The Role of Deviance in the Modern Society - Sociology Essay Sample

2021-07-19 11:04:11
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Boston College
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The rules and expectations which guides members of the society conventionally are known as norms. When behaviour and actions violate these social standards, they are described as deviance in sociology. The sociologist has a duty of studying the creation of these norms, their changes over time and ways of enforcing them.

Deviance can be defined as an absence of the conformity to these standards which differs from culture to culture. Sociologist says that any feeling, action or thought violating values should be characterized while viewing deviance. It is relative to time and place as what is thought as deviant at one place might be non-deviant in a different place.

According to the Durkheimian model of social solidarity, deviance is said to be no longer useful in the modern society. But I disagree with this statement since many people have been struggling over the years with what is seen as the fundamental paradox. The evidence can be seen everywhere showing the significance of the deviance concept for everything seems to be deviance (Burrell, et al. 2017).

Despite deviance appearing anywhere, the legality of the perception has shared many critics. For the last decade, sociology deviance has been claimed to be dead by sociologist pundits as if it is possible for such a thing. Articles have been written explaining how impossible it is for this development to pass, but the critics never listened instead they continue issuing proclamations.

Most of the countries worldwide are dealing with politics of deviance, trying to establish and maintain fight as well. There is also a struggle over notions of what to be accepted, respected and the people to be ignored, condoned and tolerated. Deviance is a battle story used to control peoples thinking, behaviour and feelings, with losers and winners of the strategies. The winners are crowned while the losers are regarded as living outside the jurisdictions of social life, which ought to be outside the society itself. The definitions of wrong and right are produced by the human being as an outcome of their interests, culture, the clashes of ideologies and behaviours characterized as the social unit.

When comparisons are made between some decades back, and today, one will realize many departments are offering courses in deviance at a large number, and many scholars prefer these courses. It shows that the field is still needed by the society. Sociologist knew that some behaviours are harmful and should be condemned and thus, they used the firm moral compass to guide them, until the 1960s when an argument arose and broke this traditional idea. The practitioners of the sociology argued saying moral relativism that does not recognize evil deeds can only be competing for claims at a marketplace, and deviants should be stigmatized. It does not matter whether the deviant is abusing the substance to eliminate the stigma which could be caused by mental illness, flamboyant or militant gays.

Criminology has taken root in both Asia and South America, forcing countries such as Australia to adapt metropolitan assumptions which are followed by general social sciences. The Asian societies are becoming more westernized by embracing materialism, giving them metropolitan thinking (Day, et al. 2014). The norms are now rooted in confusion because of the thought criminologies are having. However, the problem has been realized currently, and the subordinate role acknowledged.

The criminology is supposed to fill such voids and change the criminological plans by making them more benefiting. This is another reason to why deviance is still relevant to our modern societies. For we still need criminology, which will redeem our political projects and create intercultural epistemologies.

Emile Durkheim who is referred to as the father of sociology said that society draws lines of what to be accepted and to which extent. So he believed no society could exist lacking deviance. He went further explaining that deviance such as crime is essential in all social life for it bound with fundamental conditions which are the typical evolution of law and morality.

Society plays a significant role in how it defines deviance, as by doing this it creates norms that give information about the behaviours accepted and those not accepted (Durkheim, 2014). People fall on one side of the line at different times whereby majority walk on the side of the line of deviance. This is not a bad thing, simply because its primary role is to give the understanding of interruption of the social norms at times. Sometimes things that are stigmatized by the society may become acceptable socially.

Behavior gains momentum that persists over time once deviance is experienced and when this desire increases, it should be released allowing ordinary people to live their lives at the time. For instance, fans of soccer are seen everywhere in tattoos and piercing something believed to be necessary for maintaining stability in our society.

There were times when Roman Catholic countries used to hold festivals of societal relationships which took place for days. These kinds of events remain standing strong to the purging deviant desire. People need places where they can run to without worrying to be judged because they will be understood instead. Norms are not firm codes; they are decisions made by the community to influence behaviour.

A long time ago, criminals were paraded on public places as the way of correction; the case is different now due to the advancements in technology. Therefore, mass media is now used as a parade forum, providing main sources of information which satisfy our psychological obstinacies.

So that we can reduce serious deviance and crimes, first we must understand why they occur. Many sociological approaches explain the importance of deviance and how to reduce these behaviours (Franzese, 2015). For instance, social ecology approach has explained why urban neighbourhood contributes to crime at higher rates.

On the other hand, according to strain theory, deviance among the poor people is an outcome of the gap between the cultural prominence on the accomplishment of economy and incapability to achieve such success in legal ways. These explanations show the importance of every aspect of society social needs and stability.

The functionalist theory of sociology states that any notion in the society makes it function properly and everything serving as functional for the society exist continually. The reasons behind deviance existence today is because it serves as a functional. It reminds the community what is right or wrong as every deviant act has a punishment.

When a person is punished due to these activities, the values or norms of the society are asserted out of fear of retribution (Rock, 2014). It also helps to bring about revolution since it is a relative concept, a behaviour that was once considered deviance become a norm. For example, there were time women could not participate in public but now they can because it is widely accepted.

Deviance is useful to the society because it helps to clarify norms by unifying groups, diffusing tension and promoting social change. The actions of different individuals in the society unify the rest who are not making them react against that behaviour, which reinforces the connections of good people in the community. Children are a good example of how tension is diffused. Most of the times they are not happy with the rules given by their parents and ends up acting in deviant ways. They are vital for they reduce their anger preventing them from breaking main norms of the society or family. People who have taken courses in deviance or power tend to notice deviant behaviour even from afar, after realizing areas with problems they work towards correcting the behaviour, hence, promoting social change.

The members of the modern society respond differently to cultural goals. From the research done by Merton, it revealed that people adapt their goals responding to the means provided by the society. The different types of reactions identified disclose that most of the people are conformists, meaning they accept goals sets by the society and the means of achieving them since they want the good life.

The other group accepts the goals but differ when it comes to the ways of achieving them. In most cases, they use deviant means, and they are known as innovators. There is also another group known as ritualists, these kinds of people reject cultural goals but accepts the means. They are used to a daily routine and do not want to try something new for they lost hope that efforts will yields.

Another group of people in the community rejects set goals and the means of achieving them because they lack interest of making money or advancing their careers (Scull, 2014). And lastly, comes a group that rejects these goals and replace them with their own. All these kinds of people exist in the modern society, and by one means or the other, they violate the norms. Therefore, deviance of sociology is still relevant in the society because it is the only way people will understand why they differ and without judging one another change will automatically happen.


In conclusion, it is true that any feeling, action or thought violating the norms is deviant, but deviance is still useful to our modern society. It is evident that most of the countries internationally are dealing politics deviance. But the comparison between some years back and today discloses many institutions are offering deviance courses recently and students are enrolling in these courses in large numbers. It has been due to criminology which has rooted both in Asian and North American countries such as Australia forcing them to adopt the metropolitan assumptions.

The father of sociology also believed that no society could exist without deviance. Besides, behaviour gains momentum that persists time once deviance is experienced. Therefore, to reduce, serious crimes, first people should understand why they occur. The functionalist theory of sociology explains how notion makes the society function better because deviance helps clarify norms diffusing tension while promoting change. Thus, the community should know that deviance still plays a significant role in the modern society and should stop being referred as dead.


Burrell, G., & Morgan, G. (2017). Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis: Elements of the sociology of corporate life. Routledge.

Day, S., & Kotarba, J. A. (2014). The Didactic Relevance of the Death of Deviance Debate. In The Death and Resurrection of Deviance (pp. 255-276). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Durkheim, E. (2014). The divsion of labour in society. Simon and Schuster.

Franzese, R. J. (2015). The Sociology of Deviance. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Rock, P. (2014). Deviant Behaviour (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.

Scull, A. T. (2014). Decarceration: Community treatment and the deviant-a radical view. John Wiley & Sons.

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