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Theories of Deviance Essay

Comparison and Contrast of the Theories of Deviance Essay:

I am going to compare and contrast four theories of deviance, focusing now on their main questions:

For the Strain Theory it is – why do people violate social norms and rules? For the Cultural Transmission Theory it is why do people in different societies deviate from the social norms in different ways? For the confliction theory it is –what is the way of structuring the society where certain groups placed in a good light, and other are considered to be deviant? For the Theory of Labeling it is – in what way types of behavior and people are determined as deviant?

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Deviance (deviation) – behavior that differs from the norms or accepted social standards and is condemned by the society.

The theory of strain and anomie, presenting that deviant behavior holds that people are more likely to pursue illegitimate means to attaining culturally prescribed goals when they are blocked from accessing the institutionalized means to these goals, allows us to consider deviance as the result of the social pressure, but not of the negative attitude to the social values, standards, and goals attaining, highly appreciated within the measures of this culture. This means that the theory leaves the chance for criminals, implying the necessity of reorganization or society in order to approach to the ideal of democracy and equality of rights.

Still comparing this concept with the Cultural Transmission Theory we can see several disadvantages of the previous one. First, strain theory was determined by the author to analyze different pattern of adaptation (conformity innovation, ritualism, retreatism, rebellion) to the disjunction between the emphasis on cultural goals and institutional means. Saying that conformism, in particular, implies adjustment to the accepted ways of achieving the goals, whereas conformity in different subcultures may cause adaptation to the previously accepted deviant norms within this community. That means that previous conception does not work in the community where deviant behavior, norms, values are considered as favorable, in this way settling definite rewards or punishment that determine a type of behavior. And all previous indexes make no cense when person gets to the society different sub-cultural features are transmitted across the generations (explains the cause of investigation about student crimes during several years when the citizens changed and the rates of crime remained the same). The labeling theory claims that people care much more about estimation of the action than about its actual relevancy. One of the main statements of Labeling is similar to the Confliction’s pattern, saying that deviation is caused by the possibility of the powerful social groups to settle certain behavior standards (and benefit from that) and the person violating these rules is labeled as a criminal, sick, reckless, outsider etc. which undoubtedly changes the attitude to this person. This is a convenient way to control less influential social groups, just as it was with dark-skinned people in America (when they were killed and persecuted without the obvious deviant reason). Also daily we face the situations where some social rules are broken (students smoking heavy cigarettes, infidelity, bribes, homosexuality, which is by the way very critical issue, etc.) we accept it as normal. Still after the emphasis on one of this problem in the particular situation, the attitude changes opposite.

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