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The Social and Cultural Contexts of Deviance - Literature review Example

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An author of the following literature review attempts to investigate the social factors that contribute to the development of antisocial behavior among children and adolescents. Particularly, the review will discuss the role of family interaction and peer pressure…
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The Social and Cultural Contexts of Deviance
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Download file to see previous pages Generally, deviance is a behavior that is seen as harmful, disruptive, or criminal. However, it may come as the result of being statistically unique. This brings into question whether there can be positive deviance. For example, if a student got straight A+ grades, the Underachievers Club may view them like a deviant. As a group, they may place sanctions on them above and beyond what they would the average student. This illustrates the concept that deviance must be seen through the lens of the social or cultural context that it takes place in (Keel, 2008).
Social norms are the types of behavior that are established and maintained by society and are considered to be acceptable. Because deviance is the transgression of a norm and has sanctioned, the degree of sanctioning (severity) will depend on the type of norm that is violated. Formal norms are more serious, often written, and have well-defined sanctions. These would include laws, school rules, or company policies. Informal norms are the generally accepted rules that are casually followed by society to maintain order. Manners, etiquette, and proper respect are informal norms. The sanctions can vary depending on the social context and the groups involved. While you may be stigmatized as rude for talking too loudly in a restaurant, you may be asked to leave a theatre or classical performance.
Norms are formed by a general consensus of the group. The dominant group will form formal norms, while informal norms may be formed by in-groups, tradition, or pragmatism. Both norms and sanctions are constructed by society as a means of maintaining order, control, or power. Norms, deviance, and sanctions continually change through time as they are affected by economic, political, religious, and other social forces (Schaefer, 2006, pp.66-68). We continually see the results in our changing culture and our evolving worldview.

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