When most of us think of deviant behaviour, we think of someone who is breaking the law or acting out in a negative manner. ‘Different’ or ‘unexpected’ are words often used to describe deviance from a sociological perspective. Deviance describes an action or behaviour that violates social norms, including a formally enacted rule (e.g., crime), as well as informal violations of social norms. There are two possibilities for how an individual will act in the face of social norms; conform or violate. There are implicit social norms and explicit social norms.
Deviance would include: robbery, theft, rape, murder, and assault, just to name a few. The second type of deviant behaviour refers to violations of informal social norms, norms that have not been codified into law, and is referred to as informal deviance.
TYPES OF DEVIANCE
Innovation is a response due to the strain generated by our culture’s emphasis on wealth and the lack of opportunities to get rich, which causes people to be “innovators” by engaging in stealing and selling drugs
Innovators accept society’s goals but reject socially acceptable means of achieving them. (e.g.: monetary success is gained through crime)
Accept society’s goals and the socially acceptable means of achieving them (e.g.: monetary success is gained through hard work)
Merton claims that conformists are mostly middle-class people in middle-class jobs who have been able to access the opportunities in society such as a better education to achieve monetary success through hard work.
refers to the inability to reach a cultural goal thus embracing the rules to the point where they lose sight of their larger goals in order to feel respectable.Ritualizes reject society’s goals but accept society’s institutionalized means. Ritualizes are most commonly found in dead- end, repetitive jobs, where they are unable to achieve society’s goals but still adhere to society’s means of achievement and social norms.
Is the rejection of both cultural goals and means, letting the person “drop out”. Retreatists reject the society’s goals and the legitimate means to achieve them. Merton sees them as true deviants, as they commit acts of deviance to achieve things that do not always go along with societies values.
Impact On Society:-Negative
Society has created a set of behavioural standards. Anyone outside of these norms is considered to be abnormal or deviant. While the types of deviance can vary, the negative consequences of these behaviours include some form of prejudice and social ostracism. In certain cases, deviant behaviour is criminal, resulting in legal ramifications.
- Social Deviance
Social deviance is any behaviour that differs from the social norms set by society. For example, people who dress differently are often seen as deviant by the media or the general public. Being goth, for instance, can have negative effects.
- Sexual Deviance
Much like looking differently results in stigma, unconventional sexual practices are also regarded with disdain. Homosexuality is a classic example of preferences that are considered deviant. The negative results are stereotypes and labels, such as “queer.” Additionally, society may convince gays and lesbians that they are intrinsically bad, which can result in reckless sexual behaviour or low self-esteem.
- Legal Deviance
Legal deviance is behaviour that does not conform to the laws set by society. Unlike social or sexual deviance, there are always serious consequences. Obviously, breaking the law can often result in incarceration.
- Religious Deviance
It is common knowledge that religion is an important part of American society. Mainstream Muslims and Christians, for example, can practice their beliefs without any problems. However, when taken to the extreme, deviant fringe groups can have a profoundly negative effect.
Impact On Society:- Positive
- An invitation to change
A PD inquiry begins with an invitation from a community that wishes to address an important problem they face. This is an important first step in community ownership of a process that they will lead.
- Discovering uncommon practices or behaviours
This is the Positive Deviance Inquiry. The community, having identified positive deviants, sets out to find the behaviours, attitudes, or beliefs that allow the PD to be successful. The focus is on the successful strategies of the PD, not on making a hero of the person using the strategy. This self-discovery of people/groups just like them who have found successful solutions provide “social proof” that this problem can be overcome now, without outside resources.
- Scaling up
The scaling up of a PD project may happen through many mechanisms: the “ripple effect” of other communities observing the success and engaging in a PD project of their own, through the coordination of NGOs, or organizational development consultants. However the project is scaled up, the process of community discovery of PDs in their midst remains vital to the acceptance of new behaviours, attitudes, and knowledge.
- Program design
Now that the community has identified successful strategies, they decide what strategies they would like to adopt, and design activities to help others access and practice these uncommon and other benefits. Program design is not focused on spreading “best practices” but helping community members “act their way into a new way of thinking” through hands-on activities.