Theories of Deviance

Theories of Deviance - Theories of Deviance

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Theories of Deviance Deviance  is any behavior that violates social norms, and is usually of sufficient severity to warrant  disapproval from the majority of society. Deviance can be criminal or non-criminal. The sociological  discipline that deals with  crime  (behavior that violates laws) is  criminology  (also known as  criminal  justice ). Today, Americans consider such activities as alcoholism, excessive gambling, being nude  in public places, playing with fire, stealing, lying, refusing to bathe, purchasing the services of  prostitutes, and cross-dressing—to name only a few—as deviant. People who engage in deviant  behavior are referred to as  deviants The concept of deviance is complex because norms vary considerably across groups, times, and  places. In other words, what one group may consider acceptable, another may consider deviant. For  example, in some parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Muslim Africa, women are circumcised. Termed  clitoridectomy  and  infibulation , this process involves cutting off the clitoris and/or sewing shut the  labia — usually without any anesthesia. In America, the thought of female circumcision, or  female  genital mutilation  as it is known in the United States, is unthinkable; female genital mutilation, usually  done in unsanitary conditions that often lead to infections, is done as a blatantly oppressive tactic to  prevent women from having sexual pleasure.  A number of theories related to deviance and criminology have emerged within the past 50 years or  so. Four of the most well-known follow. Differential-association theory Edwin Sutherland  coined the phrase  differential association  to address the issue of how people  learn  deviance. According to this theory, the environment plays a major role in deciding which norms  people learn to violate. Specifically, people within a particular  reference group  provide norms of  conformity and deviance, and thus heavily influence the way other people look at the world, including  how they react. People also  learn their norms from various socializing agents—parents, teachers, ministers, family, friends, co- workers, and the media. In short, people learn criminal behavior, like other behaviors, from their  interactions with others, especially in intimate groups. 
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Theories of Deviance - Theories of Deviance

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