Causes of deviant behaviour and development in society
The paper discusses causes of deviant behavior and significance of development of society. It’s divided into three parts, the first part focuses on the causes of deviant in a society in relation to sociological consideration in which it has been said that: Much of our approach to what is considered deviant behavior is determined by whether we see it as a matter of moral choice and free will, or as having biological cause and effect. The sociology of deviance involves a number of theorems that seek to accurately describe trends and patterns that lie within social deviance, to help better understand societal behavior. In this paper three broad sociological classes have been used in describing deviant behavior: structural functionalism; symbolic interactionism; and conflict theory. Part two, discusses development and significance to society, conclusion regarding the subject matter has been given due consideration and cited literature have been attached as reference in part three.
DEVIANCE AND ITS CAUSES
Sociologists and other scientists do not agree among themselves on the definition of the social problem and on what type of phenomenon should be included in the definition. Social problems are societally induced conditions that violate the norm and values found in the society. In understanding deviance, it should be traced that, social reactions to particular acts, attributes or beliefs can be positive or negative shows that is inherently deviant. What is deviant depends not on the act, or beliefs itself, but on how others react to itself. There are two general approaches to explaining deviance, one approach focuses on deviance themselves; it assumes that most people comply with the norms most of the time, so those who deviate must themselves be different from the rest of others. Second approach focuses not only on rule breakers, but on the rules more specifically on the process by which someone comes to be defined as deviant.
Social integration is the attachment to groups and institutions, while social regulation is the adherence to the norms and values of the society. Those who are very integrated fall under the category of “altruism” and those who are very unintegrated fall under “egoism.” Similarly, those who are very regulated fall under “fatalism” and those who are very unregulated fall under “anomie”. Durkheim’s strain theory attributes social deviance to extremes of the dimensions of the social bond. Altruistic suicide (death for the good of the group), egoistic suicide (death for the removal of the self due to or justified by the lack of ties to others), and anomic suicide (death due to the confounding of self-interest and societal norms) are the three forms of suicide that can happen due to extremes. Likewise, individuals may commit crimes for the good of an individual’s group, for the self due to or justified by lack of ties, or because the societal norms that place the individual in check no longer have power due to society’s corruption (Douglas jack: 1998)
In view of the above, deviance may be defined as non conformity to a given set of norms that are accepted by a significant number of the society. Raab etal (2003:89) defined deviance as, “any act, attribute, that violates a cultural norm and elicits from others a negative or positive reaction”
In understanding the causes of deviance behavour, Frank Tannenbaum and Howard S. Becker created and developed labelling theory. Tannenbaum’s “dramatization of evil.” Becker said that “social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance.” Labelling theory suggests that deviance is caused by the deviant person being negatively labelled, internalizing the label, and acting according to the label. As time goes on, the “deviant” takes on traits that define what a real deviant is supposed to do and takes on the role of such a label by committing deviations that conform to the label. Individual and societal preoccupation with the deviant label leads the deviant individual to follow a self-fulfilling prophecy of conformity to the ascribed label (Bottomore 2008)
This theory, while very much a symbolic-interactionist theory, also has elements of conflict theory as the dominant group has the power to decide what is deviant and acceptable, and enjoys the power behind the labeling process. An example of this theory is a prison system that labels people convicted of theft, and because of this they start to view themselves as thieves.
Robert K. Merton discussed deviance in terms of goals and means as part of his strain/anomie theory. Where Durkheim states that anomie is the confounding of social norms, Merton goes further and states that anomie is the state in which social goals and the legitimate means to achieve them do not correspond. He postulated that an individual’s response to societal expectations and the means by which the individual pursued those goals were useful in understanding deviance. Specifically, he viewed collective action as motivated by strain, stress, or frustration in a body of individuals that arises from a disconnection between the society’s goals and the popularly used means to achieve those goals. Often, non-routine collective behavior (rioting, rebellion, etc.) is said to map onto economic explanations and causes by way of strain. These two dimensions determine the adaptation to society according to the cultural goals, which are the society’s perceptions about the ideal life, and to the institutionalized means, which are the legitimate means through which an individual may aspire to the cultural goals.
Merton expanded on the idea that anomie is the alienation of the self from society due to conflicting norms and interests by describing 5 different types of actions that occur when personal goals and legitimate means come into conflict with each other.
1. When an individual accepts the goals and means together, he is working under conformity. (Example: White collar employee who holds a job to support a family.)
2. When an individual accepts the goals but uses illegitimate means in order to achieve them, he commits crimes in order to emulate the values of those who conform; in other words, they must use innovation in order to achieve cultural goals. (Example: Drug dealer who sells drugs to support a family.)
3. An individual may lose faith in cultural goals but still feel obligated to work under the routines of legitimate daily life. This person is practicing ritualism. (Example: A white collar employee who holds a job, but has become completely discontent with the American Dream.)
A young waif steals a pair of boots.
4. Individuals may also reject both goals and means and fall under retreatism, when they ignore the goals and the means of the society. (Example: Drug addicts who have stopped caring about the social goals and use drugs as a way to escape reality.)
5. Finally, there is a fifth type of adaptation which is that of rebellion, where the individual rejects the cultural goals and the institutionalized means, but seeks to redefine new values for society. (Example: Radicals who want to repair or even destroy the capitalist system in order to build a new social structure.)
Deviance comes from the individual, who learns deviant behavior. The deviant may grow up alongside other deviants or may learn to give excuses for deviance. The focus is upon the consciousness and the mind of the individual as opposed to the institutions from where the norms come from.
In his differential association theory, Edwin Sutherland posited that criminals learn criminal and deviant behaviors and that deviance is not inherently a part of a particular individual’s nature. Also, he argues that criminal behavior is learned in the same way that all other behaviors are learned, meaning that the acquisition of criminal knowledge is not unique compared to the learning of other behaviors (Melton Robert K, 2007)
Sutherland outlined some very basic points in his theory, such as the idea that the learning comes from the interactions between individuals and groups, using communication of symbols and ideas. When the symbols and ideas about deviation are much more favorable than unfavorable, the individual tends to take a favorable view upon deviance and will resort to more of these behaviors.
Criminal behavior (motivations and technical knowledge), as with any other sort of behavior, is learned. Some basic assumptions include:
* Learning in interaction using communication within intimate personal groups.
* Techniques, motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes are all learned.
* Excess of definitions favorable to deviation.
* Legitimate and illegitimate behavior both expresses the same general needs and values.
Gresham Sykes and David Matza’s neutralization theory explains how deviants justified their deviant behaviors by adjusting the definitions of their actions and by explaining to themselves and others the lack of guilt of their actions in particular situations. There are five different types of rationalizations, which are the denial of responsibility, the denial of injury, the denial of the victim, the condemnation of the condemners, and the appeal to higher loyalties.
The denial of responsibility is the argument that the deviant was helplessly propelled into the deviance, and that under the same circumstances, any other person would resort to similar actions. The denial of injury is the argument that the deviant did not hurt anyone, and thus the deviance is not morally wrong, due to the fundamental belief that the action caused no harm to other individuals or to the society. The denial of the victim is the argument that possible individuals on the receiving end of the deviance were not injured, but rather experiences righteous force, due to the victim’s lack of virtue or morals. The condemnation of the condemners is the act by which the deviant accuses authority figures or victims for having the tendency to be equally deviant, and as a result, hypocrites. Finally, the appeal to higher loyalties is the belief that there are loyalties and values that go beyond the confines of the law; friendships and traditions are more important to the deviant than legal boundaries.
In another line of thought, Conflict theorists generally see deviance as a result of conflict between individuals and groups. The theoretical orientation contributes to labeling theory in that it explains that those with power create norms and label deviants. Deviant behavior is actions that do not go along with the socially institutions as what cause deviance. The institution’s ability to change norms, wealth or status comes into conflict with the individual. Since it explains deviance as a reaction due to conflict between groups and individuals due to scarce resources, it addresses the job of explaining deviance by poor citizens. However, it explains white-collar crime less well (Anderson: 1993)
This theory also states that the powerful define crime. This raises the question: for whom is this theory functional? In this theory, laws are instruments of oppression: tough on the powerless and less tough on the powerful.
DEVELOPMENT AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO THE SOCIETY
Development in the broadest sense, development aims at building or improving the quality of life. This involves progress in the economic spheres/fields such as individual freedom and culture. To develop a country must grow at sustainable level. Structural rigidities development entails a lot of structural changes. This is a movement say, from mono economy to a more diversified economy. Structural rigidities should be removed to allow for more flexibility in order to adapt to quickly changing circumstances.
According to Ndangwa Noyoo ( 2000:77) defined development as a “ movement from an agrarian society to a more urbanized society, This entails institutional changes and all the changes that will move the society from the traditional set up to a more modernized set up.” In view of the above development may mean a change in other qualitative variables like decreasing mortality rates, increasing life expectancy, increasing per capital consumption, reducing the level of illiteracy and other areas of life.
Development must be process that cognizance of wider implications, especially its impact on the environment. The concept of social development is pivotal to development discourse. Since the Brutland Commission’s was made public in 1987, the international debate on development has been characterized more and more, by considerations about the impact of growth, social and economic change upon the explanation of the cause and effect relationship in this area. At the same time, new environment related definitions of development has emerged, most often referred to as sustainable development. A widely approved notion defines development as a “process that fulfills present human needs without endangering the opportunities of future generation to fulfill their needs.” (Murtinassen, 1997:4). Sustainable development denotes the utilization of resources and the enhancement of institutional capacities for societies in ways which will guarantee that the activity can be maintained over time.
Therefore, social development will encapsulate sustainable development as it looks at the remedial, preventive, supportive, and development services for with the view of improving the quality of life. This means in effect that social development citizenry way