As you have learned from the Week 4 learning resources (UMGC, n.d.), deviant behaviors are violations of social norms, and what is “deviant” is defined variously across time and place. Our resources for this week offer a variety of sociological theories for why deviance occurs in society. Your main post for this discussion should have two parts:
Part 1. Identify something that people do that would be considered a violation of social norms. Briefly discuss this action. Who regards this action as deviant and why?
Part 2. Explain why this type of deviance occurs and/or how society responds to this form of deviance, according to one of the theories in the chapter. As part of your explanation, make sure to also briefly explain the theory.
Responses to Classmates: When responding to classmates, try to examine the form of deviance that they have identified by analyzing it from a different theoretical perspective than they did.
References and Citations
Here is the reference you should cite in your main post:
University of Maryland Global Campus. (n.d.). Week 4. Socialization, Social groups, and deviance. Document posted in UMGC SOCY 100 online classroom, archived at https://learn.umgc.edu
Make sure to include the complete reference information at the end of your post. If you refer to any additional sources, please be sure to include them in your reference list as well.
When referring to the different topics of the material in the learning resources within your posts, use the following citation format: (UMGC, n.d., name of topic).
For example: (UMGC, n.d., Socialization) or (UMGC, n.d., Deviance and Social Control).
If you use any additional sources in your posts, be sure to cite them in the post and include the full reference information at the end of the post. To learn more about how to cite in APA style, visit the UMGC Library at https://libguides.umgc.edu/c.php?g=1003870.
Provide your initial post by 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 6. Your initial post should be at least 200 words, excluding the discussion prompt and the references. Please use in-text APA citations within your post as well as full APA references at the end of your post.
Requirements: In Depth
Section Summary and Key Terms
The Sociological Self
Charles Cooley and George Mead both contributed significantly to the sociological
understanding of the development of self. Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan
developed their ideas further and researched how our sense of morality develops.
Gilligan added the dimension of gender differences to Kohlberg’s theory.
Socialization is important because it helps uphold societies and cultures; it is also a
key part of individual development. Research demonstrates that who we are is
affected by both nature (our genetic and hormonal makeup) and nurture (the social
environment in which we are raised). Sociology is most concerned with the way that
society’s influence affects our behavior patterns, such as in the way behavior varies
across class and gender. Resocialization is a process that removes the socialization
we have developed over time and replaces it with newly learned rules and roles.
Groups largely define how we think of ourselves. There are two main types of
groups: primary and secondary. Primary groups are long-term and complex. People
use groups as standards of comparison to define themselves—both who they are and
who they are not. The size and dynamic of a group greatly affects how members act.
Primary groups rarely have formal leaders, although there can be informal
Large organizations fall into three main categories: normative (or voluntary),
coercive, and utilitarian. Bureaucracies are a common form of formal organization.
They are often meritocracies, meaning that hiring and promotion is based on proven
and documented skills, rather than on nepotism or random choice.
Deviance and Social Control
Deviance is a violation of norms. Whether or not something is deviant depends on
contextual definitions, the situation, and people’s response to the behavior. The use
of sanctions contributes to a system of social control. Deviance is often relative, and
perceptions of it can change quickly and unexpectedly.
The three major sociological paradigms offer different explanations for the causes of
deviance and crime. Functionalists point out that deviance is a social necessity
because it reinforces norms by reminding people of the consequences of violating
them. Violating norms can also open society’s eyes to injustice in the system.
Conflict theorists argue that crime stems from a system of inequality that keeps
those with power at the top and those without power at the bottom. Symbolic
interactionists focus attention on the socially constructed nature of the labels
related to deviance. Crime and deviance are learned from the environment and
enforced or discouraged by those around us.
aggregate—a collection of people who exist in the same place at the same time, but
who don’t interact or share a sense of identity
anticipatory socialization—the way we prepare for future life roles
authoritarian leader—a leader who issues orders and assigns tasks
bureaucracies—formal organizations characterized by a hierarchy of authority, a
clear division of labor, explicit rules, and impersonality
category—people who share similar characteristics but who are not connected in
clear division of labor—the fact that each individual in a bureaucracy has a
specialized task to perform
coercive organizations—organizations that people do not voluntarily join, such as
prison or a mental hospital
conflict theory—a theory that examines social and economic factors as the causes
of criminal deviance
conformity—the extent to which an individual complies with group or societal norms
control theory—a theory that states social control is directly affected by the
strength of social bonds and that deviance results from a feeling of disconnection
degradation ceremony—the process by which new members of a total institution
lose aspects of their old identities and are given new ones
democratic leader—a leader who encourages group participation and consensus-
building before moving into action
deviance—a violation of contextual, cultural, or social norms
differential association theory—a theory that states individuals learn deviant
behavior from those close to them who provide models of and opportunities for
explicit rules—the types of rules in a bureaucracy; rules that are outlined, recorded,
expressive function—a group function that serves an emotional need
expressive—a leader who is concerned with process and with ensuring everyone’s
formal organizations—large, impersonal organizations
formal sanctions—sanctions that are officially recognized and enforced
generalized other—the common behavioral expectations of general society
group—any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and
share some sense of aligned identity
hidden curriculum—the informal teaching done in schools that socializes children to
hierarchy of authority—a clear chain of command found in a bureaucracy
impersonality—the removal of personal feelings from a professional situation
informal sanctions—sanctions that occur in face-to-face interactions
in-group—a group a person belongs to and feels is an integral part of his identity
instrumental function—being oriented toward a task or goal
instrumental leader—a leader who is goal oriented with a primary focus on
iron rule of oligarchy—the theory that an organization is ruled by a few elites rather
than through collaboration
labeling theory—sociological perspective on the ascribing of a deviant behavior to
another person by members of society
laissez-faire leader—a hands-off leader who allows members of the group to make
their own decisions
leadership function—the main focus or goal of a leader
leadership style—the approach a leader uses to achieve goals or elicit action from
meritocracy—a bureaucracy where membership and advancement are based on
merit—proven and documented skills
moral development—the way people learn what is considered good and bad in
nature—the influence of our genetic makeup on self-development
negative sanctions—punishments for violating norms
normative (or voluntary) organizations—organizations that people join to pursue
shared interests or because they provide some intangible rewards
nurture—the role that our social environment plays in self-development
out-group—a group that an individual is not a member of, and may even compete
peer group—a group made up of people who are similar in age and social status and
who share interests
positive sanctions—rewards given for conforming to norms
power elite—a small group of wealthy and influential people at the top of society
who hold the power and resources
primary deviance—a violation of norms that does not result in any long-term effects
on the individual’s self- image or interactions with others
primary groups—small, informal groups of people who are closest to us
reference groups—groups to which individuals compare themselves
resocialization—the process by which old behaviors are removed and new behaviors
are learned in their place
sanctions—means of enforcing rules
secondary deviance—deviance that occurs when a person’s self-concept and
behavior begin to change after actions are labeled as deviant by members of society
secondary groups—larger and more impersonal groups that are task-focused and
self—a person’s distinct sense of identity as developed through social interaction
social control—the regulation and enforcement of norms
social disorganization theory—a theory that asserts crime occurs in communities
with weak social ties and the absence of social control
social order—an arrangement of practices and behaviors on which society’s
members base their daily lives
socialization—the process through which people come to understand societal norms
and expectations, to accept society’s beliefs, and to be aware of societal values
strain theory—a theory that addresses the relationship between having socially
acceptable goals and having socially acceptable means to reach those goals
total institution—an organization in which participants live a controlled lifestyle and
in which total resocialization occurs
utilitarian organizations—organizations that people join to fill a specific material
Licenses and Attributions
Introduction to Sociology 3e (https://openstax.org/details/books/introduction-sociology-
3e) by Tonja R. Conerly, Kathleen Holmes, and Asha Lal Tamang from OpenStax is
available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) license. © June 3, 2021,
OpenStax. UMGC has modified this work and it is available under the original
license. Download for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-
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