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Deviance and Conformity in Modern Society Essay

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Updated: Jan 9th, 2022

Introduction

People are social animals and usually like to be associated with a group. All societies in time develop some accepted behaviours, norms that they use to determine those or the expected behaviours, while deviance means to abide by the expected behaviours in the society. Neither conformity nor deviance is regarded, as good or bad it only depends on the best thing is to distinguish behavior from the reason. This is because those behaviors society beliefs are the expected of any of its member changes to be the ones that that are supposed to be abided by and means of evaluation.

Conformity

The main drive for people to conform is the desire to be a desirable person in the society, group pressure whereby the society puts pressure on its members to conform and abide by the accepted societal behaviors. In addition, people conform to be pragmatic for motivational reasons like enjoyment and personal goals. Conformity may be bad in the sense that an individual conforms only in terms of behavior but fails to conform internally in terms of his beliefs. A good type of conformity is one that an individual incorporates both beliefs and behaviors.

There are three perspectives that have been used to explain deviance which try to explain conformity among which are social comparison theory, cognitive Dissonance theory and reactance theory. Social comparison theory states that people usually compare themselves in terms of their beliefs and values with the expected in the society, opinions and images e.g. behaviors portrayed by others, a good example is with the youths who compare themselves mostly with. Cognitive dissonance theory indicates that people usually have a liking to reduce feeling dissonance which by is brought about by failing to abide by social norms and thus result to conforming. Finally, the reactance theory implies that when an individual is not willing o face the consequences of deviating from the societal norms will result in conformity.

Deviance

It is sometimes argued that at times people usually deviate from the accepted norms to induce the group to make better decisions. Thus, deviance usually results to conflicts in a given group, which can either be constructive if it leads to better changes in the group and has the best interest of the group at heart. Moreover, deviance may bring about destructive conflict when the members of the group have selfish motives as power struggles and opt to be deviant to bring about disharmony in the group or society.

The functional perspective as applied to explain that deviance as earlier stated is both good and bad and always to maintain a system of order in the society. The functionalist states that deviance results in more cohesion in society. This is especially when deviant behaviors are publicly reported it results in more conformity among the people as they are reminded about the social norms and accepted behaviors. Strain theory views that deviance results when there exists a gap between the societal objectives and means to achieve them.

Deviance according to strain theory can be classified into ritualism, retreatism, rebellion, innovation. Ritualism is the state whereby does not accept the society’s objective but agrees with means of achieving the objective or the rituals involved in the process. Innovation refers to the scenario where an individual is in agreement with the society’s goal but devises means to achieve it. Retreatism is the case where a member of a group disagrees with both the objectives and ways of achieving them but does not substitute them like the case of rebellion. The conflict theory says that deviance results from social inequality and power. Thus people due to the inequality in the society from deviance they feel they have no equal right like any other member and have to do whatever they can to attain their personal goals without considering their behaviors in conformity with the society-accepted norms.

Labeling theory states that society has created deviance through its act of terming specific groups of people, as being deviant, this act enables one to understand how deviance is relative. There, are also other theories that try to explain about deviance. Control theories provide that people become deviant since they have not developed strong ties with other members of the society in terms of attachment , commitment and involvement. It says that when these social bonds become weak they result to deviance or crimes. On the other hand learning theories have it that an individual learns behaviors from his allies, hence if one is a friend of deviants he tends to be a deviant.

Conclusion

It is important to note that the static view of deviance and conformity is wrong. Secondly, since the majority of people are usually those who are deviant it is important if the society is to continue in its quest to grow and develop, it will have to integrate their views. Society should not rule out the views of the minority since they are the type of innovative deviance new modes to attain societal goals may be known and applied.

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