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Otherness - confines of our shared reality and it is...

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Otherness, Order and Social Control: (The following section is based on my reading and paraphrasing of the work of Stephen Phofl: Images of Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological History , McGraw-Hill, 1994.) We perceive and understand the physical and social world based on a shared sense of order (predictability): the meanings we attach to people, things, and actions. "Otherness" (differentness) challenges our assumptions, our taken-for- granted sense of normalcy and naturalness At a basic "gut" level it calls into question our basic beliefs and ideas: It threatens us. At a social level it challenges the social order: the existing web of relationships, values, reality and meaning Some form of Control is necessary to help maintain Order: Internal/socialization. External: a system of norms, sanctions and enforcement. Deviance is problematic, yet essential and intrinsic to any conception of Social Order. It is problematic because it disrupts; it is essential because it defines the
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Unformatted text preview: confines of our shared reality; and 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, unacceptable, and who we are not ("We defines They"). If we can accept the reality of change, then designations of deviance are crucial in locating the shifting boundaries of our socially structured reality. And, when we define someone or some group as deviant- we strengthen our own position and simplify our response to the "other": ignore, expunge, destroy, or rehabilitate them. We convince ourselves of our own normalcy by condemning and controlling those who disagree. Deviance is a phenomenon situated in power: Winners are the good and the normal; Losers are the sick, the crazy, the evil (and they often accept the "label"). Deviance, therefore, exists in opposition to those who attempt to control it-- to those who have:...
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