Deviance

Deviance to sociologist is known as violations of norms. Where we most commonly think of deviance may be in teenagers, but really deviance can be found more often then you think. For instance deviance also changes as the times and society changes so what was once seen as deviant may not be anymore and vise versa. For instance what was once deviant for women was to show your ankles but this is no longer the case. 

Deviance although seen as a bad thing has certain roles and importance to it. For instance, without deviance how would we know what the norms are and what is and is not okay. Also deviance strengthens cultural norms and values, clarifies moral boundaries, promotes social unity, and encourages social change. There are also different kinds of deviance, one that many may not see as deviant but is, is innovation. Innovation is a type of deviance because they accept cultural goals but reject cultural means (or the hard working way of reaching those goals). Think of someone like Steve Jobs, he’s an innovator right? Well he’s also deviant in the eyes of structural functionists because he accepted cultural goals but rejected the cultural means of getting it. 

Deviance also comes with labels, if you are seen as deviant you are usually given a label. Before like I mentioned Steve Jobs is a deviant but he’s labled an innovator, but some deviants have different labels. Many labels include but are not limited to “goth, slut, weird, …etc.,” and these are things that strengthen the idea that we need people who are “not normal” so we know what is “normal.” 

Lastly, deviance breaks the norms, and the norms that are broken reflect the interests of the elite. Not only do they reflect the interests of the elite but they can also resist deviant labels. Say for instance that someone sleeps around a lot, more then likely they’d be labled deviant as a slot but if someone of the elite did so they would not be seen as deviant or receive the label of slut. Many follow the belief that “if the elite do it, it must be ‘cool’ or okay.” Because the elite in a way control the norms, capitalism also has a hand to play in deviance. If someone challenges the capitalist system they are seen as deviant. This is basically what happens in peaceful protests of the capitalist system, everyone not involved or supporting the protesters sees them as deviants. They instantly take on the label of deviants because they are going against the capitalist system and the norms. 

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