The Conditions Under Deviant Behavior Problems Criminology Essay

The conditions under which deviant habit exists have shown an long lasting question for analysts. Within the literature the majority of definitions of deviance show one commonality: that interpersonal norms and worth subjectively label behaviours as deviant. Similar to the number of theories of deviance there exist lots of motivations why individuals choose to activate in deviant action. Existing theories-general strain, anomie, labeling, control, and learning-examine these factors and try to clarify the hows and whys of deviant tendencies. The most frequent factors which accomplish specific deviance include personal tension, social disorganization, too little self-control, and the understanding that the huge benefits for engaging in deviance outweighing the costs. Due to these variations there is currently no universally-accepted theory of deviance.


An immediate question in modern-day communal sciences is "how and just why certain behaviors, characteristics, or classes of people become thought as deviant. " Since communal groups make the rules, deviant patterns results from individuals who fail to abide by said guidelines. When conducts are defined as deviant the assumption is that they will either promote or inhibit specific motivation to engage in such serves and can evoke certain social responses which serve to influence succeeding action by those within said population. Several theorists try to identify a commonality to the various types of deviant behavior. The underlying theme is that type of behavior offends society's normative order and deviance becomes a theoretical build of this consensus. There exist a number of theories which seek to define how individuals and their tendencies are identified as deviant.

Definitions of and Motivations for Deviant Behavior

Despite a multitude of definitions of deviance there is consensus that deviance refers to "behaviors or traits manifested by specified kinds of individuals in particular circumstances that are judged to violate the normative targets of a particular group. " This consensus point of view serves to promote collective agreement as to what core values, norms, and goals should be. Behavior that falls beyond the specified variables are deemed deviant. The amount of deviance is immediately correlated to the identified serious of the punitive response it elicits.

Many questions abound as to individual motivations to activate in deviant patterns. Fundamentally, if one anticipates that satisfaction will ensue from participating in the behavior then he'll achieve this task. Hirschi (1969) asserts that the inspiration for deviance is definitely present which research should examine the circumstances which enable individuals to do something on these motivations. In another view, Merton (1938) argues that societal strain increases determination for deviance to be able to achieve certain unattainable culturally-sanctioned goals. Where in fact the most individuals will embrace conformity as a response to stress others vacation resort to deviance. Similarly, Tittle's (1995) control balance theory assumes that folks have a strong need to exercise control over themselves and to avoid having control exerted over them by others while Katz (1988) argues that the drive to deviance occurs to "protect one's self esteem, encourage a desired reputation, establish autonomy, [or] demonstrate competence", for example.

These theories all share the presumption that deviance is encouraged by the need to adapt to psychological problems which results from the inability to achieve desired goals through conventional means. Accordingly, when "pushes", or mental impulses which compel a person to engage in deviant tendencies, and "pulls", or the "attraction of deviant opportunities", have interaction then determination for deviance raises. Deviance results from individuals' motive to activate in deviant action being better than the motive not to amidst the lifestyle of the chance to accomplish that.

Theoretical Foundations

There are two main types of ideas to make clear deviance: structural and processual. Structural ideas are tagged sociological ideas while processual ones are termed cultural psychological theories due to the dissimilarities in goals and range. Structural theories focus on the partnership of deviant patterns to particular structural conditions within society and attempt to clarify why deviance is higher in certain areas, such as people that have lower socioeconomic status. On the other hand, processual ideas seek to spell it out the processes by which people engage in deviant action by wanting to clarify the conditions which lead to the percentage of deviant acts. Regarding scope, structural theories dwelling address the epidemiology, or "distribution with time and space" of deviance and processual theories focus after the etiology, or specific causes, of deviance.

Specific Theories of Deviance

General Stress Theory (GST)

GST addresses the interrelatedness of pressure and its emotional response, individual coping mechanisms, and deviance. To be a theory it focuses not upon tension itself but upon individual responses to pressure and seeks to identify those characteristics which enable non-deviant responses amid strain. Clear, Brewster & Love (2005) dispute that certain types of strain create certain actions which impact delinquent conducts. Anger, for example can be an emotional response which has a high probability of encouraging deviant behavior. Therefore, where there's a strain-particularly one perceived as unfair-low communal control creates pressure which, in turn, causes deviant habit. Research indicates that gender is a solid predictor of strain-induced deviance with men more overt in their responses than females who tend to internalize pressure.

GST has been used considerably in the analysis of juvenile deviance. Repeated contact with stressful life encounters has been found to both escalate and speed up juvenile delinquency and depending upon when during one's life-course trajectory any risk of strain occurs different implications ensue. The literature suggests that engagement in delinquency commences to increase during early adolescence, peaking around age group 16 and 17, and followed by a drop in such habit. Agnew (1997, 2006) claims that life-course trajectory features that adolescence is a period of high transitions, that children perceive their environment as negative more so than adults, and that there is an increased propensity for juveniles to react to adversity through deviant habit. Having less useful coping mechanisms in juveniles helps it be difficult to react to strain more effectively.

Anomie Theory

According to anomie theory-much like GST-deviance results from sociable disorganization in that elements in modern culture promote deviant habit by making such behavior a possible adjustment to world. Where the first form of this theory hypothesized that anomie results from a failure to attain positively-valued goals Agnew (2001) widened after this theory by including that anomie can also direct result when positive stimuli are removed and when negative stimuli are applied. One criticism of anomie theory is that it assumes universality in what should be defined as deviant and exactly how most individuals should react; however, the truth is, deviance is a relative concept which means this universality is erroneous.

Labeling Theory

Labeling theory reveals an interactionist perspective to the study of deviant patterns by stressing the value of the techniques through which culture labels a particular act as deviant and the subsequent negative public sanctions which affect the individual to engage in further deviance. Becker (1973) promises that deviance is "a rsulting consequence the application form by others of guidelines and sanctions to a offender. " Therefore, as the act or the individual might not be inherently deviant, existing cultural control buttons create deviance by defining acts that the majority is convinced to be so and, therefore, labeling people who engage in such functions as deviant. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy by "amplifying the phenomenon that it's intended to curb. " Of principal importance is the fact that subsequent events provide to reinforce the deviance because an individual internalizes the label attached to him by society's stigmatizing and creates supplementary, or tertiary, deviance. The labeling itself acts to ensure that each society has a share of deviants which is crucial to maintain almost all consensus.

Control Theory

Control theory is comparable to anomie and communal disorganization ideas to the degree that deviance results from the lack of social handles on individual restraint to activate in deviant habit. Durkheim (1933) asked why people conform to social norms rather than why they engage in deviant patterns. Under this theory the assumption is that everyone would take part in deviant action if given the chance, that a small amount of sociable controls will increase deviance, which there exists a central value system which identifies deviance in population. There are four components of an individual's societal connection which serve to prevent deviance: connection to specific categories through affection, value, and socialization; dedication to accepting conforming habit; participation in non-delinquent habit; and a opinion in the dominating value system of any particular group. When social bonds are reestablished or strengthened then your deviant patterns ceases.

Accordingly, people who engage in deviant behavior accomplish that scheduled to low self-control. Under this theory low self-control is made up of six personality attributes: "anger, impulsivity, desire for simple tasks, risk-seeking, being more physical than mental, and being self-centered. " Gottfredson & Hirschi's (1990) self-control theory asserts that insufficient child-rearing results decreased self-control which helps a predisposition to activate in deviant behavior. They also claim that individuals who engage in one type of deviant act will commit other deviant serves.

Learning or Socialization Theory

These theories claim that deviance is a discovered behavior just like how non-deviant individuals learn conforming behavior. By wanting to distinguish modifications in conducts theorists expect that variations in rates of deviance among various groups can be established. Probably one of the most widely-cited learning theories is Sutherland's (1947) differential connection theory which postulates that deviant patterns results from "normative conflicts" in area constructions, peer group relationships, and the organization of family in world. The essential tenets of Sutherland's theory are that unlawful behavior is learned, that learning is because personal connections, that most important learning occurs in intimate group settings, that people learn that socially-normative behaviour are either beneficial or not, that deviant habit results when conditions beneficial to deviance exceed those unfavorable to violating regulations, and that deviant behavior can't be explained by general needs and values. Accordingly, an individual learns various motives that happen to be favorable to participating in deviant conducts as well as rationalizations and techniques for achieving them. As the habit may be thought as deviant to the others of population, within a specific individual's in-group the behavior may abide by the group's norms. Akers (1985, 1989) broadened upon Sutherland's work with the addition of that deviance results "whenever a person learns explanations that portray some do as a desirable, even though deviant, action. " If a person is rewarded for a deviant action by his in-group then he becomes socialized to keep the tendencies under the expectation of similar positive experience for subsequent works.

Other Theories

Deterrence theory asks if the "expectation of certain, severe, and swift punishment" for participating in deviant behavior would deter such behavior. Rational choice theory addresses a person's anticipated cost-benefit ratio of acting on deviant impulses. A larger expected or perceived benefit escalates the likelihood that the individual will commit the take action. Finally, turmoil theory asserts that the development of formal social control buttons and laws are legitimized by the better societal communities.


The wide variant of social mental theories of deviant action looks for to answer why individuals become determined to activate in deviant tendencies, how behaviours and behaviour are defined as deviant, what factors aid deviant habit, why some deviant patterns is escalated, and what consequences exist. Regardless of the amount and variety of theories of deviance the commonality is that principle is a socially-defined build useful to maintain a society's normative prices. The disparities in meanings of deviance among societies make it difficult to establish an all-encompassing theory to clarify the existence of deviant patterns in contemporary population.

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