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Some People are just Born Deviant. Discuss.

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Some People are just Born Deviant. Discuss. When a new life is brought into the world, does the infant have to go through a deviant aptitude test to ascertain whether the child is going to act outside of the accepted social norms of that society? Genetics are still some way from being able to allude to this, but perhaps one could envisage a future where this is realised, and becomes the accepted norm. However do we really know whether a person is born with deviant aspects within them or is if a learnt behaviour? Cesare Lombroso (1876) whom was influenced by Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution popularised the theory of a born criminal through biological determinism, believing that an individual has physiognomic attributes or deformities which equate that person to having criminal behaviour in them. By using a method called positivist science, he hoped to find out whether criminality was inherited, then the born criminal could be distinguished by physical atavistic stigmata, such as, large jaw; low sloping forehead; high cheekbones; hawk-like nose; fleshy lips and insensitive to pain. This was Lombroso's attempted to introduce a scientific methodology, so a person can predict whether that individual is going to have criminal behaviour, and if so isolate that individual. ...read more.


Hence the revolutionary theory of delinquent subculture, the working class collectively coming together due to the problems of the lower working classes achievements. "The delinquent subculture not only rejects the mainstream culture, it also reverses it" according to Haralambos (2008, p325) Cohen's words echo this, "the delinquent subcultures takes its norms from the larger culture but turn them upside down" (ibid). Walter Miller (1958) agreed with Cohen that there was a delinquency subculture, but his argument sided with the theory that it was down to the lower classes way of life. Several other theorists studied gang culture, but in regards of environmental and economic class. Fredric M. Thrasher (1927) studied gangs in a methodical way. Along with functionalists such as Durkheim and Merton, he summarized that delinquent behaviour was due to environmental conditions, and more importantly the adolescence years of mischief the individual interacts with. Finally to summaries subcultural theories, Stanley Cohen (1972) conducted a study in East London, during the early 1970s. He examined two subcultural youth movements that reacted to the evolving community of the era. Suggesting two things, the MOD culture appeared to be a reaction which was due to the new ideological influences within our lives, they wanted to be able to show they had money, and wasn't afraid to spend it, whereas the skinheads culture was a throwback to a more traditional working class community. ...read more.


Finally one of the most prominent individuals in regards to deviance is Robert K. Merton, a functionalist who introduced the "Modes of Adaptation". This included conformity which he recognised as the most common type of the five. During this mode, people strive to obtain success. Innovation is the substantial change in the perspective of the people whose mode is still in conformity and that of whom has shifted to innovation. Next rebellion completely rejects the story that everybody in society can achieve success and have embraced a rebellious state. Retreatism is identified by Merton as the escapist response, this occurs when people become practical dropouts of society. Finally ritualism, the individual realises that they have no real value or chance to advance in society and they concentrate on retaining what little they have. Hence perhaps those individuals of society decide to become deviant, whether through looming criminality. Perhaps this could be observed as embellishing subculural differences in society. Are people just born deviant? This theory is still to be proved from a plausible scientific understanding, which can be readily understood by society. Until that time, we are still in the dominion of the guessing game over an individual's destiny, perhaps that Irish playwright and poet Samuel Beckett knew something we didn't when he said "What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes" (1974, p60). ...read more.

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