Crime and Deviance from a Sociological and Psychological assessment: The sociology of deviance is the sociological study of deviant behavior, or the recognized violation of cultural norms. Cultural Norms are society's propensity towards certain ideals; their aversion from others; and their standard, ritualistic practices. Essentially the 'norm' is a summation of typical activities and beliefs of group of people. There are various Sociological deviance theories, including Structuralist: why do some people break the rules? , Marxists: who makes the rules, and who benefits from their enforcement? , and Interaction ist: How did this person become processed (labeled) as a deviant? Sociology asserts that deviance is problematic, yet essential and intrinsic to any conception of Social Order. It is problematic because it disrupts but is essential because it defines the confines of our shared reality. It is intrinsic to a conception of order in that defining what is real and expected, defining what is acceptable, and defining who we are always is done in opposition to what is unreal, unexpected, or unacceptable.
Sociologically, deviance can be construed as a label used to maintain the power, control, and position of a dominant group. Deviance is a negotiated order. Deviance violates some groups assumptions about reality (social order). It violates expectations. The definition of deviance defines the threat and allows for containment and control of the threat. The definition of deviance preserves, protects, and defines group interests and in doing so maintains a sense of normalcy.
Deviance can consequently be seen as a product of Social Interaction; the result of setting boundaries and limitations, rules and laws, acceptable and unacceptable.' In sum, by deviance I mean one thing and one thing only: behavior or characteristics that some people in a society find offensive or reprehensible and that generates -- or would generate if discovered -- in these people disapproval, punishment, condemnation of, or hostility toward, the actor or possessor... What we have to know is, deviant to whom?' (Goode, 1994, page 29) Psychological theories of crime and deviance really only describe the difference between supposedly 'normal' and 'abnormal' human characteristics. What constitutes crime or deviance is a value judgment made by humans. The behaviors might well be innate individual characteristics but they become defined as deviant through a social process. They are intrinsically social because they involve judgment. Decisions are made as to what constitutes deviance and what behaviors are to be considered illegal.
The labeling of certain acts as deviant calls our attention to the fact that it is the reaction to the act that places it in the category 'deviant' not the act itself. Being able to separate biological and environmental factors is nearly impossible since they impact on each other from the day we are born. Isolating one variable and finding an association with criminality is a correlation but this should not be confused with a 'cause'. There is a danger of reducing complex processes to simple one-cause explanations. There are some very dubious ethical implications from this area of research. The logical conclusions are to alter peoples biology by pre or post natal interference.
It is also quite obvious that there are types of behaviors that will be damaging to any society and need to be controlled. Some of these behaviors seem to have a biological or psychological origin, rather than an environmental cause. The most obvious of the biological / psychological distinctions is that of the different levels / types of deviant involvement engaged in as a consequence of sex. Males seem to be far more predisposed to act in ways that all societies want to reduce because of their social harm. Some of the earlier biological theories are clearly flawed and have been used to demonstrate the weakness of such approaches.
More recent research in biology and evolutionary psychology is far more rigorous in its research designs and many of the findings are disturbingly compelling. Apart from the diagnosis of the causes of deviant behavior, biological and psychological investigations have contributed significantly to the profiling and tracking of offenders. The deterministic nature of these approaches raises interesting questions about our responsibility for our actions.' It is obviously impossible for criminality to be inherited as such, for crime is defined by acts of legislature and these vary independently of the biological inheritance of the violators of the law' (Sutherland & Cressy 1924) UNIT 4 FINAL A person would be considered to be acting deviant ly in society if they are violating what the significant social norm in that particular culture is. What causes humans to act certain ways is a disputed topic among researchers for some time now.
There are three types of researchers that have tried to answer this question. There is the psychological answer, biological answer, and the sociological answer. With all of the studies that have been performed, no one group has come up with an exact reason to why people behave deviant ly. Although, sociologists' theories have not been disproved as often as the psychologists' and biologists' theories because their experiments are too hard to define and no one definition for deviance is agreed upon by all experimenters (Pfuhl, 40).
The most knowledge acquired for why people act deviant ly is from the sociological perspective. There is need for more research, if possible, in the psychological and biological perspectives, but there is a lot more known in the sociological viewpoint. The reality that the definition of deviant behavior is considered different by everyone makes it complicated and unknown if a truly accurate answer can ever be found (Pfuhl 18). This is why this topic is important to the study of sociology. Sociologists have more information, and therefore may be closer to finding the cause. For this reason, my main focus in this paper is at the sociological stand point of deviance with some explanations from psychologists and biologists.
The family is the link to socialization in one's environment (Four Categories 1). In the family, divorce, conflict within family, neglect, abuse, and deviant parents are the main vindicates for the offspring's actions. Early researches first only thought parental absence affects girls and whites. Modern research finds that the lack of supervision, or support a child needs is a link to delinquency in any race. It occurs more in single parent homes because they have a harder time doing those things. Poverty is also a reason in the family for conflict because it can lead to both family breakups and delinquency.
Children need close, supportive, relationships with parents. What promotes deviance in the home is the inhibition to talk to parents. The child may feel that they need to get attention elsewhere, thus acting deviant ly if their parents are not there for them. Parents can prevent this by being competent, non-punitive (to a point), non-aggressive or violent, and teach their child high self-confidence. Family conflict has more damaging effects on children than divorce. Where as parental death has less impact than divorce (Four Categories 2).
When a parent dies a child at least knows that the parent did not want to leave on his own terms and probably also did not inflict any abuse to his or her psyche before the parent passes away. Also, if a child still has contact with both parents after a divorce, the less likely they will feel neglected and react deviant ly. Family size also leaves an adolescent without the necessary attention they need as an individual. Middle children are more likely to behave deviant ly because they go unnoticed more than their younger or older siblings. The legal definitions of abuse and neglect varies from state to state but does, in any form, create serious consequences for behavior. It occurs in patterns and not just once, which causes stress, poor self-esteem, aggressiveness, lack of empathy, and fewer interactions with peers.
Child abuse is any physical or emotional trauma to a child for which no reasonable explanation is found. Neglect refers to the deprivation that children suffer at the hands of parents (Deviance 1). Such components that comply to these definitions are non-accidental physical injury and neglect, emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, and abandonment. Over one million of the youth in America are subjected to abuse a year. In terms of sexual abuse one in ten abused are boys and one in three of them are girls.
It is really unknown how many cases go unreported in any area of abuse or neglect a year. From 1980 to 1986 reported cases did go up sixty percent. The most common reasons found that parents abuse their children is because this is a learned function they acquired from their parents. This tendency to pass down deviant behavior through generations is a cycle of family violence (Levert 48).
Parents are unable to separate childhood traumas from the relationships with their own kids. A group called Child Protective Services are created to remove abuse from the sibling that can cause more h.