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Power and Social Class to Exiting the Deviant Career
This refers to one engaging in behaviors that goes against the general social norms or the acceptable behavior in society.Theories have it that social stratification and political power within a society has a big impact on deviant workers. This is because the dominant social classes, who represent the social norms of the society, often devise ways of regulating those individuals who threaten the political-economic and political stability of the society (Chambliss and Mankoff 1976). These ways may be both institutional or policy-based. Such individuals include the unemployed, ethnically minorities, and the paupers in the society who are considered a burden.
Institutions such as mental health, prisons, and welfare systems are used to control and manage such members of society. These institutions, in turn, label such individuals as deviant for effective management and control. The political structure, on the other hand, will use formal social controls so as to ensure the maintenance of the political and social order. These institutions are normally not intended to reform the victim per se, but only to protect the interests of the powerful and mighty (Rafter, 1985). Thus, it is hard for the victims to exit from this behavior since, according to everyone else, such a person will always remain a deviant.
Effects of the labeling process
Theories hold that deviant behavior is determined through the process by which people and institutions label others as deviant from their behavior, which they have been observing. These make the individuals in question exhibit even more of those behaviors and generally get rooted in their deviance. But this labeling may have diverse effects for various people. For example, being labeled as a deviant for a member of a youth gang may come as an honor where the youth commands the respect of other gang members.
Effects of Social and legal factors
Research has shown that the court official’s opinions or how they perceive offenders have a way of influencing the punishments meted out to them (Bridges & Steen, 1998). For example, a police officer’s perception of black youth as diverse from his perception of white youth will see the two being sentenced differently. Also, this is evident for racial and ethnic disparities where the black and minority are viewed as a threat to the social order of the whites, thus labeled deviants. This, therefore, affects the individual members of the minority group, making them accept their rank in society as deviants and therefore making it hard for them to separate from such behaviors.
Role of Society in Exiting Deviant Career
To help victims of deviant behaviors exit from their current situations, several things need to be done. For example, since deviance behavior results when the dominant group in the society imposes their judgments and conclusions on the minority group, then inequality in power should, as much as possible, be minimized so as to reduce the number of deviants and the inequality in sanctions of deviance. Government agencies and legal policies involved with control of deviant behavior should be well monitored so as to minimize the unequal processing of the less fortunate groups. Governments should have policies of nonintervention, and the formal sanctions should only be reserved for the most serious of crimes or behaviors. Also, parents and teachers should help the youth from associating with deviant peers who may negatively influence them. A parent should create stronger bonds with their children and help them develop an interest in other constructive activities other than joining deviant groups.
Bridges, G. S. and Steen, S. (1998). Racial Disparities in Official Assessments of Juvenile Offenders: Attributional Stereotypes as Mediating Mechanisms, American Sociological Review 63:554–570.
Chambliss, W and Mankoff, M. (1976). Whose Law, What Order? New York, Wiley Rafter, N. H. (1985). Partial Justice: Women in State Prisons, 1800–1935. Boston: Northeastern University Press.