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Deviance each works. They have different political,

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Deviance

                          

I
was asked to interview two people on the topic of deviance. I chose to
interview my co-workers Timothy and Melissa at Oceans Behavior Hospital that is
in Texas and which both works opposite shifts than I do, so we don’t know much about
each other, other than our job titles and the shifts each works. They have
different political, educational, and cultural backgrounds; however, both are
from the state of Texas. Timothy is a 35-year-old husband and father of 4 boys.
He grew up with financial security, received a Bachelors in Chemistry, has had
one actual job that lasted for 3 months and has a more liberal affiliation. Melissa,
is a 34-year-old single mother of 3 girls, no further education after high
school with 2 full-time positions, who is considered conservative. Both gave
very intriguing answers to my questions that show their very different
beliefs.  According to John Macionis,
“deviance is the recognized violation of cultural norms” (Macionis, 2013).
There are many reasons why someone would commit a deviant act just as there are
many reasons why others would define the act as deviant. For me to analyze the
views people have of deviance, the two interviewees were asked three main
questions about the causes and remedies of deviant actions.

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I
invited Melissa to have a coffee outing with me while she shared her thoughts
on the main causes of deviance. She suggested that the lack of resources,
competition for those resources available and lack of outlets for frustration
are causes for deviant behaviors. I then asked what could cause or even
encourage deviant behavior today. She answers were simply, social media (all
media), and lack of resources. She believes that a combination of these could
cause a normal person to become deviant to try and achieve things like approval
from others or the ability to fit in somewhere. When asked about her thoughts
for preventing people from breaking society’s rules, she answered, “presence
and an increase in access to resources such as money, education, and food.” I
instantly thought of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1943), Melissa’s explanation
for this, is to reduce the need for acting out to survive. She says that
sometimes people steal so they can have food or provide for a family and not all
deviance has bad intentions, but it is sometimes necessary for someone to
survive. Her ideas reflect the strain theory of deviance, which states, “the
extent and type of deviance people engage in depend on whether a society
provides the means (such as schooling and job opportunities) to achieve
cultural goals (such as financial success)” (Macionis, 2013). Melissa believes
that a person’s actions depend on whether they have the necessary resources to
survive comfortably without being forced to be deviant.

I
asked Timothy and his family over for dinner and asked the same three questions.
His response to what he thought is the main causes of deviance are, one’s
belief and money. He describes money as the “root of all evil” and states that
people will commit deviant acts to gain money whether it is stealing, lying,
cheating, gambling, or whatever other deviant act. He also lists beliefs such
as religion and politics as a main cause of deviance. When asked what he
thought caused deviant behavior in today society, he answered pleasure and
gratification. People seek a high and sometimes it’s with deviant behavior,
some people do what make them happy even if it is wrong or not socially
accepted. Timothy believes that some people find pleasure in doing things that
are deviant and continue to do those activities to keep the feeling of
happiness. When I asked what he thinks are some effective ways to prevent
people from breaking society’s rules, he replied, laws and punishment for breaking
the law as well as having better role models in place.

Timothy’s
answers can be described as both labeling theory and differential association
theory. The labeling theory states “the idea that deviance and conformity
result not so much from what people do as from how others respond to those
actions. (Macionis, 2013). From Timothy’s point of view, people commit deviant
acts for money and pleasure. A man who lies, cheats, steals, and gambles are
doing what he sees as viable ways of obtaining money without getting caught,
but others who might observe his actions would think of him as deviant. Also,
the differential association theory states “a person’s tendency toward
conformity or deviance depends on the amount of contact with others who
encourage or reject conventional behavior” (Macionis, 2013). In the end, Timothy
believes that being in contact with deviant people sets a foundation for one to
also be deviant simply by interaction.

Melissa’s
answers are more subjective. Coming from a more moderate upbringing, Melissa
has viewed life’s challenges in a very different way than Timothy. Melissa’s
perception of what is classified as deviant differs because of this point of
view. He suggests that if a person is in “NEED”, then the actions taken to
sustains one’s life should not be classified as deviant. Merton’s strain theory
argued that “society can be
set up in a way that encourages too much deviance” and “the type of deviance
people engage in depend on whether a society provides the means” (Macionis,
2013). If basic needs are met, then the deviance in this case would not take
place.

After
conducting my interviews with both Timothy and Melissa, people have different
ideas of what deviance is and what causes it, as well as how to prevent it.
Knowing the backgrounds of both my co-workers gave me an understanding to what
people may say about deviance from varying perspectives. It is interesting to
see the different beliefs that others may have Also, have it been reflected in
more than just politics. It is the way we view others and the relationship we
have with them that gives us the ideals about what the solutions are to the
world’s problems. I must say that I agree with both co-worker’s perspectives. It
should be obvious that better access to resources could prevent deviance just
as well as punishment, not just with government but from other institutions.

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