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Socially constructed deviance - Essay Example

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Social stratification is central in studying any issues related to sociology.Systems of inequality or social controls determine and shape how the society operates.Race,class, gender,age,economics,politics and other social forces…
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Socially constructed deviance
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Socially constructed deviance

Download file to see previous pages... Social stratification is central in studying any issues related to sociology. Systems of inequality or social controls determine and shape how the society operates. Race, class, gender, age, economics, politics and other social forces-those cornerstones of stratification- determine access to social opportunity and consequently bring about inequalities in society. They also act as foundations of identity thus shaping opinions and perceptions of individuals. Social inequalities continue reproducing themselves thus making a group of people subordinate to others. These inferior groups get stigmatized and eventually come to accept their situation. Every society has its norms that hold the society together and failure to obey these norms is considered abnormal or deviant. Deviance is thus defined by Goode and Ben-Yehuda (2009) as “violation of a society’s or a group’s norms and the individuals who commit such acts are “deviants.” Absolutists would argue that deviance is intrinsic since we all know what is right and wrong. It is ones will to do evil or what is wrong. However, moral relativists argue that deviance is a social construction thus morality is relative. It comprises of those attributes, behaviors and conditions labeled deviant and these vary over time and place. If you say one is ‘deviant’, the question that then comes into the mind is: “by whose standards?” “Who is labeled deviant and who has the power to create and apply the labels?” ...
According to Goode and Ben-Yehuda (2009 p. 115) deviance is meaningless without reference to a specific relevant audience. As such, whenever it is said that one is deviant, the next question to ask ourselves is; deviant to whom? This view is supported by Curra (2011) who argues that there are no inherent qualities to separate deviance from non-deviance. No word like deviant exists unless there is an audience to evaluate ones behavior and label it as deviant. This audience in most cases is the society in which a person resides in. Deviant behavior according to the labeling theory therefore, refers to any behavior that is contrary to dominant norms of society (Curra, 2011). In other words, deviance is socially constructed and varies from society to society, group to group, different time periods and social contexts. The audience in this case must observe behavior in society and evaluate whether it conforms to the norms of the society and if not, it is labeled deviant. For example, although murder is considered deviant in all societies, some form of murder is considered heroic and not a crime depending on the circumstances. If the audience views an individual committing murder to protect the society from intruders that may be regarded as a heroic act that does not deserve condemnation. Sociologists do not believe that there is an act considered as absolute evil or which is universal. The absolute view holds that “if an act is wrong, it is wrong all the time regardless of place, time and social context” (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 2009 p. 110). For example, if they say abortion is murder the proposition holds at all times. This view is contrary to sociologist’s view. For them, deviance is relative and depends on who has the power and control to design the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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