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Research paper topic: Deviant Behavior - 1188 words
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.. ow much their peers and media influence them to go against the norms. Although, once a person is labeled deviant they continue to respond to society as if they are. This aspect of deviance is called the Labeling Theory. They are sociologists who seek to find why certain acts are defined as criminal, and others are not.
They also question how and why certain people become defined as a criminal or deviant. The acts that they perform, in this idea, are not significant to the criminals, but it is the social reaction to them that is (Overview 1). The response and label from other individuals in society, such as peers, are how the individuals view themselves. When a person does a deviant act they are then labeled by society and separated from the normal people. Such labels in todays society are whore, abuser, loser, and etc.
These people are then outsiders and associate with other people who have been cast out of society. When more and more people think of these people as deviant they, themselves think they are too. The Labeling Theory says that once they feel this way they will continue to behave in the way society now expects them to. The biological answer is found in heredity and genetic testing. This is where the argument of nature vs. nurture comes up.
Not in sociology, but in psychology because the social causes are not being investigated. The question is, are humans genetically predisposed at birth with the characteristics that make them act deviantly, or do the people around them influence them to act this way. The early studies of Phrenology was used by experimenters to determine if an area of the brain had the properties to predispose a person the deviant behavior. They had more severe deviant behavior in mind such as sex crimes, rape, theft, assault, murder, treason, and fraud. They figure that they do not have the right controlling power for that area of the brain if they are acting abnormal.
This theory, like many biological studies trying to find factors of deviance, is short-lived, but leads to another field of study, anthropology. Anthropologists say that crime is rooted at heredity. Their studies do not go far either because when they were measuring physical characteristics they found few differences to support their hypothesis. Johannes Lange and other later experimenters used twin studies to attempt to prove the biological theory. They looked at twins with criminal records to see if both of the siblings are more likely to commit a crime than just one of the siblings in a set of twins.
This is also a contestable topic. The biological argument would say that delinquents are inferior and inferiority is inherited. Sociologists would counter act by saying that the person simply learned inferiority from their parents at a young age and is not inherited. The XYY Controversy disputes that males can have an extra Y chromosome that makes them extra aggressive. The YY sperm unites with and X ovum and creates an XYY male. They can not prove that it is not just the pressures from society that makes a person more easily inclined to act criminally.
As is shown from all of the disproved theories, biologists probably will never be able to defend their research in trying to discover whether or not inherited characteristics predispose a child to acting deviant (Berg, 34). The psychological perspective is popular amongst many crime committers in the United States today. What is meant by this statement is that a person can plead insanity for defense and get out of the crime they committed, but the difficult part may be that psychiatric support is needed. The psychological answer for deviance is the relationship between crime and mental defectiveness. In the Irresistible Impulse Rule insanity is emotional rather than an intellectual condition (Pfuhl 45). Mental illnesses can also either be caused or helped become worse from drugs and alcohol.
The test done by psychologists were those to find out the mental characteristics found in offenders and non-offenders such as emotions, moods, and temperament. This explanation also is not accurate because it can be disproved by taking a circular form. For example, they ask a person why he did what he did? The answer to that is because he is ill. It is then asked how do we know he is ill? The answer to that is because he did what he did. Finally, we come to the third perspective of how deviant behavior is created. The sociological perspective is the factor that has been the least questioned explanation of the three, even though it does not also give the exact justification for where deviant behavior comes from.
Sociologists learn from cultures influences, other than a biological or psychological bias. It is an emergence of a persons character (Pfuhl 50). Rather than concern with behavior from certain people, sociologists view deviance as a behavior engaged in a person by having a common socioculture or the same experiences within a culture. Edwin H. Sutherland explains that deviant and non-deviant behavior are learned in the same ways through his Differential Association Theory. Sutherland demonstrates that criminal behavior is learned from intimate groups by the means of communication. When they learn how to act deviantly they then know what is involved in what drives a person to commit a crime.
This does vary in people who have different characteristics in concerns of how much a person will learn if they learn anything at all. This is the most popular among sociological theories because it has not yet been disproved. This is due to the enormity and difficulty measuring differential associations in one with criminal or non-criminal patterns. Whatever the cause is for deviant behavior is, it is still a problem in society. Although, behavior that was once thought of as deviant is no longer thought of in that way anymore. More people are starting to accept differences in people such as gays, tattoos, and piercings.
It is even being taught to children that it is okay if they want to be different, or feel that they are because everyone is unique and should not be ashamed of that. The harsher acts of deviance are still looked extremely upon as horrid, and will hopefully never change. What causes a person to act a certain way is, the least to say a controversial topic. It may be from inherited traits, learned from society and family, or even a combination of both. In this case, an exact answer will probably never be known.
REFERNCE PAGE 1. Becker, Howard S. Overview of Labeling Theories. http://home.ici.net/~ ddemelo/crime/labeling.html. 2. Berg, Irwin A. and Bass, Bernard M. (1961). Conformity and Deviation.
New York: Harper and Brothers. 3. Deviance: Behavior that Violates Norms. Http://www.elco.pa.us./ Academics/Social Studies/Care/ITTP 2/Chap.8.html. 4.
Four Categories of Family Functions that Seem to Promote Delinquent Behavior. http://www.mpcc.cc.ne.us/aseffles/delcrslides/ch.0 9/tsld012. Htm. 5. Lemert, Edwin M. (1972).
Human Deviance, Social Problems, and Social Control. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 6. Pfuhl, Erdwin H. Jr. (1980).
The Deviance Process. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company.
Research paper topics, free term papers, essays, sample research papers on Deviant Behavior