Describe the sociological concept of deviance. Briefly explain each of the approaches to explaining deviance (functionalist perspective, interactionist perspective, conflict perspective), telling which is most convincing to you and why. Provide examples from your own experience as appropriate.
Part B. Analyzing your own life; discuss your status in terms of ascribed status, achieved status, and master status. For each of these statuses, discuss the roles that you play. Give one example of role strain and role conflict from your own experience. Thinking about the future, which role do you think will cause you the most difficulty in terms of role exit? Why?
The Sociological concept of “deviance” is any behavior that disobeys the usual conduct or expectations of a group within a society. A deviance act can be one that is punishable by law or it can be one that is not a criminal behavior. Individuals turn out to be deviance when their actions disagree with the set of rules imposed by the society. For instance, from my culture piercing or body tattoos could be labeled as a deviance behavior because body tattoos are associated with criminals or gangs members.
There are three approaches to explaining deviance Functionalists Perspective, Interactionist Perspective, and finally Conflict Theory. The functionalist theorists define deviance as normal and can have both positive and negative consequences. The Conflict Theory points out that people with power protect their own interests and define deviance to suit their own needs (Schaefer, 2010, p173). Lastly, the Interactionist Perspective explains deviance in two ways, the cultural transmission and routine activity theories.
According to Functionalists, deviance is a common part of a human existence, with positive as well as negative consequences that follows for social stability. Deviance helps define the limits of proper behavior. For example an employee that calls out every week or get late to work every day will lose his job as a consequence of his irresponsibility. The functionalists approach explains or support the idea that each part is important for the progress and function of the society as a whole.
The Interactionist Perspective mainly focuses in the individual actions with each other in a daily basis and what their actions means. The emphasis on everyday behavior is the focus on Interactionist perspective which offers two explanations of crime; Cultural Transmission and Routine Activities Theory. (Schaefer, 2010, p175) Cultural Transmission could be interpreted as the way that humans passes their culture and set of values from one generation to next one within a society, since the culture is something that is learn through the interaction of individuals in social situations.
Cultural transmission does not have anything to do with genetics instead it is the way in which people interact with others. The term Differential Association was used by Edwin Sutherland to describe the process through which exposure to attitude leads to the violations of rules Research also adds to non-criminal deviant acts such as smoking, truancy and early sexual behavior (Schaefer, 2010, p175). For instance, if a girl meets with other girls that demonstrate bad habits like go to malls and robber in the stores things like earrings, small accessories sooner or later she will commit the same actions.
Lastly, Conflict Theory supports the idea that it is necessary inequality among groups (powerful economic class and lower class) in the society. Conflict Theory helps explain why our society has laws against gambling, drug use, and prostitution. According to Conflict theorists, criminal law does not represent a consistent application of societal value, but instead it reflects competing values and interests. Conflict theorists also contend that the whole criminal justice system in the U. S treats suspects differently based on their racial, ethnic, or social class background (Schaefer, 2010, p178).
All those characteristics created advantages to the powerful or dominant groups and disadvantages to the minorities I can mention the case of the ex president Bill Clinton who lies to the nation denying his adultery and at the end nothing happens or some business people that commit fraud in big corporations and receive minimum sentences because they have the money to pay good lawyers that use many excuses to minimize the offender responsibility. Differential justice is not limited to the U. S.
Such dramatic difference in social treatment may lead to violent acts and crime in people who see themselves as victims and they may strike out towards fellow victims. The perspective advance in conflict and labeling theorists form varies of contrasts to the functionalists approach to deviance. Functionalists see standards of deviance behavior merely reflecting cultural norms, as to conflict and labeling theorists point out the most powerful groups in a society can shape laws and standards to then determine who is or isn’t persecuted as a criminal (Schaefer, 2010, p178).
Differential justice then explains that powerful criminals could modify the punishment to their deviance acts with money. Ascribed status is a social position assigned to a person bye society without regard for the person’s unique talents or characteristics. In a social system that is beyond an individual’s control (Schaefer, 2010, p193). It is not earned, but rather something people are either born with or had no control over.
Base on that definition I could be tag as ascribed status for my ethnicity and gender. The achieved status describes the achievements of an individual in the personal or professional level. I think that I have reached the achieved status in both levels. For instance, in the personal level I pass through a divorce experience that put me into a extreme situation of necessity and desperation since I did not have any relatives in the country or any idea how or where to start with lack of skills and language.
But I get the determination to learn the language as well to look for a job, support myself, and continue my life. That was six years ago since then I attended to school at first just to learn English but when I finished the ESL program I decided that it was time for me to think about a career and I did I obtain an Associate Degree in Accounting and now I start my new challenge that is to obtain my bachelors degree. Few years after my divorce I got married again, got financially and emotionally stable.
An example of role conflict in my life occurred during my divorce process and decision to go back to school I have some inconveniences at home since I had to attend to class for many hours and did not have enough time for my kids and manage the different schedules and activities. A personal example of role strain should be that in order to gain experience in my field I dedicated many hours to volunteer jobs that many times I cannot finish my school obligations.
As for my future I think that my ascribe status definitely will play an important role in terms of the positions I can hold in a corporate office. I’m sure that being a woman and being Hipic will compromise the decision making of any manager that would consider me for a higher position. Thinking ahead I will double my efforts to be proficient and gain new skills to minimize the influence of my ascribe status in my professional future.
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