Major Theories Of Deviance Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Crime, Social Issues, Behavior, Society, Theory, Deviance, Goals, People

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/02

Chapter 4

Considering human actions as such which are included in the social system and numerous relationships (for example family, school and team work) being completely regulated by the legislature, there appears such a question whether there exist certain cases when the situation is thought to be abnormal and distinguishes from the rules which are set. The answer is undoubtedly clear and these so called deviations and the human deviant behavior tends to disturb the stability of social interactions thus standing out from the standards. On this basis there have been created a number of theories, the most significant ones which contributed a lot to the development of the sociological theory are the following.
The first one is the theory of anomie created by Emil Durkheim who was the first to explain the roots of the deviance as according to his works, the presence of a large number of conflicting rules in the daily practice can lead to a complex phenomenon called as anomie meaning not only lack of state standards but a certain fracture which distinguishes the gap between the generally accepted norms and the real behavior which is inherent to people. According to this certain theory “deviant behavior” is thought to be destructive to the society as a result of which the values and set norms gradually lose their influence and turn into such that disorganize society in general.
Another theory which is the most disputable comparing to others is the further development of the theory of anomie created by Robert Merton. The main reason for the deviation was thought to be the gap itself between cultural goals of the society and the socially approved means of achieving them. The contradiction of the goal and the means of reaching it was the basis for the Merton’s typology of deviant behavior.
The first type is named as conformity that takes the conformal behavior to consider socially accepted goals and means as such which contribute to their implementation. Secondly, innovation according to which the person shares socially approved goals of society, but still chooses disapproved means of how to achieve them. Moreover, the means themselves are not always criminal but just unusual at this time for the certain society. The third type called ritualism implies the negations of the goals which are truly established by the company, with a conditional agreement with the means to achieve them are approved. Unlike ritualism, retreatism is a little bit another type which rejects social acceptance of goals and means as an instrument to "escape from reality" and can be considered as a kind of social nihilism. The last type called rebellion is the most contradictive as it is the denial of the old socially accepted goals and means with simultaneous replacement with new and this certain type is thought to be the most revolutionary.
These theories are thought to be the most important ones which allow continue further researches which connect to the deviant behavior.

Chapter 6

On the basis of the theories of the deviant behavior, the idea of how people represent themselves in the crimes and the reasons why people commit either violent or nonviolent crimes has been described in the chapter called “Nonviolent crime”.
First of all, the diversity of crimes is conditioned by the heterogeneity of the modern society and the differences between the life values and norms which are thought to be among the priorities for each person. Accepting the diversity of the society, the author distinguishes various types of crimes which today can take place in society. The first group of people who tend to commit crime is the occasional offenders. Nevertheless, such people who tend to commit such crimes do not position themselves as those who broke the rules or behaved in a abnormal way. Such crimes in most cases measure with shoplifting, auto theft or even employee theft are thought to be relatively less harmless that murder, for example. Nevertheless, such crimes do not usually face a great reaction within the society until they gain large scales.
The second type is conventional type and it is totally fit the human widely known stereotypes about what crime itself means. Among such crimes, there should be distinguished murder, burglary and robbery. The level of the seriousness of this or that crime is measured according to the level of violence and the amount of the losses. In fact, the theoretical basis concerning the deviant behavior allows us to justify why this action is thought to be according the norms and socially accepted rules, and that is thought to be an abnormal phenomenon which should be researched and substantiated.


Clinard, M., B., Meier, R., F. (2011). Sociology of Deviant Behavior. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 74-79, 147-171.

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