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How Might Labelling Acivities 'deviant' Serve As A Form Of Scoial Control?

1459 words - 6 pages

Deviancy is considered any behaviour to violate cultural norms and it is essentially split between two formations; formal deviancy (crime) and informal deviancy (social). Social control is a product of social learning via labeling strategies, it is composed of both informal and formal mechanisms and maintains that the exploitation of socialization and social learning contributes to the individual building of self-control, and in the reduction divergent behaviour. Both controls enforce labeling as a sanction to shame the supposedly deviant character; it infers that the individual has earned disapproval from ...view middle of the document...

Mills (2010) recognises that the moral theory of utilitarianism acts to endorse maximum happiness in which individual interests must be sacrificed had they be labelled deviant within the community. By imposing sanctions to control behaviour, social and political groups are effectively labelling deviancy and creating outsiders and the effect of othering (Meier & Johnson, 1977). Unfortunately within a statistical definition of deviance, the largest numbers of conformists to a specific behaviour have the dominant norm within society and thus groups outside of this are considered deviant (Pritchard& Hughes, 1997). With consideration to criminality and criminal behaviour social control theory intends that the development of self-control through socialization supposedly reduces the urge to indulge in antisocial and deviant acts. Where deviance is a violation of social norms, crime is a violation of one specific norm called the law, henceforth it would be correct to assume that society deems all violations of the law deviant but in some cases this is not true. This illustrates how the law as a formal mechanism of control can be in disagreement with its practices and society’s values, consequently social control is not effectively enforced (Clinard & Meier, 2015). Ultimately social control is often prominent despite the dominant group’s interpretation of right and wrong where in certain instances criminal activity such as illegal downloads is not labelled “deviant” by wider society.
Functionally, Durkheim argued that deviance is used to define the limits of proper behaviour where sanctions are used to delineate acceptable behaviour within culture to form social constancy. Deviance fundamentally contributes to the learning of approved conduct and is functional for three reasons. Wickman (1991) states that deviancy elucidates behaviour expectancy and, morals and norms by outlining acceptable behaviour as a guide to avoiding deviancy. It provides unity within group members in the uprising of social stability and collective consciousness, and finally in rare occasions becomes new acceptable behaviour by promoting social change as deviance is relative to time and culture. In the separation of sub-groups within society, deviant acts for some are the not same for others and so the reaffirmation of beliefs in social unity ignite the problem of ‘othering’ and dehumanisation (Taylor, Walton, & Young, 2013). The functionalist approach to deviance gives light to why norms and laws are violated despite the pressures from society to conform, however functionalists do not indicate how individuals eventuate to commit deviant acts or why in some cases opportunistic crimes do not occur. Fortuitously the interactionist accounts for the uses of “differential association” to justify how deviant and criminal acts arise from attitude exposure in a social learning perspective. Essentially Durkheim makes notes to how crime is ultimately inevitable as society’s...

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