Deviance and social control.

Essay by naughtbaseballHigh School, 11th grade November 2002

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Deviance is the violation of a social norm. It is impossible to define it exactly because not everyone agrees on what should be considered deviant behavior. According to functionalists, deviance is both negative and positive for a society. Functionalism sets the basis for 2 very important theories of deviance: strain theory and control theory.

The strain theory states that deviance is more likely to occur when a gap exists between cultural goals and the ability to achieve these goals by legitimate means. There are four responses to the strain theory: 1) Innovation - the individual accepts the goals of success but uses illegal means to achieve it. People in this response will probably use drugs or robbery to become successful. Innovation is the most common for of response. 2) Ritualism - the individual rejects the goal but continues to use legitimate means to achieve it. An example of this is a teacher who goes through daily routines without concern for students and their learning.

3) Retreatism - both the legitimate means and the approved goals are rejected. Drug addicts are examples of retreatists. They are not successful by legitimate or illegitimate means and do not seek to be successful. 4) Rebellion - people reject both success and the approved way to achieve it. Meanwhile, the substitute a new set of goals for the approved ones. Militia groups are examples of these types of people. The pursue a goal of changing society through deviant means.

The control theory states that compliance with social norms requires strong bonds between individuals and society. In this theory, social bonds control the behavior of these people. People conform so they aren't made an outcast to family, friends, and classmates. There are also four basic components to social bonds: 1) Attachment - the more attached...