Deviance is understood by many as breaching socially accepted norms either due to rebellion or several factors which have attracted attention from scholars from fields as diverse as sociology, philosophy and psychology. Deviance differs from one culture to another and what is accepted as deviant here might be widely accepted in another society. Sanctioning deviance is necessary in order to define what acceptable behavior is and ensure members of that particular society follow those acceptable norms. Stigma is one of the sanctions employed by society to deal with deviant individuals. This involves disqualifying individuals who exhibit prolonged deviant behavior from full acceptance by members of society and are shunned by those close to them. This reputation might also extend to the immediate work environment making it difficult to get a decent job or even get passed for promotion. This is because most leadership positions require interacting with people and a member who has no full acceptance in social members can’t be expected to lead the same members who disapprove of his conduct.
What gives society the right to define each item as deviant and impose negative sanctions on violators? Classifying deviant behavior is one way of ensuring unity in our society even though it must be done at the expense of the deviant individual. Rebellion of accepted norms results in a societal backlash as society attempts to ensure harmony through conformity.
Some common deviant behaviors within our society include:
- Lack of hygiene
The issue of homosexuality has divided people along certain moral lines and has created a controversy which is not likely to end soon. Most have claimed that nature intended for sexual and romantic relationships to be for people of different sexes. Most religious books outlaw the practice of homosexuality by terming it as immoral and sinful and against God’s laws. This means that most religious people and the followers of various denominations perceive homosexuals as people going against both nature and God. Most States here and other countries haven’t legalized gay marriages but there are usually no laws against homosexual relationships. There have been places of work or recreation where homosexuals are not welcome which previously included the military under the don’t ask don’t tell policy. Why these individuals choose to go against what was culturally acceptable is a question which has attracted attention from scholars all over the world.
Promiscuity involves having sexual relations with several partners at regular intervals without any regard to the consequences. Society expects individuals to conduct themselves in a manner which is moral and which shows respect for themselves, their families and friends. Society usually labels people who sleep around as either being loose or sluts. Women have it worse than men since the reputation of promiscuity leads to one being shunned by members of her society.
Racism involves some people from other races believing they are superior than other races and acting in a manner likely to embarrass to discriminate upon those targeted races. Racism is morally wrong since religion and the natural law affirms the equality of all men. People who express racist views are likely to be labeled as deviant since our society and many others embrace equality and have put racial issues behind them. Leaders who have been shown to hold racial bias are likely to be ignored by the electorate.
Life is full of many hurdles which we must overcome in order to achieve success in life. Lazy people rarely succeed in anything and are also likely to experience other problems like obesity and poverty. Such kinds of people who are well known as being lazy are likely to be shunned by employers, friends and even relatives.
Cleanliness is only second to Godliness and the best way to become a social deviant is to be unclean. Most places be they homes, work places, schools and recreational centers expect their members to be clean. People who don’t take regular showers or launder their clothes will be shunned by workmates, school mates and even friend since no one wants to be associated with such people. They become an embarrassment to themselves and those close to them.
There are some cultures which find some if not all of the above items to be normal and socially acceptable. However, most societies will agree that the above list does constitute of items which are a show of deviance to the established norms despite which society one resides. Take homosexuality for instance. Some States in America have gone as far as legalizing gay marriages as a sign that those particular societies tolerate that practice and view it as normal. Recent progress in the US army to withdraw the don’t ask don’t tell policy shows that homosexuality is getting widespread acceptance in our society. Other societies which seem to accept homosexuality include the UK and South Africa which have also legalized civil marriages. On the issue of racism, some countries seem have a higher tolerance to racism if certain racist actions by the Spanish fans in club football matches are anything to go by.