The Role Of Deviance In Sociology

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Deviance is a big concept in Sociology and understanding deviance, why it occurs and why we react the way we do to it is an essential part in understanding the norms of a society. Deviance is defined as, the violation of norms (rules or experiences) placed on us by society. In one of our articles The Outsiders (1963) author Howard S. Becker states that all social groups make rules and attempt to enforce them. He continues by saying that social rules define situations and the kind of behavior deemed appropriate. It is important to recognize that different social groups have different definitions of deviance. Where one group may find deviance in things like smoking cigarettes or having facial piercings, another may see these acts as ‘normal’.…show more content…
I think another sociological theory that come into play in this situation was control theory. It was clear that the woman’s inner ideals or controls didn’t line up with the outer controls of the society/ group around her. Where she probably thought nothing of lighting up in the bar area, it was clearly something that was unacceptable for the bartender and the other people in the restaurant. Differential Association Theory also comes to mind for me when thinking about this scenario. It was obvious that the man with her didn’t view her act as being deviant and where we might have thought it ridiculous that she lit the cigarette in the first place, he found the harsh reactions of the people around them to be ridiculous. I thought it was really interesting that he mentioned anarchy in his rantings as a joke. Though the act may not have been anti-government or anti-conformity, it was clearly an act that went against the ‘norm’. In his mind they were only having a good time. Which I think really helped me in my understanding of different definitions of deviance and how different groups view deviance. I think the idea of social order and the preference for predictability is very apparent in this situation. We were so surprised by what the woman was doing that it took everyone a good minute to really register and react to what was going on. After the yelling the the trips back and forth to the bar and the frustrated tension around us we really weren't sure what they were going to do
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