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Different perspectives on whether deviance is a beneficial part of a healthy society.

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Introduction

A LEVEL SOCIOLOGY Introduction Deviance is any non- conformist behaviour that is disapproved of by society or a social group, whether it is illegal or not. It is norm- breaking behaviour and can range from being eccentric to criminal activity. Deviance maybe positively sanctioned (remedies) or negatively (punished) or simply accepted or tolerated. For example a soldier on a battlefield, who risks his life beyond the call of duty, may be termed deviant, as may a scientist who breaks the rules of the discipline and develops a new theory. Their deviance may be positively sanctioned; the soldier might get a medal; the physicist the Nobel prize. In another sense, neither is deviant, since both conform to the values of their society, the soldier to the value of courage, the scientist to the value of academic progress. However some groups of deviants come from those who depart from the social norm because they don't know they exist or they have forgotten them, for example children or people with learning disabilities. ...read more.

Middle

Humans do not just identify differences they also evaluate them good/bad, normal/abnormal and natural/unnatural. Cohen (1966) argued that Deviance could be seen as a 'safety valve' allowing a relatively harmless expression of discontent. However in this way social order is protected. For example Cohen suggests that prostitution can release the stress and pressure of family life without undermining family stability as most relationships between prostitution and their client avoid emotional attachments. This way prostitution performs a safety valve function. Cohen also suggests that certain deviant acts are a useful warning device to alert that an aspect of society is malfunctioning. Durkheim suggested that society itself generates deviance for its own well-being. Cohen added that certain forms of deviance are a natural and normal response to particular crime. Durkheim believed there are four functions of crime. The law makes the extremities of acceptable behaviour to set and make it clear to the rest of the public what is acceptable behaviour. ...read more.

Conclusion

Criticisms There are a few problems connected with Durkhiems view. The first is that he did not offer any real explanation as to why certain people are more likely to commit deviant acts than others. Marxist perspectives argue that another problem lies in Durkhiems stress of the harmony of society and the belief that law reflects the interests and views of the majority of the population. He ignores the concept of power. Marxist believes that it is the ruling class who have greater ability than the bulk of the population to influence the law making process. Conclusion In conclusion there are many aspects as to why deviance is a beneficial part of all healthy societies. I believe that if a society had people who are all good then when a person does an act, which violates and goes against a social norm, then this will be seen as a crime. Therefore deviance to some extent is a good aspect for every society. ...read more.

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