shift that has transformed the way society views deviance. For example, people with drug addictions are considered "sick" instead of "bad".

Edwin Lemert developed the idea of primary and secondary deviation as a way to explain the process of labeling. Primary deviance is any general deviance before the deviant is labeled as such in a particular way. Secondary deviance is any action that takes place after primary deviance as a reaction to the institutional identification of the person as a deviant. When an actor commits a crime primary deviance , however mild, the institution will bring social penalties down on the actor.

However, punishment does not necessarily stop crime, so the actor might commit the same primary deviance again, bringing even harsher reactions from the institutions. At this point, the actor will start to resent the institution, while the institution brings harsher and harsher repression. Eventually, the whole community will stigmatize the actor as a deviant and the actor will not be able to tolerate this, but will ultimately accept his or her role as a criminal, and will commit criminal acts that fit the role of a criminal.

Primary And Secondary Deviation is what causes people to become harder criminals.

Right Realist Criminology

Primary deviance is the time when the person is labeled deviant through confession or reporting. Secondary deviance is deviance before and after the primary deviance. Retrospective labeling happens when the deviant recognizes his acts as deviant prior to the primary deviance, while prospective labeling is when the deviant recognizes future acts as deviant.

The steps to becoming a criminal are:. Broken windows theory states that an increase in minor crimes, such as graffiti, will eventually lead to and encourage an increase in larger transgressions. This would show that greater policing on minor forms of deviance would lead to a decrease in major crimes. This theory has been tested in a variety of settings, one of which was New York City in the 90s. Compared to the country's average at the time, violent crime rates fell 28 percent as a result of the campaign. Critics of the theory question the direct causality of the policing and statistical changes that occurred.

Control theory advances the proposition that weak bonds between the individual and society free people to deviate. By contrast, strong bonds make deviance costly. This theory asks why people refrain from deviant or criminal behavior, instead of why people commit deviant or criminal behavior, according to Travis Hirschi. The control theory developed when norms emerge to deter deviant behavior. Without this "control", deviant behavior would happen more often.

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This leads to conformity and groups. People will conform to a group when they believe they have more to gain from conformity than by deviance. If a strong bond is achieved there will be less chance of deviance than if a weak bond has occurred. Hirschi argued a person follows the norms because they have a bond to society. The bond consists of four positively correlated factors: opportunity, attachment, belief, and involvement. It stated that acts of force and fraud are undertaken in the pursuit of self-interest and self-control.

A deviant act is based on a criminals own self-control of themselves. Containment theory is considered by researchers such as Walter C. Reckless to be part of the control theory because it also revolves around the thoughts that stop individuals from engaging in crime. Reckless studied the unfinished approaches meant to explain the reasoning behind delinquency and crime.

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He recognized that societal disorganization is included in the study of delinquency and crime under social deviance, leading him to claim that the majority of those who live in unstable areas tend not to have criminal tendencies in comparison those who live in middle-class areas. This claim opens up more possible approaches to social disorganization, and proves that the already implemented theories are in need or a deeper connection to further explore ideas of crime and delinquency.

These observations brought Reckless to ask questions such as, "Why do some persons break through the tottering social controls and others do not? Why do rare cases in well-integrated society break through the lines of strong controls? Social disorganization was not related to a particular environment, but instead was involved in the deterioration of an individuals social controls. The containment theory is the idea that everyone possesses mental and social safeguards which protect the individual from committing acts of deviancy.

Containment depends on the individuals ability to separate inner and outer controls for normative behavior. More contemporary control theorists such as Robert Crutchfield take the theory into a new light, suggesting labor market experiences not only affect the attitudes and the "stakes" of individual workers, but can also affect the development of their children's views toward conformity and cause involvement in delinquency. This is an ongoing study as he has found a significant relationship between parental labor market involvement and children's delinquency, but has not empirically demonstrated the mediating role of parents' or children's attitude.

The findings from this study supported the idea that the relationship between socioeconomic status and delinquency might be better understood if the quality of employment and its role as an informal social control is closely examined. In sociology, conflict theory states that society or an organization functions so that each individual participant and its groups struggle to maximize their benefits, which inevitably contributes to social change such as political changes and revolutions. Deviant behaviors are actions that do not go along with the social institutions as what cause deviance.

The institution's ability to change norms, wealth or status comes into conflict with the individual. The legal rights of poor folks might be ignored, middle class are also accept; they side with the elites rather than the poor, thinking they might rise to the top by supporting the status quo. Conflict theory is based upon the view that the fundamental causes of crime are the social and economic forces operating within society. However, it explains white-collar crime less well. This theory also states that the powerful define crime. This raises the question: for whom is this theory functional?

In this theory, laws are instruments of oppression: tough on the powerless and less tough on the powerful. Marx did not write about deviant behavior but he wrote about alienation amongst the proletariat—as well as between the proletariat and the finished product—which causes conflict, and thus deviant behavior. Many Marxist writers have the theory of the capitalist state in their arguments. For example, Steven Spitzer utilized the theory of bourgeois control over social junk and social dynamite; George Rusche was known to present analysis of different punishments correlated to the social capacity and infrastructure for labor.

He theorized that throughout history, when more labor is needed, the severity of punishments decreases and the tolerance for deviant behavior increases. Jock Young , another Marxist writer, presented the idea that the modern world did not approve of diversity, but was not afraid of social conflict. The late modern world, however, is very tolerant of diversity. The late modern society easily accepts difference, but it labels those that it does not want as deviant and relentlessly punishes and persecutes.

Michel Foucault believed that torture had been phased out from modern society due to the dispersion of power; there was no need any more for the wrath of the state on a deviant individual. Rather, the modern state receives praise for its fairness and dispersion of power which, instead of controlling each individual, controls the mass.

He also theorized that institutions control people through the use of discipline. Foucault theorizes that, in a sense, the postmodern society is characterized by the lack of free will on the part of individuals. Institutions of knowledge, norms, and values, are simply in place to categorize and control humans.

Crime and Deviance: A Sociological Perspective

Praveen Attri claims genetic reasons to be largely responsible for social deviance. The Italian school of criminology contends that biological factors may contribute to crime and deviance. Cesare Lombroso was among the first to research and develop the Theory of Biological Deviance which states that some people are genetically predisposed to criminal behavior.

He believed that criminals were a product of earlier genetic forms. The main influence of his research was Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution. Lombroso theorized that people were born criminals or in other words, less evolved humans who were biologically more related to our more primitive and animalistic urges. From his research, Lombroso took Darwin's Theory and looked at primitive times himself in regards to deviant behaviors. He found that the skeletons that he studied mostly had low foreheads and protruding jaws. These characteristics resembled primitive beings such as Homo Neanderthalensis.

He stated that little could be done to cure born criminals because their characteristics were biologically inherited. Over time, most of his research was disproved. His research was refuted by Pearson and Charles Goring. They discovered that Lombroso had not researched enough skeletons to make his research thorough enough.

When Pearson and Goring researched skeletons on their own they tested many more and found that the bone structure had no relevance in deviant behavior. The statistical study that Charles Goring published on this research is called "The English Convict". The classical school of criminology comes from the works of Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham. Beccaria assumed a utilitarian view of society along with a social contract theory of the state.

He argued that the role of the state was to maximize the greatest possible utility to the maximum number of people and to minimize those actions that harm the society. He argued that deviants commit deviant acts which are harmful to the society because of the utility it gives to the private individual.


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If the state were to match the pain of punishments with the utility of various deviant behaviors, the deviant would no longer have any incentive to commit deviant acts. Note that Beccaria argued for just punishment; as raising the severity of punishments without regard to logical measurement of utility would cause increasing degrees of social harm once it reached a certain point. There are three sections of the criminal justice system. These sections include police, courts, and corrections system.

These groups function to enforce formal deviance. Police: The police maintain public order by enforcing the law. Police use personal discretion in deciding whether and how to handle a situation. Research suggests that police are more likely to make an arrest if the offence is serious, if bystanders are present, or if the suspect is of a visible minority. Courts: Courts rely on an adversarial process in which attorneys-one representing the defendant and one representing the Crown-present their cases in the presence of a judge who monitors legal procedures.

In practice, courts resolve most cases through plea bargaining. He also agreed with Spencer's organic analogy , comparing society to a living organism. A social fact is every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an external constraint; or again, every way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while at the same time existing in its own right independent of its individual manifestations. Durkheim's work revolved around the study of social facts, a term he coined to describe phenomena that have an existence in and of themselves, are not bound to the actions of individuals, but have a coercive influence upon them.

The determining cause of a social fact must be sought among the antecedent social facts and not among the states of the individual consciousness. Such social facts are endowed with a power of coercion, by reason of which they may control individual behaviors. Many social facts, however, have no material form. Suicide, like other immaterial social facts, exists independently of the will of an individual, cannot be eliminated, and is as influential — coercive — as physical laws such as gravity.

Regarding the society itself, like social institutions in general, Durkheim saw it as a set of social facts. In The Division of Labour in Society , Durkheim attempted to answer the question of what holds the society together. The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own.

It can be termed the collective or common consciousness. In particular, the emotional part of the collective consciousness overrides our egoism : as we are emotionally bound to culture , we act socially because we recognize it is the responsible, moral way to act. The importance of another key social fact: the culture. In a socioevolutionary approach, Durkheim described the evolution of societies from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity one rising from mutual need. One of the main features of the modern, organic society is the importance, sacredness even, given to the concept — social fact — of the individual.

Thus very far from there being the antagonism between the individual and society which is often claimed, moral individualism, the cult of the individual, is in fact the product of society itself. It is society that instituted it and made of man the god whose servant it is. Durkheim saw the population density and growth as key factors in the evolution of the societies and advent of modernity. In another example of evolution of culture, Durkheim pointed to fashion , although in this case he noted a more cyclical phenomenon. As the society, Durkheim noted there are several possible pathologies that could lead to a breakdown of social integration and disintegration of the society: the two most important ones are anomie and forced division of labour; lesser ones include the lack of coordination and suicide.

Durkheim's views on crime were a departure from conventional notions.

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He believed that crime is "bound up with the fundamental conditions of all social life " and serves a social function. He further stated that "the authority which the moral conscience enjoys must not be excessive; otherwise, no-one would dare to criticize it, and it would too easily congeal into an immutable form. To make progress, individual originality must be able to express itself In Suicide , Durkheim explores the differing suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics, arguing that stronger social control among Catholics results in lower suicide rates. According to Durkheim, Catholic society has normal levels of integration while Protestant society has low levels.

Overall, Durkheim treated suicide as a social fact , explaining variations in its rate on a macro level, considering society-scale phenomena such as lack of connections between people group attachment and lack of regulations of behavior, rather than individuals' feelings and motivations. Durkheim believed there was more to suicide than extremely personal individual life circumstances: for example, a loss of a job, divorce, or bankruptcy.

Instead, he took suicide and explained it as a social fact instead of a result of one's circumstances. Durkheim believed that suicide was an instance of social deviance. Social deviance being any transgression of socially established norms. He created a normative theory of suicide focusing on the conditions of group life.

The four different types of suicide that he proposed are egoistic, altruistic, anomic, and fatalistic. He began by plotting social regulation on the x-axis of his chart, and social integration on the y-axis. Egoistic suicide corresponds to a low level of social integration. When one is not well integrated into a social group it can lead to a feeling that they have not made a difference in anyone's lives.

On the other hand, too much social integration would be altruistic suicide. This occurs when a group dominates the life of an individual to a degree where they feel meaningless to society. Anomic suicide occurs when one has an insufficient amount of social regulation. This stems from the sociological term anomie meaning a sense of aimlessness or despair that arises from the inability to reasonably expect life to be predictable. Lastly, there is fatalistic suicide, which results from too much social regulation. An example of this would be when one follows the same routine day after day.

This leads to a belief that there is nothing good to look forward to. Durkheim suggested this was the most popular form of suicide for prisoners. This study has been extensively discussed by later scholars and several major criticisms have emerged. First, Durkheim took most of his data from earlier researchers, notably Adolph Wagner and Henry Morselli , [66] who were much more careful in generalizing from their own data.

Second, later researchers found that the Protestant—Catholic differences in suicide seemed to be limited to German-speaking Europe and thus may have always been the spurious reflection of other factors. Despite its limitations, Durkheim's work on suicide has influenced proponents of control theory , and is often mentioned as a classic sociological study. The book pioneered modern social research and served to distinguish social science from psychology and political philosophy. In The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life , Durkheim's first purpose was to identify the social origin and function of religion as he felt that religion was a source of camaraderie and solidarity.

He wanted to understand the empirical, social aspect of religion that is common to all religions and goes beyond the concepts of spirituality and God. A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, i. In this definition, Durkheim avoids references to supernatural or God. Durkheim saw religion as the most fundamental social institution of humankind, and one that gave rise to other social forms.

Thus there is something eternal in religion that is destined to outlive the succession of particular symbols in which religious thought has clothed itself. However, even if the religion was losing its importance for Durkheim, it still laid the foundation of modern society and the interactions that governed it. He expressed his doubt about modernity, seeing the modern times as "a period of transition and moral mediocrity". Durkheim also argued that our primary categories for understanding the world have their origins in religion. In his work, Durkheim focused on totemism , the religion of the aboriginal Australians and Native Americans.

Now the totem is the flag of the clan. Durkheim's work on religion was criticized on both empirical and theoretical grounds by specialists in the field. The most important critique came from Durkheim's contemporary, Arnold van Gennep , an expert on religion and ritual, and also on Australian belief systems. Van Gennep argued that Durkheim's views of primitive peoples and simple societies were "entirely erroneous".

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Van Gennep further argued that Durkheim demonstrated a lack of critical stance towards his sources, collected by traders and priests, naively accepting their veracity, and that Durkheim interpreted freely from dubious data. At the conceptual level, van Gennep pointed out Durkheim's tendency to press ethnography into a prefabricated theoretical scheme. Despite such critiques, Durkheim's work on religion has been widely praised for its theoretical insight and whose arguments and propositions, according to Robert Alun Jones, "have stimulated the interest and excitement of several generations of sociologists irrespective of theoretical 'school' or field of specialization".

While Durkheim's work deals with a number of subjects, including suicide, the family, social structures , and social institutions, a large part of his work deals with the sociology of knowledge. While publishing short articles on the subject earlier in his career for example the essay De quelques formes primitives de classification written in with Marcel Mauss , Durkheim's definitive statement concerning the sociology of knowledge comes in his magnum opus The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

This book has as its goal not only the elucidation of the social origins and function of religion, but also the social origins and impact of society on language and logical thought. Durkheim worked largely out of a Kantian framework and sought to understand how the concepts and categories of logical thought could arise out of social life.

He argued, for example, that the categories of space and time were not a priori. Rather, the category of space depends on a society's social grouping and geographical use of space, and a group's social rhythm that determines our understanding of time. They can include words, slogans, ideas, or any number of material items that can serve as a symbol, such as a cross, a rock, a temple, a feather etc. As such these representations have the particular, and somewhat contradictory, aspect that they exist externally to the individual since they are created and controlled not by the individual but by society as a whole , and yet simultaneously within each individual of the society by virtue of that individual's participation within society.

And because language is a collective action, language contains within it a history of accumulated knowledge and experience that no individual would be capable of creating on their own. Thinking by concepts, is not merely seeing reality on its most general side, but it is projecting a light upon the sensation which illuminates it, penetrates it and transforms it.

As such, language, as a social product, literally structures and shapes our experience of reality. This discursive approach to language and society would be developed by later French philosophers, such as Michel Foucault.

Durkheim defines morality as "a system of rules for conduct". While Durkheim was influenced by Kant, he was highly critical of aspects of the latter's moral theory and developed his own positions. Durkheim agrees with Kant that within morality, there is an element of obligation, "a moral authority which, by manifesting itself in certain precepts particularly important to it, confers upon [moral rules] an obligatory character". There exists a certain, pre-established moral norm to which we must conform. It is through this view that Durkheim makes a first critique of Kant in saying that moral duties originate in society, and are not to be found in some universal moral concept such as the categorical imperative.

Durkheim also argues that morality is characterized not just by this obligation, but is also something that is desired by the individual. The individual believes that by adhering to morality, they are serving the common Good , and for this reason, the individual submits voluntarily to the moral commandment. However, in order to accomplish its aims, morality must be legitimate in the eyes of those to whom it speaks. As Durkheim argues, this moral authority is primarily to be located in religion, which is why in any religion one finds a code of morality.

For Durkheim, it is only society that has the resources, the respect, and the power to cultivate within an individual both the obligatory and the desirous aspects of morality. Durkheim thought that deviance was an essential component of a functional society. First, Durkheim thought that deviance could challenge the perspective and thoughts of the general population, leading to social change by pointing out a flaw in society. Bellah, and Pierre Bourdieu. Goffman himself was also deeply influenced by Durkheim in his development of the interaction order.

Outside of sociology, he influenced philosophers Henri Bergson and Emmanuel Levinas , and his ideas can be found latently in the work of certain structuralist thinkers of the 60s, such as Alain Badiou , Louis Althusser , and Michel Foucault. Much of Durkheim's work, however, remains unacknowledged in philosophy, despite its direct relevance. As proof one can look to John Searle , who wrote a book The Construction of Social Reality , in which he elaborates a theory of social facts and collective representations that he believed to be a landmark work that would bridge the gap between analytic and continental philosophy.

Neil Gross however, demonstrates how Searle's views on society are more or less a reconstitution of Durkheim's theories of social facts, social institutions, collective representations and the like. Searle's ideas are thus open to the same criticisms as Durkheim's. Lukes attributes Searle's miscomprehension of Durkheim's work to the fact that Searle, quite simply, never read Durkheim. A contemporary philosopher of social phenomena who has offered a sympathetic close reading of Durkheim's discussion of social facts in chapter 1 and the prefaces of The Rules of Sociological Method is Margaret Gilbert.

In chapter 4, section 2, of her book On Social Facts whose title may represent an homage to Durkheim, alluding to his "faits sociaux" Gilbert argues that some of his statements that may seem to be philosophically untenable are important and fruitful. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Paris , France.

Thinking about deviance : a realistic perspective

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