Posted: February 7, 2011 in control, deviance, socialization, society, sociology

This week in class, we are reading chapter 7 in our textbook, “Deviance” (158-183). The authors point out that deviance is socially constructed and relative, based on specific expectations of cultural norms.

The authors overview various theories of deviance: biological, psychological, cultural, and sociological. While biological and psychological theories blame the deviant, sociological theories (labeling and conflict) focus on the ways in which society constructs deviance and upholds this division through social stigma, punishment, and praise. Stemming from these differing ideologies, different “solutions” to deviance are proposed.

What were the main themes of the chapter (use MLA citations)? What stood out to you? What is your example of a deviant behavior (include a link)?

Please bring your laptops to class on Tuesday so that we can work in groups. Each group will select a very specific category of deviance (not criminal; but specific type, i.e.), overview relevant statistics of practitioners versus those caught and penalized; discuss in terms of different deviant theories covered in chapter; and present visual documents that show this form of deviance. What solutions would the different deviant theories propose? Are there any “shame sites” associated with this particular form of deviance?

Further Reading

Sharp Rise in Suspensions at City’s Schools Is Cited

This video shows the objects of creating conformity in behavior and knowledge in the education system.

  1. Sean McKenna says:

    The main themes of chapter 7: Deviance were the different views and perspectives on what deviance is. The text states that there are biological, psychological, and sociological perspectives on what deviance is. The psychological and biological views concerning deviance focus on the individual while the sociological perspective deals with deviance as a product of society (156). The text defines deviance as behavior that does not conform to social expectations which violates the rules of a group.

    What stood out to me most about this reading was the idea that deviance is not necessarily evidence of something wrong with an individual rather, society makes things deviant with their views on the actions of others. Before reading this, I would never have thought deviance was anyone else’s fault but the person who was acting in ways contrary to the societal standard; however, the text makes a very convincing argument for the sociological idea of deviance as a product of society. The examples which made me think most while I was reading were the inconsistencies among societies as to what is deviance (156). One example in particular was the example that, in certain Native American tribes, young men were expected to have a vision after fasting which would dictate their role in society while someone in this day and age who would say they had a similar vision would probably be considered insane.

    In my mind, an example of deviant behavior is prostitution. I think this behavior does not conform to social expectations at all and should not be condoned. This behavior exhibited in a person is the result of many different aspects including desperation. However, the world’s oldest profession is and is a product of rape, child abuse, verbal abuse, domestic violence, and much more ( In my opinion, prostitution is an example of deviant behavior because of it’s connotations and it’s obvious nonconformity to societal norms.

  2. Kristen Nersesian says:

    Deviance is any behavior that does not conform to social expectations. It violates the rules of a group such as: custom, law, role, or moral code. Deviance is socially constructed and is a relative, not an absolute, notion (160). The majority of the population of a society determines who is a deviant.
    One of the major themes that I found in the reading was punishment. It was explained that punishment was not given to prevent future crimes but it serves to strengthen our belief as individuals and as members of a collectivity in the legitimacy of society’s norms (162). In other words, punishment is given to show individuals of a society the norms and that what ever crime the deviants committed, is essentially wrong and not part of society’s norm.
    Other major themes of this chapter include the three theories for causes of deviance: biological,psychological, and sociological. The biological and psychological theories assume that the fundamental reason for deviance is a fatal flaw in certain people. This merely means that the reason for their deviance is something that comes from inside of them, genetically or from the mind. Sutherland believed that through interaction a person learns to be a criminal, which is the sociological theory. Sutherland is saying that a person learns from their society and environment and is in a way taught the characteristics of a criminal. I think the the sociological approach to deviance is correct because even if an abused child becomes the abuser of their own children, it was still something that was learned from their parents. If you are never opened up to certain customs or crime is never a part of your life than there is no reason for you to understand it or become accustomed to it. Banfield believes that lower-class individuals have a propensity toward criminal behavior because of their weak ego strength, present time orientation, and willingness to inflict injury. This could also be true because someone who live under the poverty line are used to seeing their parents and other individuals in their situation stealing and selling drugs, just as a means to get by in their lives. And to these individuals who grew up with this around them, they are not used to seeing any other way of living so they do not know any better.
    In the reading it states that an act such as murder is deviant but the killing of an enemy during wartime is rewarded with praise. It also states that marriage is applauded and encouraged, but it is considered by many to be deviant when twi consenting adults of the same sex desire marriage (161). This may give people a mixed feeling on deviance. I believe a deviant act is murder or rape. These acts definitely do not fit in society’s norms and are looked down upon immensely. The only exception to murder is war and even then I do not believe it to be acceptable. This is an article of both of these deviant acts (

  3. David Strong says:

    The main themes of the chapter were the definition of deviance and consequently what causes it. The authors claim that deviance is any act that “does not conform to social expectations” (160). In this regard I think the authors did a great job of explaining what they meant and explaining that from country to country the definition of deviance varies. For instance, many women in the US would be considered deviants in countries such as Iran because the social norm over there is for women to wear clothing that does not show their face. We, on the other hand, see that as strange and associate clothing that covers one’s face with bandits and bank robbers. The chapter also touched upon the various theories about what causes deviance. It talked about the differences in biological theories, which tend to focus on the individual being responsible for their deviance, and sociological theories which, while usually still placing blame on the individual, try to determine what parts of society and flaws therein cause deviance.
    I think that the most important point that the chapter made was when the authors said, “A balanced view of people is needed, because human beings, have autonomy most of the time to choose between alternative courses of action.” (170). I agreed completely with this point. It is easy to blame a person solely for their actions just as it is easy to blame society for the actions of every one of its members. What is not easy is figuring out a balance between holding someone accountable for their actions while, at the same time, trying to determine what aspects of the society influenced the socialization of this deviance. For instance, a gang member who goes out and shoots a store owner during a robbery is definitely responsible for their actions. They purchased the gun, they went to the store, and they pulled the trigger and had to think about each of those actions as they did it. However, what elements of society (i.e. education, poverty, or racial inequality) led the gang member to join the gang and subsequently feel the need to rob the store owner? These questions are difficult because human beings are so complex. There is no simple answer, and the best we can do is try to rehabilitate, not just punish, the deviant while at the same time try to figure out how to better the social elements that affected them. I see gang violence as a definite example of deviance because it goes outside of what society deems normal and causes many individuals to become deviants through murder, robbery, rape, and other violent crimes (

  4. Elizabeth Daniels says:

    There were many themes of this chapter. The first important theme is the 5 important principles of deviance. Deviance is any behavior that doesn’t conform to the social expectations or violates the rules of a group. The 5 principles are that deviance is socially constructed, it is relative, not absolute, the majority determines who and what is deviant, it is an integral art of all societies and violators of important social norms are often stigmatized. (pg 160) The book also talks about how the individual is the source of deviance. The reason for their deviant behaviors is based upon biological, psychological and sociological theories. There is a fatal flaw in certain people that cause them to act the way that they do. Some examples are that they are born and have no choice but to be different. Some people are people who dropout, addictions or have schizophrenia are considered people that have something “wrong” with them. There are biological theories, such as how their skull is shaped that causes how they act in the real world, and become deviant. Psychological theories are that the mind is at fault. This is caused by what is done or not done to them when they are younger and developing. The sociological theory is based on how they are raised and the type of environment that they live in. It is also based upon their ethnicity, race, where they live and gender. Their cultural background plays a huge role as to how they are affected. All of these theories seemed to be blaming an underlying reason as to their behavior. (pg 163-165) I felt that the most logical explanation was the environment in which they were brought up in.
    Another major theme was the labeling theory and how they are perceived in the community in which they live. This makes the society the source of their deviant behavior. The labeling theory is ‘the view of deviant behavior that stresses the importance of the society in defining what is illegal and in assigning deviant status to particular individual, which in turn dominates their identities and behaviors.” (pg 171) The society created deviance by creating rules, but in the end they are usually ruling out a specific group, usually based on class or race. Statistics have proven that lower class individuals are more likely to be criminals than “well to do” people. Labeling people has a huge effect on people. For example, after someone gets out of prison, they have that record with them forever. This makes them face the problem of finding a job because they are labeled as criminals and no accepted back in to society.
    I see deviant behavior as something that is breaking the law and hurting someone else because it is out of their control. For example, I see rape, abuse and stealing deviant behavior because it is in the hands of the person who is committing the act and the person that is getting hurt has little or no control as to what is happening to them. There are of course more reasons as to why someone is being abused but many times someone is being abused because of something that is out of their control, such as the person who is abusing them having aggression problems.

    This site is about preventing abuse, specifically towards children. Abuse is a deviant behavior, especially when it comes to children. There are many parents that get mad at their children for the smallest things and they get abused because of it. In this case, the adults are committing a deviant behavior towards their children, and their children cant prevent it. Parents are the main source of role models for children and if their parents are abusive, chances are the children will become abusive because of the environment that they live in and the label that they are receiving from society.

  5. Gary Gustin says:

    The first and, in my opinion, most important theme of the chapter on deviance was that deviance itself is socially constructed, meaning that there is nothing inherently deviant in and of itself (Eitzen, Zinn and Smith, In Conflict and Order, 160). Deviance is something found in all societies throughout history and is generally determined by the majority, and individuals who deviate from societal norms are sanctioned in a variety of ways. The other themes about deviance itself can be broken down into the theories about its origin.

    One theory about deviance is that it is determined by biological forces beyond one’s conscious control (Eitzen, Zinn and Smith 163). For example, it was once thought that by measuring one’s skull size that deviance could be predicted. In the 1960s and 1970s it was thought that certain genetic disorders predisposed one to deviance, such as XYY syndrome. A biological explanation can entail the possibility of finding a cure for deviance, or at least a way to manage it. Some types of deviance, however, may not be able to be cured. In that case, institutionalization might be necessary (some people with certain mental illnesses may need to be institutionalized in order to prevent them from harming themselves in the absence of a cure).

    Another theme about deviance is that it is psychological in origin (Eitzen, Zinn and Smith 164). As with biological theories, it places the blame on the individual’s personality or psychiatric state and implies that the individual must be changed in some way. In some cases relatively mild forms of treatment, such as commonly prescribed prescription drugs or individual counseling, may be utilized. However, more drastic measures might include schizophrenia medications, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or even brain surgery.

    A different theory about deviance is that it is sociological in origin, meaning that deviance becomes less about the individual and more about the societal standards and circumstances that might produce deviance. One idea is that deviance is acquired via social interaction and cultural transmission (Eitzen, Zinn and Smith 165) or perhaps by differences in social classes within a particular society.

    One other theory is that deviance is essentially constructed by culture. Consider the labeling theory, which states that society had a critical role in defining what is deviant and what is not, and labels individuals who deviate accordingly. This label then dominates their identities and behaviors (Eitzen, Zinn and Smith 171).

    The only thing that I was surprised to read about in the chapter was the argument in favor of radical nonintervention, which would effectively propose leaving deviants alone as much as possible, at least insofar as no harm is done to anyone else in the process. For example, this would entail decriminalizing “victimless crimes,” like adult drug use, prostitution, etc. (Eitzen, Zinn and Smith 175-176). This seems similar to the libertarian approach of maximum freedom based upon the harm principle, meaning that if no one is being harmed then the law shouldn’t interfere. Of course, the problem is what society still disagrees over whether certain activities harm people (one might argue, for example, that prostitution is inherently dehumanizing and carries a risk of spreading disease, and should thus remain illegal).

    As for an example of something that I would consider to be deviant behavior, I would point to the following news story as an example of deviance to the extreme. It is a story about a woman who murdered her ex-husband and his new wife in 1989 after he left her for the new wife (
    If you want to know the entire story behind this ultimate act of deviance, a story that I think is very interesting, then I urge you to read Until the Twelfth of Never: The Deadly Divorce of Dan and Betty Broderick by Bella Stumbo. All of the main individuals involved in this story acted in ways that society considers to be deviant, whether by committing adultery, using illegal drugs, destroying property, abusing children and, finally, committing murder. Two movies starring Meredith Baxter were made about this story, and both movies can be watched on

  6. Dan Festa says:

    Deviance is defined as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations” (Eitzen et al, 160). The main themes of the chapter are the factors that cause social deviance, as well as the different ways social deviants are viewed. One of the main points of the chapter was that concept of deviance is something that is created by society, and is not an absolute concept that can be applied across all cultures (what may be considered deviant behavior in one society is not necessarily so in another). I thought that the most interesting part of the chapter was the different theories about what causes deviance. Although any one could describe why people display deviant behavior, I tend to believe that the approach that best describes deviant behavior is the sociological approach. The cultural transmission theory described on page 165 seems to be a good explanation as to how people learn certain behaviors. After all, if, as the authors claim, deviance is a product of society, then it only makes sense that learning deviant behavior should occur through the socialization process. Merton’s theory about social goals and opportunities is also a good explanation of deviance. His main is point is that people sometimes resort to deviant behavior as a means of achieving things that they could not attain through “normal” behavior. The third sociological theory mentioned is how different social classes act. The book mentions Edward Benfield’s theory, which states that lower class people have a higher tendency to commit criminal acts. His theory seems to argue that lower class individuals have lower moral standards and are thus more likely to commit criminal behavior. Personally, I think that this theory is the weakest of the three. After all, just because someone is economically disadvantaged, it does not necessarily mean that they will be more likely to carry out criminal acts.
    An example of deviant behavior is theft. Normal behavior in society tells people that stealing is immoral and wrong, and that people should not take property, which does not belong to them. Thieves are clearly social deviants who have no regard for the social conventions that dictate that stealing is wrong. The following article describes some potential causes and explanations of this kind of behavior.

  7. Melodi Vinette says:

    What were the main themes of the chapter (use MLA citations)? What stood out to you? What is your example of a deviant behavior (include a link)?

    The main themes of the chapter are deviance and the different approaches to analyze deviance. Deviant behavior is defined as any behavior that doesn’t conform to social expectations and violates the rules of the group. Deviance is socially controlled, relative, determined by the majority population, integral in all societies and violators of important social norms are stigmatized (160). The three main approaches to analyzing deviant behavior are the biological approach, psychological approach and the sociological approach. The biological approach seemed foolish to me because I do not think that one’s behaviors can be determined by their biological appearance and many theories coming from the biological approach have been discredited (164). The psychological approach stood out to me because I have taken a few psychology classes and the theories listed were familiar to me. I believe that the psychological approach does hold reasonable points and deviant behavior in some people may potentially stem from issues such as psychosexual trauma or lack of affection in early childhood. I studied child psychology and in class we learned about the different parenting styles and how a child’s behavior is directly affected by different parenting styles therefore I do believe that issues regarding childhood do affect a person’s behavior. The sociological approach to deviant behavior is interesting to study but I do not believe that deviant behavior should be directly linked to one’s society, nor do I believe that it should be directly linked to one’s psychological issues. The concept of the culture of poverty stuck out to me significantly. This concept is very offensive and I believe that those who agree with this concept do not have a direct relationship with a person living in poverty.
    One example of deviant behavior exhibited in teens is the usage of drugs, shown here in a clip from the movie Thirteen:

  8. Amanda Morales says:

    The main themes of chapter seven are deviance and its characteristics, traditional theories for the causes of deviance, society as the source, and deviance from the order and conflict perspectives (159). Chapter seven examines each aspect of deviance dividing each of the broad notions into four separate sections of the text. Each allows for a deeper understanding of strengths and problems with the examination of deviant behavior.
    What stood out to me the most would have to be the second section regarding theories of the cause of deviant behavior. More specifically, would be the biological theories. Caesare Lombroso’s theories of the features of a criminal were very amusing to me. Lombroso believed “that criminals are physically different-with low foreheads, protruding ears, long arms, and hairy bodies” (164). These characteristics imply that the criminal is more closely related to the ape than to the “nondeviants” (164).This idea seems very silly now but I can see how in the early eighteen hundreds this would seem extremely probable. More relevant would be the connection to deviant behavior to social factors. The text states, “the learning disability known as dyslexia is related to school failure, emotional disturbance, and juvenile delinquency”(164). This connection to social factors and deviant behavior seems a lot more believable than Lombroso’s theory regarding characteristics.
    In my opinion there are extreme acts of deviant behavior in video games today. Action games such as “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto” glamorize the use of weapons and violence in society. Though there is no proven link between violent games leading to violent children, the idea of turning a game into killing people is somewhat disturbing to me. The following is a clip from “Grand Theft Auto”. The trailer allows players a taste of what to expect from the game as a whole.

  9. Taylor Takats says:

    The main theme of the chapter was to discuss the persistence of deviance within society. Deviance is described as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations” (160). As described by the textbook the main ideas that make up the concept of deviance are as follows: it is socially constructed, it is not absolute, but instead is relative, the majority determines who or what is deviant, it is an integral part of all societies and violators of important social norms are often stigmatized (160). The variation that exists for what is considered to be deviant behavior within different social groups is very interesting. For example, I found it very interesting that in earlier history it was acceptable, even encouraged, that Egyptian royalty marry their relatives, whereas it was an extreme taboo in European royalty (160). As the chapter progressed, instances of society’s treatment of those who are deviant are discussed. For instance, one example that stuck out in my mind was the treatment of people who were from disadvantaged backgrounds were more likely to face the death penalty than those who were born into families who were well-off. Also, “since 1976, 224 black defendants were executed for murder of white people and only 12 white defendants have been executed for the murder of a black victim” (173).

    An example of deviant behavior that comes to mind is teen pregnancy. Instead of following the typical path of the average teen, these girls are involving themselves in unprotected sexual intercourse which leaves them bearing the weight of their risky behavior for the rest of their lives. Although this behavior is condoned for the most part and is certainly considered deviant since the large majority of teenagers are not giving birth to children before they even graduate high school, it is becoming glorified by the media. This glorification is only possible since it is deviant behavior and quite controversial at that. Below is a link to a Time article that illustrates the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the media.,8599,1855842,00.html

  10. Katie Cimmino says:

    The authors of “In Conflict and Order” define deviance as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations” (160). The authors emphasize how the definition of deviance differs from country to country. For example, Women in countries of the Middle East are required to cover all parts of their body and not show any skin, but in the United States we would find this type of action as strange and may associate this type of behavior as being a criminal of some sort. The authors talk about three theories that cause deviance. The first was the biological theory, which focused on the individual’s responsibility for their deviance acts. The second was the psychological theory, which considered the mind or personality but also focuses on the individual’s responsibility for their deviance acts. The biological and psychological theory is similar because their main focus is on the individual. The third theory is the sociological approach, while still blaming the individual, also tried to determine what parts of society and what flaws cause deviance.
    It is very easy to blame a person solely for their actions just as it is easy to blame society for the actions of an entire population. What makes this so complicated is when we have to determine whether society or the individuals should be held responsible for their actions. When someone commits a crime they are held responsible for what they did. Often, what we don’t think about is WHY they did what they did and often this is where the elements of society come in. You must also consider the person’s education, race, ethnicity, where they live, their background and many other factors. These violent crimes that people commit every day are obviously deviant acts, but when it comes to determining a persons rationale for committing their acts a lot of things must be considered.

  11. Brennan Johnson says:

    The book defines deviance as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations. It violates the rules pf a group (custom, law, role, or moral code) (160).” The textbook also stated the five principles of deviance; that it is 1. Deviance is socially constructed, 2. Deviance is relative, not absolute, 3. The majority determines who and what is deviant, 4. Deviance is an integral part of society, and 5. The violators of important social norms are often stigmatized. What is right and what is wrong varies in different societies. When reading this chapter on deviance, I had to ask myself, “well what is right, and what is wrong if everyone has a different take on what is acceptable?”

    Whether an act is deviant depends on how other people react to it. This not only relates to just this chapter but the chapters before that we had discussed in class. It is this idea of going along with something even though one may not find any faults in it but, decided to agree with society just to “fit in.” If I were taught by society to believe that dressing masculine for a woman was wrong and strange, then I would continue to believe that even if I favored that clothing, UNTIL I decided whether to question if it was wrong or not. I believe that deviance can be seen as hypocritical. The perfect example that the book addressed was the idea of marriage. Marriage is typically rewarded by most people, but when it is people of the same sex you it is considered deviant. So as I was reading this text I couldn’t truly decide or categorize things as being deviant or not. Just because certain people and certain styles do not fit in with the “norm” does not mean that it should be rejected, and it’s sad that this is the way that problems are being addressed in our society.

    The different theories of deviance in the biological, psychological, and sociological theories really caught my attention. With the biology theories, I thought that it was absolutely ridiculous that people would determine character faults by the size of a skull or Caesare Lombroso’s theory that criminals are physically different. I find that to be proposterous and the fact that that was even a notion to be addressed was scary to me. Could people really believe that. In the psychological theory it is the idea that the conditions of the mind or personality to be at fault. Both bioloical and psychological blame the individual for their deviant acts. The sociological theory is what I would lean toward the most because it focuses on the affects that social and economic conditions have on an individual. The book mentioned Edwin Sutherland’s theory on the idea that through social interaction one learns to be a criminal. I must say that I agree with this completely. If you surround yourself with people who behave in ways that are illegal or not accepted than a person is more likely to involve themselves in these acts as well.

    An idea that I believe is that you cannot blame just the individual or just society, it’s both. The book raises the idea of two ways to look at deviance: 1. Blaming the Victim, 2. Blaming society. I believe that a lot of people like to play victim and say that they are being targeted, but society has to have some groundrules otherwise the world would be chaotic if it did not. If drugs, stealing, rape, and murder were to be accepted then the world would literally be in shambles, so I do believe that there has to be some order. I also believe that when people get caught doing these acts that they are more upset and begin to hate society more. There are definately cases in which society does try to keep the people in power in power and the powerless powerless, but people like to play the victim, any way in which they can make excuses for their immoral behaviors.

    While reading this chapter I believe that it was a little biased, the book seemed to favor the idea of blaming society more than the individual and I just do not think that it is rational. Like when the book said the labeling and conflict theories I do believe that it is true but then again I believe that people do this to themselves, and that it is their duty to get out of situations that can be harmful to them. One can not always rely on society so much as to change just for them. I do find it sad that when dealing with the mentally ill, society tends to label them as being disruptive to the flow of things and being morally corupt, but then again their has to be a way in helping that individual because they cannot function in society because of the norms, and there is a case in which some things need to be warped and changed to fit in. That is one of the only cases that I believe should be ordered, when dealing with people who have disabilities.

    I believe that murder is a deviant act. I know that throughout this whole blog I kept saying that I could not say what is deviant and what is not because it varies in societies and no one can really say what is acceptable and what is not, BUT murder and sexual assault is never acceptable to me. I believe that is the worst thing that an individual can do. If someone does murder or sexual abuse or is a sociopath or psychopath then something needs to be done in order to keep this person from disturbing and corrupting societies ways. An example that I thought suitable for a deviant act was the craigslist killer. This man is murdering people and also sexually assaulting them, which I find to be wrong and that a person should be punished, especially since this man does not have any mental illnesses.

  12. morgmc30 says:

    The textbook defines deviance as any behavior that does not conform to social expectations (160). Deviance violates the social norms of our culture and an individual can be labeled or looked down upon if he becomes deviant. Chapter seven outlines many themes and theories that associate with deviance. I believe deviance is caused from a psychological experience more so than biological. The psychological theory believes deviance is caused from within the individual (164). For example, it can be caused from neglecting as a child, abuse, or a traumatic experience that has occurred in someone’s life. The biological theory believes deviance is caused by inheritance and it’s in your genes. Physical appearances, mental abilities, brain malfunctions can cause a person to be deviant. I feel that it is more likely to deviant because of a psychological factor rather than a biological factor. The blaming-the-victim critique stood out to me because I feel it coincides with my belief in the psychological experience. I feel our culture is changing and therefore so are our norms. Society can be a cause to deviance as stated in the textbook, blaming society (167). I feel society impacts a person’s life greatly and can turn someone to deviance. For example the textbook says a person who pays for sex is deviant, but I believe it is society’s fault as well as the victim because prostitution is being offered in our society.

  13. Andra Tomassi says:

    The main themes of the chapter were what is deviant varies from society to society and the same behavior may be interpreted differently when done by different categories of people in the same society (160). There are two theories when it comes to deviance. The first is person blame and the second is system blame. For example a blaming the victim scenario would be a child does poorly in school because their parents are uneducated. The blame is on the parents because they have not been exposed to educational situations before. Therefore, the problem lies with the child and the parents. A system blamer would look for other reasons for the failure in school. They ask what is wrong with the school or the curriculum that the child is failing(167). Another theme in the chapter is the labeling theory. Labeling theorist argue that deviants are not much different from nondeviants but the problems lies within the organization. The part of the chapter that stood out to me was the section on labeling. The part in particular that stood out was the discussion of problems with labeling. I agree with the chapter when it states it is a problem labeling youths as criminals for things that are legal when they are older (176). It is hard to tell children it is wrong to drink alcohol when eventually it will be legal for them to do so. An example of where societal different is with the drinking age. In the United States, a person is label as a deviant for drinking at the age of 18, however, in other society such as Canada, it is legal to drink at age 18.

  14. Kyley Walsh says:

    This chapter focuses on deviance. According to the book, deviance is, “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations. It violates the rules of a group (custom, law, role, or moral code)” (160). There are five principles that help describe social deviance, which are that deviance is socially constructed, it is relative, it is determined by the majority, it is an integral part of society and the violators are usually stigmatized (160). There are three main theories analyzing deviant behavior, which are the biological and psychological theory, which both focus on the individual and the sociological approach, which focuses on the society itself for the blame of deviance. The chapter also goes on to explain the labeling theory and the conflict theory, which both, “place the blame for deviance on the role of society” (170).
    What really stood out to me in this chapter was the labeling theory and the bias in the criminal justice system. According to the book, the labeling theory is, “the view of deviant behavior that stresses the importance of the society in defining what is illegal and in assigning deviant status to particular individuals, which in turn dominates their identities and behaviors” (171). It goes on to explain system bias in the death penalty and execution by the state. What really caught my attention was the difference between the sentence of a White person versus the sentence of an African American. It is said that African Americans receive a harsher sentence and overall harsher punishment. Research shows that, “80 percent of the murder victims were White compared to 14 percent Black..” (173). I do not find it fair that African Americans receive a harsher punishment when they are doing the same thing as Whites.
    One example of deviant behavior is abortion. Women have the ability to have the choice to abort their child. In some cases, abortion is a smart idea. For example, if a woman was raped, or if there are birth defects then abortion would not be looked down upon. If the decision to abort one’s child is for a selfish reason then it is considered murder. If a woman, no matter what age, is able to conceive a child then it should be their responsibility to raise the child and support him or her.

  15. Chris Medina says:

    The main theme of this chapter was deviance and the many ways and forms that it exists. This chapter also focuses on how some forms of deviance are punished, while other just as harmful to society and the public are gone unnoticed and unpunished. Deviance is “any behavior that conform with social expectations” (Eitzen et al, 160). So, basically anything that is not a social norm, which is many cases varies from society to society can be labeled as deviance. The chapter discusses at first some minor but still serious forms of deviance, which exist in many way such as the fact that 61% of high school students have claimed to have cheated on a test (Eitzen et al, 159).

    The chapter then discusses the causes that are present, which can lead to deviance. There are conflicting causes as some are on the individual basis such as the biological theory and physiological theory, while others blame society and the way that it handles deviance in the sociological approach. Another very big theme that was the meat of this chapter was how society as a whole can be bias in the way that it assesses deviance. For example the book continuously mentions how the poor and colored are always singled out and labeled as deviants much more then the middle-class or people with power. One fact that the book gives is the fact that out of the 2.3 million people in prisons 35.5% are black (Eitzen et al, 171). This shows how the “underdogs” are not given the same opportunity as the powerful people who can almost control society. In this sense almost no governmental figures or corporate leaders are ever labeled as deviant because they can protect themselves from criticism by forming laws. There are even examples of laws formed by these figure heads that are so bias toward the poor and black, that the poor are the only ones that can actually commit the crime, such as vagrancy (Eitzen et al, 177). At last the chapter touches on one last theme with regards to the social bias set on deviance. For example as individuals are put away for crimes, most of them being of lower social standings, political and corporate deviance’s are going unnoticed due to the power they have in society. Some of these crimes even inflict more damage on the greater population, but still go unpunished.

    The last fact that i mentioned me stood out to me the most as it is not fair at all. How can all these people get locked up for some crimes which aren’t even as bad as the ones that the corporate world makes. Also along with this one, another fact that stood out to me was how there is a lot of political pressure to hide some crimes committed by the powerful such as stock fraud. This is almost like stealing and it is not punished like that of the individual (Eitzen et al, 178)

  16. Molly Froehling says:

    What were the main themes of the chapter (use MLA citations)? What stood out to you? What is your example of a deviant behavior?
    This chapter focuses on social deviance. It describes deviance as any behavior that does not conform to social expectations. There are different definitions and principles that are used to describe what deviance means. (160)The thing that stood out most to me was how the majority affects the whole, and how it is socially determined. Society sets the norms and values that are socially acceptable to its people. We don’t really look into or question why they are accepted; rather we go along with these norms. The most interesting example to me was the example about how sex is viewed in our society. We view sex as not being deviant unless you are paying for it. Prostition is looked down upon in society and is illegal. But why? Isnt it still sex. Murder is seen as deviant, but not in a time of war. Instead it is praised and expected of soldiers to kill the enemy. These are examples of socially constructed views. I found it to be very interesting how people determine what is deviant based on how others will react. We begin to tap into our religious values and morals when dealing with some of these issues. The example that was given on gay marriage relates to this. Why is marriage encouraged in society, but not when it is with ones same sex partner? A majority of people feel this way, so that is what becomes socially accepted and termed deviant.
    There are Biological and Psychological approaches to blaming the victim in society. We as a society tend to want a solution to the person by aiming to change (164). It is very easy for us to blame the person rather than the society for its actions. I tend to agree with the psychological aspect of blame rather than the sociological or biological. We don’t question the norms in society, but instead we tend to question the exceptions. We need to take a greater look into why we look at things as being accepted and not accepted. We need to compare what we find to be normal to the way other cultures and countries view them.
    Two examples of social deviance seen in the media can be the scene from “Grown Ups” where the mother still breastfeeds her 4 year old. In our society this is looked at as deviant, but in other countries it is seen as normal. The second clip is from the movie “Three Men and a Baby”. It is looked at as weird when three fathers raise a baby girl without the help of a woman.

  17. Molly Froehling says:

  18. Nick Mancuso says:

    The main themes of chapter 7 of In Conflict and Order surround the idea of “deviance” – where it comes from and solutions to deal with it. Deviance is “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations.” (Eitzen 160) It violates the customs, laws, roles, or moral codes of certain groups. By punishing deviants for breaking norms of a group, the group is able to rise up around the rules and show their discontent with the deviant. There are many theories behind the causes of deviance. Biological, psychological, and sociological theories promote the individual as the source (Eitzen 162), while labeling and conflict theories promote society. (Eitzen 170)
    Many of the statistics in the beginning of the chapter stood out to me. “61% of high school students admit to cheating on tests,” “41.8% of twelfth graders admitted to marijuana use at least once in their lifetime,” “40 million adults regularly visit Internet pornographic sites.” (Eitzen 159-60) Other interesting points given are, “If most people believe that Iraqis are the enemy, then bombing their villages is appropriate and refusing to do so is deviant… If the majority is atheists, then those few who believe in God would be deviant and subject to ridicule, job discrimination, and treatment for mental problems.” (Eitzen 161) These examples of deviance struck me as a little shocking, but the idea of the majority determining who is a deviant seems to be true in our society.

    Eitzen, D. Stanley., Maxine Baca Zinn, and Kelly Eitzen. Smith. “Deviance.” In Conflict and Order: Understanding Society. 12th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2010. 159-83. Print.

  19. Jessica Baker says:

    Throughout this chapter in our textbook, “In Conflict and Order,” is about deviance and social deviance. There are many different kinds of deviance, which is “any behavior that doesn’t conform to social expectations, it violates the rules of a group (custom, law, role, or moral code.)” (161) It goes on to talk about the five principles; deviance is socially constructed, it is relative, not absolute, the majority determines who and what is deviant, it is an integral part of all societies and violators of important social norms are often stigmatized. (pg 160) The chapter goes on to talk about the causes of deviance and there are three different theories; biological, psychological, and sociological. Then there are theories about society being the source of deviance, these theories are the labeling theory and conflict theory.
    I didn’t agree with the Biological Theorists because I don’t think that you are born a criminal, I think that you are born with certain genes that could set you up later in life to be good or bad. But you choose your actions and those actions will affect your life, for better or for worse. I don’t understand how these theorists could believe that someone’s physical characteristics, physiognomy, could determine whether or not you are a criminal or not. What stood out to me was how I can’t seem to decide whether I believe if I blame the victim or if I blame society. Throughout the chapter, the more I read the more confused I got. I think that society plays such a huge role in the way we end up as people but I also think that society is what teaches us to choose what is wrong and right. Yet the individual can be blamed for not choosing what to do that is right.
    The show “Shameless” on Showtime have many examples of deviant behavior in each episode. The family struggles to get by because the father is an alcoholic, who collects social security illegally from his deceased aunt. The father isn’t the only person who does illegal things, every child in the family takes part in these behaviors; the youngest daughter stole a child and then lied to the police. A few examples of this behavior is they steal items from the grocery truck, coupons out of other people’s newspapers, and even water heaters. Here is the trailer for the show,

  20. Angela Halton says:

    The text “In Conflict and Order” defines deviance as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations” (160). There are five important principles that making social deviance more understandable. Deviance is socially constructed, deviance is relative, the majority determines who and what is deviant, deviance is an integral part of all societies, and the violators of important social norms are often stigmatized. These five concepts are something that clearly stood out to me. They are the defining characteristics but it in a way telling you that deviance is always changing and that acting out of the norm can be taken differently in many aspects.

    There are many different theories as to why people are deviant: biological, psychological and sociological theories. They argue that the individual ultimately has no choice but to be different. It may depend on their genetic makeup, their childhood, or by race… I don’t think that it followed back to just a single reasoning.

    To me it is interesting that looking at deviance it can be blamed only on the individual but can be blamed also society. An individual is usually the only one blamed for acting out.
    But something that also sticks out to me is that deviance was taken to an extreme within the chapter. Examples given were criminals, addicts, murderers but nothing simply. Deviance isn’t always something harmful, bad or endangering. It was simply defined as an act that does not conform to the norm. Yes, many acts of deviance are bad but what about something like being gay.

    Until recently being gay is something that was not socially acceptable to some, and it may still remain that way for some. But my point is that the text only points out the bad acts of deviance when it can be something that just makes you who you are. It could be something as little as picking your nose.

  21. Emily Chow says:

    The main themes of the chapter revolved around the causes of deviant behavior and what is understood about social deviance. Eitzen, Zinn and Smith (2010) explain that one principle of social deviance is, “Deviance is relative, not absolute” (160). They emphasize that deviance is relative to different societies and cultures and give the example that the average age to stop breast-feeding is age three, while developing countries continue to breast-feed until the age of five. The authors also argue that deviance is not defined as a particular act, but rather the situation of the particular act. For example, murder is a deviant act, but if a soldier kills an enemy during wartime, he is rewarded with appraisal and medals. Another theme of the chapter included the various perspectives on the causes of social deviance, including the biological theory, psychological theory, and sociological approach. Each theory explained the traditional theories about connections between the mind, body, immediate social settings, and how they correlate with deviance. However, the perspectives of “society as the source of deviance” were the most convincing to me. The text suggests that labeling is the view that “deviant behavior stresses the importance of the society in defining what is illegal and in assigning deviant status to particular individuals, which in turn dominates their identities and behaviors” (171). I believe that society and the power of the majority accounts for the labels that are placed on individuals in a particular society. Those who have higher socio-economic statuses are responsible for the bias that exists when labeling deviant behavior. For instance, of 2.3 million inmates in prisons, 35.5 percent were Black (171), showing that the lower-class “underdogs” of society are disproportionately represented in the prison population. I think that tattoos are a mild type of deviant behavior, however, they can be linked to more serious crimes. A survey of 2,000 college students reported that, “people who have four or more tats are more likely to report the regular use of marijuana, the occasional use of other illegal drugs and a history of being arrested ( These researchers wanted to look past the surface and wondered if people thought of body art as a subculture and their subsequent deviant behavior as a way to discern themselves from mainstream culture.

  22. Lauren Ryan says:

    The main themes of Chapter 7 from the textbook are the different types of deviance in our society, how psychologists and sociologists view deviance, and how our society views people who are considered deviant. One example of how deviance is explained in the chapter is through the labeling theory which is described as “the view of deviant behavior that stresses the importance of the society in defining what is illegal and in assigning deviant status to particular individuals, which un turn dominates their identities” (Eitzen, et al 171).

    Throughout the chapter, it is implied that mentally ill people are considered social deviants. This is evident in the biological and psychological theroies. In the definition of the biological theory of deviance, the term phrenology (the determination of mental abilities and character traits from the configuration of the skull) is used (Eitzen, et al 163). This really stuck out to me because it does not seem realistic that you can determine someone’s deviance and mental abilities from the shape of their skull. Granted, people who are considered or labeled mentally ill may look different and have physically abnormalities, but that does not make them a deviant. It is easier for society to put a label on mentally ill people and lock them away in a hospital or facility where they are “treated” for their illness. There is definiately a biological component to mental illness, but it is not the only component. Mentally ill people are only considered social deviants because they are not what society considers “normal.”

    In the psychological theory it is assumed that the “conditions of the mind or personality [are] to be the fault” (164). This, again, singles out mentally ill individuals as having created their own social deviance. Again, mentally ill people are not deviants. People who are mentally ill are products of not only themselves but of their environment. It is easier to say that a person is depresed because they have a chemical inbalance in the brain and that is all. But what about the environment this person comes from? Is there a lot of pressure on them to suceed? Are they abused and told they are worthless every day? Have they suffered some traumatic experience in their lives?

    One of my very good friends from home (we’ll say her name is Jane) went through a very tough time during our senior year in high school. Her dad was diagnosed with cancer and she started having severe, debilitating panic attacks. Our school basically kicked her out saying that she had to get her panic attacks under control to come back to school. She almost could not graduate. She was labeled as a distraction and a deviant by our school because of something she could not control. She was definitely ostrasized from the rest of our classmates and was misunderstood. Ever since then, she has started smoking and parties a lot. She since has left college because of the same kind of situation. She was labeled as someone with problems and she fell into that mold. Jane is one of the nicest people i have ever met and has impacted me in great ways. But now she will forever be prevented from having a good job and her mental health history will follow her throughout her life. That label she has recieved is nothing short of terrible.

    In the movie called “The Goonies,” there is a character named Sloth who is considered a deviant by his family because he is mentally handicapped and he is phsycially disfigured. In relaity, Sloth is a gentle giant and ends up befriending one of the characters named Chunk.

  23. Raenee Ritter says:

    Chapter 7 on Deviance explored four themes throughout the chapter to discuss the origins, characteristics, and solutions to deviance. The first explained the characteristics of deviance, the second examined traditional theories for the causes of deviance focusing on the individual, the third focuses on causes relating to society, and the fourth examines the deviance from the order and conflict process (159). Deviance is defined on page 160 as being any behavior that does not conform to social expectations. Five principals that help define social deviance are listed on page 160 as well. 1. Deviance is socially constructed 2. Deviance is relative, not absolute 3. The majority determines who and what is deviant 4. Deviance is an integral part of all societies 5. The violators of important social norms are often stigmatized. I thought the author did a nice job of breaking down these principals to help understand deviant behavior better. I feel that it is more a function of society than it is a individual and intrinsic characteristic. I think it has a lot to do with how you were raised and treated as you were raised, where you were raised, the people you associate with, and all other societal factors. I don’t believe that people are born with defects that make them deviate from society and become aggressive or harmful. One thing that stood out to me when reading chapter 7 was the drastic inequalities in statistics regarding race. Another thing that stood out to me was on page 175 where solutions are discussed. I thought the concept of radical non-intervention seemed interesting to me. I feel that it could be effective, we put too much emphasis on the negative today rather than just letting it be. It would allow those who have made mistakes in life to not be stigmatized and have to have that negative schema follow them around for the rest of their lives. What was most shocking to me about this section was the examples offered by Sheldon regarding the current “zero tolerance” policy in place in the school system. The fact that a 17 year old boy got put in jail for five years for allegedly elbowing a player while playing a basketball game is so ridiculous to me. That kids life was ruined because of this. He will now have to carry that around with him for the rest of his life. Now I know we don’t know the whole story here but even if say the kid were to blatantly walk up to the other player and elbow him in the head. I still would not think that a five year prison sentence would be justified in this situation. I strongly feel that the Juvenile system is taking things too far if examples like these are really what is occurring. The youtube video reflects some other examples and reflections on the zero tolerance policy in schools. They are to all extents ridiculous however a line does need to be drawn where parents and students are held responsible.

  24. Dylan McDonough says:

    Chapter 7 deals with deviance, the categories that create different perceptions of how deviance is formed, and the theories that try to explain in detail, the reasons for deviance. The book’s authors define deviance as, “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations (160).” Deviance is shown to be something created by society itself, not by the individual, so the society determines what is deviant and what is not. The main themes of the chapter come from the three separate categories that make up deviance.
    The biological perspective sees deviance as something that is physically wrong with a human being, whether brain malfunctions or genetic deficiencies. Biological theories try to prove that biological deformities lead to characteristics that are prone of deviance, though this has mostly been disproven (164).
    Psychological perspectives see deviance as something wrong with a person’s cognitive processes that lead to a psychopathic state. This may happen from abnormalities in the person’s upbringing as a child, or other traumatic childhood incidents. Freund believed that these incidents haltered a person’s growth of an ego so deviant impulses were impossible to harness (164).
    The sociological aspect to deviance seems to take a more “blame the society” approach instead of a “blame the person” approach. That is, the person who is deviant has nothing wrong with them, it was something abnormal in their socialization process that encouraged deviant behavior (165). Take for example children in inner city schools who tend to do worse on standardized tests, graduation rates and so on. It may not be the individual’s whom do poorly because they themselves are wrong-doing, but the society in which they grew up in does not have the right characteristics to bring out the most potential from them.
    Another main theme is the labeling theory. This theory states that “But rule breaking itself does not make a deviant. The successful application of the label ‘deviant’ is crucial (171).” This means that most people act deviantley at times, but not all are labeled as deviants, only those who fit the right characteristics are actually labeled as “deviants.” For example a college student who gets drunk and vandalizes something isn’t looked at as a deviant but just a kid that made a stupid mistake. But if a poor person of the same age does graffiti on some wall they are chastised and seen as deviants.
    This link is from an educational video from the 50’s or 60’s. It shows how deviant behavior was viewed the mid-20th century, and is actually kind of funny.

  25. David Machi says:

    Deviance is behavior that does not conform to social expectations. Examples of deviant acts are cheating, stealing, and anything illegal. The first part of the chapter deals with the characteristics of deviance. Deviance is socially constructed; the people of the society determine what is normal and what isn’t. This organizes what is viewed as right and wrong and develops the norms of the society. Breaking these norms is a sign of deviance. The second part of the chapter deals with the theories regarding deviance from an individual standpoint. Biological, psychological, and sociological theories believe that the reason people act in deviant ways is because there is something wrong with these people. Biological theories of deviance say that there is a direct relation between the way someone physically looks and they way they act. Psychological deviance believes that the problem with the individual is in their mind. The sociological viewpoints believe that the economic and social conditions of a person determine their deviant behavior. Part three of the chapter deals with society as the source of deviance. The labeling theory stresses the importance of the society in defining what is deviant to particular individuals, which dominates their identity and behavior. Part four deals with deviance from the order and conflict perspectives. The order perspective suggests that the deviant grew up in an environment with conflicting values. The conflict perspective suggests that the source of deviance is the society itself, because individuals are a manifestation of the society. The biological theories stood out to me. I find it hard to believe that the way someone looks affects the kind of person they become. I believe the environment they grow up in has way more of an influence on an individual.

  26. Pete Lucchesi says:

    What stood out to me as the overlying theme of the chapter was that deviance cannot be explained in one, simple way. Deviance is relative (160) and varies from society to society. Deviance can be blamed on personal traits or societal factors (168). In other words, deviant behavior is complex and cannot be explained by one or two factors.

    Prior to reading the chapter, I never thought about how deviance is relative. After reading, I realize that it’s obvious that deviance is relative, but I feel that many people do not look at it in this way. The fact that your behavior and actions are not bad because they are just bad, they’re bad because other people (society) deems them to be bad. For example, in some societies (like certain tribes in Africa) sexual promiscuity is encouraged, while in many other more “civilized” societies, it is generally frowned upon and a person (especially a woman) who is sexually promiscuous is considered a deviant and often called more hurtful things.

    What also stood out to me was the claim by Durkheim (161) that deviance is “an integral part of all healthy societies.” He claims that things such as crime help remind society what is wrong and unacceptable and further reinforce social norms. In other words, without crime and other deviance, there would be no guideline to what is acceptable and what is not. This is also something I never considered prior to reading this chapter. If someone were to ask me if crime is good for society I most likely would have answered with a firm “no,” but now I realize that without bad, good cannot be established as “good.”

    We as Americans often associate crime with inner-city, low-income neighborhoods and it’s inhabitants. A good example of this is the recent film “The Town” where men from a tough neighborhood in Boston rob banks. Charlestown, which is traditionally a low-income Irish Catholic neighborhood, is often associated with being a hub for bank robbers, which gave the producers and writers the idea for the movie. In this town, deviance is almost respected by the other inhabitants, where outside of the town, people see everyone who lives in Charlestown as being deviants. Here is the trailer for the movie:

  27. Erica Porco says:

    “In Conflict and Order” Chapter 7 focused on what deviance is, its characteristics, the causes of deviance and how deviance is defined through society and by an individual. “Deviance is any behavior that does not conform to social expectations” (160). Some main points that stood out to me in the chapter were that is is the act and not the situation that illustrates if a behavior is deviant by others, The majority determines who is deviant (161) and the psychological theories for deviance.
    The issue that the act and not the situation determines whether behavior is interpreted by others as deviant (161) means that in some circumstances a certain act is accepted because it is considered socially norm, however if the same act is put in a different situation it can become deviant. For example if two adults give consent to sexual intercourse it is considered normal in society. However if one of the partners is to pay the other for sexual intercourse it is considered deviant because prostitution is predominantly illegal in our society.
    The same example used above also brings up the point that majority determines who is deviant. Prostitution for the majority of the U.S is illegal except for some parts in Nevada. Since most people do not practice prostitution, the majority looks at people who prostitute as deviant. However if prostitution was the majority then having sex without paying someone would be considered “out of the norm” or a deviant behavior.
    As a psychology major, I found the psychological theories viewpoint for causes of deviance very interesting. Freud found the relationship between parent and child to be very important in the development of a person. However sometimes children, like Freud, become infatuated with their parents (especially boys with their mothers, and daughters with their fathers). Because of this ideology, people with these feelings towards their family members felt that they were getting involved in deviant behaviors as a way of punishing themselves for their inner feelings.
    I found a website with numerous articles on child abuse stories. I find the act of child abuse to be extremely deviant and inhumane. I didn’t just choose one article because they all are examples of deviant behavior so here is the link to all of these horrific stories..

  28. Megan Hannah says:

    This chapter is broken into four parts; characteristics of deviance, traditional theories for the cause of deviance, society as the source of deviance and deviance from the order and conflict perspective. I found the source of deviance to be the most important of all the sections. It focused on the research of where and when deviance occurs and if it is biological, psychological or sociological. Although it is not clear because we are not able to find the true source of deviance there are many theories that vary from physical characteristics to where you grow up.

    The first theoretical source of social deviance looked at in this chapter is biological. Which essentially means that your genetics are the cause for the all the deviant acts you may commit. This would mean that it is inevitable to be deviant but that we could possibly detect it early enough to change it. This would bring about the issue of incarceration as well. If you are genetically prone to committing crimes is it really fair to punish someone?

    The second source discussed was psychological which is similar to biological but differ because they are conditions of the mind and personality. People that tend to be more aggressive or impulsive would fit this theory. These traits would be be easy among schools because you could find overly aggressive students or ones who show signs of guilt.

    The sociological approach is very different in that the blame is not on the individual but society as a whole. Influences such as what neighborhood you grew up in to your heritage are to blame for the development of deviant characters. What I found to be the most interesting theory associated with the sociological approach was that of Edwin Sutherland. Sutherland believed you learn to be a criminal and that if you associated with deviants there is a high probability you too will become a deviant (165).
    ^ This article looks at social deviance being associated with mental illness which would go along with the first and second theoretical sources

  29. Jeff Amorello says:

    Chapter 7 discusses traditional theories for the causes of deviance, society as the source of deviance, and deviance from the order and conflict perspectives. In the text, deviance is defined as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations” (160). At first glance it seems as though deviance would be frowned upon by people, but in fact deviance occurs everyday by virtually everyone on the planet. In fact, a popular sociologist named Emile Durkheim stated, “deviance is an integral part of all healthy societies” (162).

    There are many sources of deviance outlined in this chapter. Firstly, the author discusses the individual as the source. Biological, psychological, and sociological theories have all been made about deviance. in essence, deviance can be triggered through genetic factors, psychological factors, and societal factors.

    In the United States today, society plays a key role in deviance across the country. Outlined by two theories, the first theory is called the Labeling Theory. It is defined as the view of deviant behavior that stresses the importance of the society in defining what is illegal and in assigning deviant status to particular individuals, which in turn dominates their identities and behaviors (171). Society put labels on socioeconomic groups of all levels. Along with these labels come prejudices and biases that are harmful to the people. The next theory discussed in the chapter is called conflict theory. Both corporate crimes and political crimes are committed everyday, and attribute to the essentially unavoidable idea of deviance. A corporate crime is the “illegal and/or socially harmful behaviors that result from deliberate decision making by corporate executives in accordance with the operative goals of their organizations (178). Political crimes are activities against the government, such as acts of dissent and violence whose purpose is to challenge and change the existing political order (179).

    After reading the chapter and understanding the definition of deviance, I realized that these sorts of “law breaking” activities occur daily on a college campus. For example, over half of the Siena students drink alcohol underage every week, and many students experiment with illegal drugs. What stood out to me most in the reading though, was the intensity and magnitude of some of the political and corporate crimes that have taken place in the United States. Fraud and theft runs rampant both in our government and corporations today. For example in 2006, a Federal judge found found Big Tobacco firms guilty of civil fraud and racketeering. The company claimed they had no knowledge of nicotine’s addictiveness, and the judge ruled that they deceived the public about the dangers of smoking in order to gain profit (179).

    Surrounded by teenagers and young adults, I see acts of deviance throughout my day. An example of deviance I experience is that of cheating on schoolwork. College is a time where students want to balance their social lives with their academic ones, and sometimes academics takes the back seat. Procrastination can often lead to cheating because a student will not want to spend time studying and come exam time, they still want to do well, so they resort to academic integrity. Although it doesn’t seem to be against the law (unless you’re plagiarizing) academic institutions take this offense seriously, and the penalty is often expulsion.

  30. Kevin Allen says:

    Deviance is any behavior that does not conform to social expectations. It violates the rules of a group (160). Any type of behavior considered wrong, such as cheating or stealing is considered deviance. Deviance is also determined by the society that which the deviant lives in and as a result each culture sees deviance differently. Deviance depends on the reaction of the particular audience (161). The two main themes of this chapter are what causes deviance and who is to blame for the deviance. There are many theories as to what causes deviance. There are biological, psychological and sociological approaches. I found it interesting that the biological theories believed that a person is born a deviant (163). That it is in their genes and that certain traits create deviants. This just seemed ridiculous to me that people believed that certain traits lead to certain crimes. Once someone is considered a deviant who do we blame for their deviance? Do we blame the victim or blame the society that they were raised in. in order to solve this question one must figure out did they become a deviant on their own or did society force them to be. Society plays a huge role because anyone that goes against the norms of society is seen as a deviant. Some other facts that stood out to me were that two thirds of released prisoners are arrested again within three years and also that 20-30% of inmates are functionally illiterate (167). I did not know that these numbers were that high. Since the illiteracy rate is so high it obvious why it hard for many criminals to get jobs after being released from prison. An example of deviant behavior is Frank Lucas. He smuggled heroin into the United States and then sold it. He also murdered people, stole, and lied. He was considered a deviant during the 1960s and 70s.

  31. Chris Rockensies says:

    This chapter discusses deviance and the many different theories behind its cause. Some people believe that it is a cause of the cultural norms, while others believe that is solely based on the individual. Several different sciences try to explain why people act with bad behavior, and how to prevent it. Biology believes that deviance comes from the individual due to mental disabilities, genetics, or physiognomy. Like biology, psychology believes that deviance comes from the individual, but they believe that it comes from the mind and personality. Sociology on the other hand believes that the problem comes from the society that the people live in and not from the individual.
    The part of the chapter that stood out to me was when the author was talking about blaming the-victim critique. I believe that society has a major impact on the way we act and think. When people are labeled poor or live in the ghetto, it dehumanizes them and makes them feel like they don’t matter. This causes them to not try in school, drop out and then turn to a life of crime. When everyone is doing it around you it seems like the only thing to do and what is right. When the cultural norm is to sell drugs and commit crimes, the chances are kids are going to drop out of school and follow this path. “Studies have shown that 20 to 30 percent of inmates are functionally illiterate.”(167) Since many prisoners are illiterate, they are unable to hold many jobs and therefore turn back to a life of crime to try and make ends meet. Many of them will be arrested again in the near future of their life. An HBO television show called “The Wire” tried to depict this terrible life cycle that is seen in many inner cities. Many of the characters refer to selling drugs, committing crimes, going to jail, and even dying as being part of the game. This shows that this life style is just part of life, its expected outcomes and is all just a game. In this kind of lifestyle, deviance is the only way to live.
    This link is taken from the wire. One of the characters teachers to others by teaching it to them with language they know. Language is key to success in educating kids like these two.

  32. Alexis Farfaro says:

    Deviance is defined as behavior that fails to conform to society’s norms and expectations. Chapter seven focused on the characteristics of deviance, the traditional theories for the causes of deviance, society as a source of deviance, and the order and conflict perspectives. Some characteristics of deviant behavior include cheating, theft, prostitution, drug usage, and murder. According to the chapter, there are five principles that aid in our understanding of deviance. The first is that deviance is socially constructed; meaning that social organizations create norms and thereby decide what is right and what is wrong. The second is that deviance is a relative concept, or “whether an act is deviant depends on how other people react to it” (160). The third principle is that the majority decides who is a deviant. If the majority of people in a society hold a certain belief, the people who do not hold that same belief will be labeled deviants. According to Emile Durkheim, “deviance is an integral part of all healthy societies” and she argues that the function of punishment is to show the importance of following rules, not to prevent future crimes (162). The last principle in understanding deviance is that “violators of important social norms are often stigmatized” (162). Deviants are seen as different from the majority and are also considered to be “socially disgraced”.
    Traditional theories for the causes of deviance include biological and psychological theories, which place the individual as the source of deviance. Both these theories argue that the individual can’t help but to be different. Biological theory focuses on physical and character flaws, such as XYY chromosomes in males and dyslexia (164). It places the blame on the individual and his or her biological abnormalities. A similar theory is psychological theory, which assumes “conditions of the mind or personality to be the fault” (164). It has the same fundamental assumption as biological theory in that deviance is the fault of the individual. The proposed solution to this deviance is that the individual must be changed to conform to society’s expectations. The sociological approach focuses on “differing objective social and economic conditions” (165). In other words, it assumes that deviance depends on one’s social location and that one learns to be deviant through the process of socialization.
    According to the chapter, the society can be blamed for deviance as well. The labeling theory is “the view of deviant behavior that stresses the importance of the society in defining what is illegal and in assigning deviant status to particular individuals” (171). People act as products of their environment. Bias is a large factor in the sociological approach. Many times if two people of different economic backgrounds commit the same crime, the person of the lower class will be labeled as a deviant and punished for the crime, whereas the higher class person will not. These individuals who are labeled often end up satisfying a self-fulfilling prophecy, also known as secondary deviation. One of the proposed solutions to deviance from the labeling perspective is to leave criminals alone rather than labeling them, so they can avoid this self-fulfilling prophecy. Conflict theory focuses on “social structure as the source of deviance” (181). The powerful in society will be favored and justice will be bias. Basically, the powerful interests within a society will determine who and what is deviant. The radical transformation of society is the only proposed solution to this problem.
    The proposed solutions for deviance from the labeling perspective really stood out to me. I agree that the “zero tolerance” policy in schools is too strict, and that minor offenses should not necessarily be processed formally in the justice system; however, radical non-intervention is not the answer. Kids need guidance, especially after they’ve been labeled delinquents. They need to understand why their actions were wrong and learn from their mistakes in order to avoid repeating them in the future. Children need to learn the difference between right and wrong and these lessons need to be re-enforced as they grow up. Giving juvenile delinquents a negative label is a justified consequence of their actions. Deviant behavior will only continue in children if we use non-intervention because they won’t fully learn from their mistakes. There are many delinquency prevention programs in the U.S. These programs can help kids in realizing that they have the chance for a better future, instead of leaving them alone in fear that they will live up to their negative label.
    The attached link is a bulletin from the U.S. Department of Justice that summarizes studies done on intervention for juvenile offenders.

  33. Christine Pierson says:

    Chapter 7 of our text covers deviance, defined as any behavior that does not conform to societal norms, what acts and behaviors are considered to be deviant, and the driving forces behind deviance in society (160). One of the main points that Eitzen et al. stresses about deviance itself is that is relative as opposed to absolute, primarily due to the inconsistencies among and even within societies regarding what is right/ acceptable and wrong/ unacceptable. One example of this cited in the text is society’s views regarding marriage. “Normally” marriage is a celebrated occasion, but it is generally severely frowned upon when two people of the same sex are involved (161). Another key theme of the chapter was the causes of deviance, one of which being the individual. This view centers on the belief that criminals, addicts, and the like have something wrong with them, has no choice but to be different, and needs to be “fixed.” To me this seemed quite similar to part of our discussion in our last class where it was mentioned that it seems as though our society feels like diversity or any kind of difference is bad. This was also something that struck me when reading about the labeling theory, which stresses the importance of society in determining what is illegal or what is normal and assigning deviant status to particular individuals (171). Our society focuses too much on fitting everyone into a box and then keeping everyone in their designated boxes. This goes the same for criminals, ‘delinquents,’ or ‘deviants.’ If labels of what is illegal or wrong are created by the majority and/or the people in power, we are essentially choosing who will fall to the bottom of the societal pyramid and how to keep them there. I find it difficult to see how society will ever change when operating in this manner.
    The following link is an article about a woman who became addicted to pain killers and was essentially using several different doctors as drug dealers. It is people like this that I believe are true deviants – people who perform acts that could potentially destroy their valuable lives, put other people in danger, and people who “cheat the system” in order to get a leg up on people that work hard and try to do the morally right thing.

  34. Shineigh Wren says:

    The main themes of Chapter 7 “Deviance” in our textbook is exactly that. Deviance. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do certain people do more deviant things than others?
    The chapter clearly defines deviance as “any behavior that does not conform to social expectations.” (160)
    But who gets to say what social expectations are? The book says the majority of people and the powerful do. If the majority of the United States find Iraq as the enemy, then it becomes socially acceptable to bomb their cities (161). Taken out of context for a minute, though, we know that bombing any city, no matter how terrible the things they do to their people are, is wrong. The majority can have a significant affect on people in every day life as well. When a professor asks the class to raise their hand if they though answer A was correct, and the majority raise their hand, I would be less likely to raise my hand for answer B if that is what I thought. The minority is looked at as different. This is made apparent even by our judgement of race and ethnicity. Our recent blog posts looked into the issue of race and ethnicity in crime and in the media. Minorities are always made out to be doing something more wrong than white people because they aren’t a part of the majority. This means they must be deviant, right?
    The chapter then looks into what causes a person to be deviant. Individual, biological, psychological and sociological reasons were all discussed. Sociological was the reason that the book gave the most truth and relevance to. The book claims that biological and psychological reasons blame the individual too much and not society (164). This is partially true, but in my opinion we can’t rely just on society to blame. There are certain differences in people’s brains or gene pool which makes them more susceptible to acting aggressively or different than the norm. I believe to truly understand why someone is deviant, we need to combine all three reasons into one.
    Labeling was another big issue in the chapter. According to the book, primary deviance occurs prior to a person or group being labeled as deviant. Secondary deviance occurs after a person or group has been labeled deviant (174). This makes sense. If someone gets bad grades they are then labeled as a bad student. The negative stigma that comes with being labeled a bad student will psychologically ware away at them, causing them to do even worse.

    This clip is of the “Most hated family in America” who protest soldiers weddings because the army lets gay people in. They believe that anyone different from themselves are going to hell. They are a minority in this country, so they are looked at as deviant to us, but from inside their small group, they see everyone else who is different as deviant.

  35. Andrew Sutton says:

    There were many different themes throughout chapter seven. It started out by explaining what deviance is. According to the book deviance is any behavior that does not conform to social norms. Deviance has five major principles. 1) Deviance is socially constructed 2) Deviance is relative, not absolute 3) The majority determines what is deviant 4) Deviance is an integral part of all societies 5) The violators of important social norms are often stigmatized. (160) After explaining what deviance is the chapter discussed the three major groups of theories that revolve around the individual as the problem. These groups were biological, psychological, and sociological. Theories of the biological nature focus on genetic issues as well as problems in the brain.(163) The psychological theories focus in a large part on an individual’s experiences primarily during childhood. (164) Finally, sociological theories focus on the individual learning to be deviant through socialization. (165)
    The main part of this chapter that stood out to me was the blaming the victim critique. This is the idea that the individual is to blame for being deviant not the society. While at times this can be true, there are also many other times where the individual is blamed for something that is societies fault. These ideas just stand to reinforce the idea of deviance. They make society feel like they are in the right while the individual fails and gets ostracized. I think the most important system that the book says is free from blame in this theory is the education system. (169) The education system can be let off the hook if society believes that it is the individual’s fault that they are not excelling. While in turn it could be a failure of the education system to assist in these individual’s educations. For example on page 167 the text states that 20 to 30 % of inmates are functionally illiterate.
    One example of deviance can be seen in the general reaction of an individual when they find out someone is atheist. Due in large part to the fact that the majority of American society believes in a God of some faith it is considered deviant when an individual believes there is not a God. I think the best spot to find this is in a public forum where people can go and post their beliefs. This is a question posted to yahoo answers and the many different responses that were given.

  36. Megan Hannah says:

    -95% of people in the United States have premarital sex, 93% were before age 30

    -7 out of 10 people have had sex before age 17

    -premarital sex has become “normal” behavior in America

    -In 2006–2008, the most common reason that sexually inexperienced teens gave for not having had sex was that it was “against religion or morals”

  37. Shineigh Wren, Sean, Raenee, Melanie, Angela, Gary says:
    This site offers support to families, friends, and gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, as well as promotes the well-being of these people.

    -4-10% people identify themselves as gay or lesbian in the general population
    -In 1973 The American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder
    -The HCPA just authorized the DoJ to help investigate into hate crimes against homosexuals
    -The HCR family project is a program that helps enable the LGBT community to adopt children
    -National Coming Out day
    -Coming Out support groups are available throughout the US

    This family, the Phelps family, strongly opposes homosexuality and believes that anyone who is homosexual is going to hell.

  38. The topic that our group did was teenage pregnancy. Some of the shocking statistics were that 750,000 15 to 19 year old teenage girls become pregnant each year. Also teenage pregnancy in the United States is 10 times more than in Japan, 4 times more than in France and Germany, and 2 times more likely than in the UK.

    We also did a comparison of present day to the 1950’s. in the 1950’s only 1 out of 3 pregnancies were out of wedlock, also the adaption rates were high. Out of wedlock teen births increased from 13% in the 1950’s to 79% in 2000

  39. Elizabeth Daniels says:

    Tattoos and piercing are seen as a deviant act

    -People of lower class are more likely to have tattoos rather than people of higher class
    -less likely to be hired—discrimination because of tattoos/piercing
    -people don’t take them seriously or they think that they are not caring, violent—-goes with labeling theory
    -people with 4 or more tattoos and 7 or more piercing are far more prone to using illegal drugs and being arrested for criminal offenses
    – they found 37 percent reported at least one piercing and 14 percent were tattooed. Four percent reported having seven or more piercings, four or more tattoos, and/or at least one piercing in their nipples or genitals.
    -when the tattoos are on your arm( places it can be convered) it is more acceptable than it on your face.

    GROUP 3

  40. Kristen Nersesian says:

    Grey area in between illegal substance and medical use.

    23% of 8th graders have used marijuana.
    24% of 12th graders are current users-used it in the last month.
    41.9% of arrested adults in NY had tested positive for weed.
    8,013,308 plants taken away indoor and outdoor.

    health effects: short term memory, distort judgement and perception.
    negative effect on brain development in young adults.
    increase of anxiety and depression.

    15 out of 50 states now have rights to use of medical marijuana :
    Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C.
    Oregon and Washington allow up to 24 OZ useable.

    Positive effects: anti-nausea, multiple sclerosis (relieving muscle pain), cancer (pain relief), alzheimer’s because of the THC in the drug, treatment for parkinson’s.

    People look down upon drug dealers not users.
    Weed and other crime, weed is looked down upon.
    Just smoking does not look as bad.
    Stereotypical po head.

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