SWK103- Social Work And Deviant Behavior Lesson 15 Discussion.
Name the two theories you have chosen for your final work (no minimum length, simply write the two theories you chose). You are not required to complete any responses to this post. (200 words)
Conclusion of the textbook
Lesson 16 Assignment
· Choose two major theories of deviance. They can be theories we covered within this course, or you may choose a theory that was not presented (there are many).
· Complete this writing covering both theories – present the histories, main ideas, examples of how they explain deviant behaviors, etc.
· Compare and contrast the two theories.
· Create your own example of deviance and apply both theories to your example.
· Using your example, identify which social work interventions you could use to help the person in need.
The Length of expectation is 6 pages excluding cover page, abstract and reference page(if you are covering all topics in the directions, you should have no issues meeting this minimum requirement). APA format is required. Please use headings through out your work so that each required section is easily identified. Social Work and Deviant Behavior
Chapter 1: What is Deviant Behavior?
Chapter 2: Theories of Deviant Behavior: Social Strain Theory
Chapter 3: Differential Association Theory
Chapter 4: Labeling Theory
Chapter 5: Social Control Theory
Chapter 6: Feminist Perspective
Chapter 7: Crime
Chapter 8: Causes of Deviance
Chapter 9: Social Work Interventions
Summary and Conclusion
Cassella, K. (2020). Social Work and Deviant Behavior. Eastern Gateway Community College.
Hello everyone and welcome to Social Work and Deviant Behavior. I wanted to provide a brief introduction to this course and information on this textbook. After completing this course, you will have a better understanding of what deviant behavior is, the various (major) theories of deviant behavior and a broad understanding of social work generalist practice skills to utilize when working with victims of deviant acts. This textbook has been provided to you to aide your learning. It contains information retrieved from various creditable resources.
What is Deviant Behavior?
University of Hawaii at Manoa. [Deviance Photograph]. https://www.outreach.hawaii.edu/summer/summer-featured-courses/soc-336-deviant-behavior-and-social-control/
Deviance is defined by behaviors that violate social norms. Deviance is often divided into two types of activities:
1. Crime: the violation of formally enacted laws and is referred to as formal deviance. Some examples include robbery, theft, rape, murder and assault.
2. Violation of social norms: These ‘norms’ have not been codified into law and are referred to as informal deviance. Some examples include belching loudly out loud,
invading someone’s personal space by standing very closely to them or picking your nose.
Deviance can vary dramatically across cultures. Cultural norms are relative, which makes deviant behavior relative as well. For instance, in the United States, Americans do not generally impose time-based restrictions on speech. However, in the Christ Desert Monastery, specific rules govern determine when residents can and cannot speak, and speech is banned between 7:30 pm and 4:00 am. These rules are one example of how norms vary across cultures (Lumen, n.d.).
Moreland, T. [Multi-cultural Photograph]. https://www.hrcsuite.com/multiple-cultures/
Norms and Sanctions
Norms are the social rules that govern behavior in a community. Norms can be explicit (such as laws) or implicit (such as codes of polite behavior). Norms can be difficult to identify because they are so deeply instilled in members of a given society. Norms are learned by growing up in a particular culture and can be difficult to learn if one does not grow up in the same social milieu.
The act of violating a social norm is called deviance. Individuals usually have a much easier time identifying the transgression of norms than the norms themselves. For example, few Americans would think to tell a sociologist that it is a social norm to hold the door open for a fellow pedestrian entering a building if within a particular
distance. However, someone might remark that another person is rude because he or she did not hold the door open. Studying norms and studying deviance are inseparable endeavors.
Like deviance, norms are always culturally contingent. To study norms and deviance, one must contextualize the action, or consider the action in light of all of the circumstances surrounding it. For example, one cannot merely say that showing up nude to a job interview is a violation of social norms. While it is usually socially conventional to show up in some manner of (usually professional) dress to a job interview, this is most likely not the case for someone interviewing to be a nude
model. To understand the norm, one must understand the context.
The violation of social norms, or deviance, results in social sanction. Different degrees of violation result in different degrees of sanction. There are three main forms of social sanction for deviance: 1) legal sanction, 2) stigmatization and 3) preference for one behavior over another. Formal deviance, or the violation of legal codes, results in criminal action initiated by the state. Informal deviance, or violation of unwritten, social rules of behavior, results in social sanction or stigma. Lesser degrees of social violation result in preference rather than stigmatization. While society might deem it preferable to show up to most job interviews wearing a suit rather than casual attire, you will likely not be out of the running for
the job if you are wearing khakis rather than a suit. However, should you show up nude to most interviews, you would likely be stigmatized for your behavior since it would be such a drastic departure from the norm. We say that the norm that governs wearing professional rather than casual attire to a job interview is a folkway because its violation results in lesser degree of social sanction—the development of a preference rather than stigmatization. (Lumen, n.d.).
Theories of Deviant Behavior
Lumen. [Biological, Psychological, Social Photograph]. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-psychology/chapter/outcome-contemporary-fields-in-psychology/
There are many different theories on what causes a person to perform deviant behaviors, including biological explanations, sociological explanations and psychological explanations.
Psychological Theories of Deviance use a deviant’s psychology to explain his or her motivation or compulsion to violate social norms.
Sociological Theories of deviance are those that use social context and social pressures to explain deviance.
Biological Theories of deviance proposes that an individual deviates from social norms largely because of their biological makeup.
The following chapters outlines some of the major theories of deviant behavior.
Social Strain Theory
Semantic Scholar. [R.K. Merton Photograph]. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Sociology-Applied-to-Planning%3A-Robert-K.-Merton-and-Fox/c30d73a54fd5933b7e661713de5825735ebddb8e
Social Strain Theory was developed in 1938 by American Sociologist, Robert K. Merton. This theory states that social structures within society may pressure citizens to commit crimes. “Strain” refers to the discrepancies between culturally defined goals and the institutionalized means available to these goals. Strain can be considered structural, which refers to the processes at the societal
level that filters down and affect how the individual perceives his or her needs; or strain can be individual, which refers to the frictions and pains experienced by an individual as he or she looks for ways to satisfy individual needs. Merton proposed a typology (the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics) of deviance based upon two criteria: 1. A person’s motivations or his adherence to cultural goals; 2. A person’s belief in how to attain his goals. These two types of strain can insinuate social structures within society that then pressure people to become criminals (LibreTexts, 2020).
According to Merton, there are five types of deviance based upon these two criteria: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion:
Conformity involves the acceptance of the cultural goals and means of attaining those goals.
Innovation involves the acceptance of the goals of a culture but the rejection of the traditional and/or legitimate means of attaining those goals.
Ritualism involves the rejection of cultural goals but the routinized acceptance of the means for achieving the goals.
Retreatism involves the rejection of both the cultural goals and the traditional means of achieving those goals.
Rebellion is a special case wherein the individual rejects both the cultural goals and traditional means of achieve them but actively attempts to replace both elements of the society with different goals and means.
Libretexts. [Merton’s typology photograph]. https://socialsci.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Sociology/Introduction_to_Sociology/Book%3A_Sociology_(Boundless)/07%3A_Deviance_Social_Control_and_Crime/7.04%3A_The_Functionalist_Perspective_on_Deviance/7.4B%3A_Strain_Theory-_How_Social_Values_Produce_Deviance
Merton’s Social Strain Theory has received criticism due to the fact that there is ample amount of crime/delinquent behavior that is considered “non-utilitarian, malicious and negativistic”, which highlights that not all crimes are explicable using the Social Strain Theory (LibreTexts, 2020).
Differential Association Theory
Crimes of the Powerful: Theories of White Collared Crime. [Edwin Sutherland Photograph]. https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/38171_11.pdf
Differential Association Theory was created in 1939 by Edwin Sutherland, one of the most influential criminologists of the 20th century. This theory proposes that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques and motives for criminal behavior. Differential association predicts that an
individual will choose the criminal path when the balance of definitions for law-breaking exceeds those for law-abiding. This tendency will be reinforced if social association provides active people in the person’s life. The
earlier in life an individual comes under the influence high status people within a group, the more likely the individual is to follow in their footsteps.
Differential Association Theory can be summarized into nine key points:
1. Criminal behavior is learned.
2. Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication.
3. The principal part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups.
4. When criminal behavior is learned, the learning includes techniques of committing the crime (which are sometimes very complicated, sometimes simple) and the specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes.
5. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favorable or unfavorable.
6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of the law.
7. Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity.
8. The process of learning criminal behavior by association with criminal and anti-criminal patterns involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning.
9. While criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those needs and values, since non-criminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values.
Critics of this theory argue that people can be independent in their thinking and individually motivated. One issue with this theory is that it does not take into
account personality traits that might affect a person’s susceptibility to environmental influences, as this theory focuses on the environment/learned behaviors being the main culprit/motivation to commit a crime (LibreTexts, 2020).
Daily Asian Age. [G.H. Mead Photograph]. https://dailyasianage.com/news/165455/george-h-mead
Labeling Theory was created in the 1960s by George Herbert Mead. Labeling theory is closely related to social-construction and symbolic-interaction analysis. It holds that deviance is not an inherent tendency of an individual, but instead focuses on the tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen as deviant from standard cultural norms. The theory is concerned with how the self-identity and the behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. The theory was
prominent during the 1960s and 1970s, and some modified versions of the theory are still popular today.
Criminal Justice Research. [Labeling Photograph]. http://criminal-justice.iresearchnet.com/criminology/theories/labeling-theory-and-symbolic-interaction-theory/
George Herbert Mead hypothesized that the self is socially constructed and reconstructed through the interactions which each person has with the community.
The labeling theory suggests that people are given labels based on how others view their tendencies or behaviors. Each individual is aware of how they are judged by others
because he or she has adopted many different roles and functions in social interactions and has been able to gauge the reactions of those present.
Labeling theory concerns itself not with the normal roles that define our lives, but with those very special roles that society provides for deviant behavior, called deviant roles, stigmatic roles or social stigma. A social role is a set of expectations we have about a behavior. Social roles are necessary for the organization and functioning of any
society or group. We expect the postman, for example, to adhere to certain fixed rules about how he does his job.
Labeling theory hypothesizes that the labels applied to individuals influence their behavior, particularly that the application of negative or stigmatizing labels
promotes deviant behavior. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy: an individual who is labeled has little choice but to conform to the essential meaning of that judgment. Consequently, labeling theory assumes that it is possible to prevent social deviance via a limited social shaming reaction in “labelers” and replace moral indignation with tolerance.
There are two distinctions in labeling: hard labeling and soft labeling. People who believe in hard labeling
believe that mental illness does not exist. It is merely deviance from the norms of society that people attribute to mental illness. Thus, mental illnesses are socially
constructed illnesses and psychotic disorders do not exist. People who believe in soft labeling believe that mental illnesses do, in fact, exist. Unlike the supporters of hard
labeling, soft labeling supporters believe that mental illnesses are not socially constructed but are objective problems (LibreTexts, 2020).
Social Control Theory
Wikipedia. [Travis Hirschi Photograph]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_Hirschi
In the 1960s, Travis Hirschi argued that human nature is basically selfish and from that, proposes the curiosity as to why people do not commit deviance. His answer, which is now called social control theory (also known as social bonding theory) was that their bonds to conventional social institutions such as the family and the school keep them from violating social norms. This basic
perspective supports the perspective that strong social normal reduce deviance, such as suicide. Hirschi outlined four types of bonds to conventional social institutions:
1. Attachment: this refers to how much we feel loyal to these institutions and care about the opinions of people in them (such as our parents and teachers).
2. Commitment: this refers to how much we value our participation in conventional activities, such as obtaining a good education. The more committed we are to these activities and the more time and energy we have invested into them, the less deviant we will be.
3. Involvement: The amount of time we spend in conventional activities. The more time we spend, the less opportunity we have to be deviant.
4. Belief: Refers to our acceptance of society’s norms. The more we believe in these norms, the less we deviate.
Cyberbullying Research Center. [Social Control Theory Photograph]. https://cyberbullying.org/social-bond-practical-way-schools-reduce-bullying
Social Control Theory is very popular in our modern-day world. Multiple studies have produced results showing youths that have weaker bonds to their parents and schools are more likely to be deviant. However, this theory has also been criticized. One problem that has been
focused on relates to the “chicken and egg” question of casual order. To provide an example, many studies support social control theory by finding that delinquent youths often have poor relationships with their parents compared to nondelinquent youths. But the question is – is this due to the bad relationship prompting the youths to be delinquent (as Hirschi suggests) or is it because the youths’ delinquency worsens their relationship with their parents? (LibreTexts, 2019).
Sociology Club. [Feminist Symbolism Photograph]. https://www.everythingsociology.com/2014/05/feminist-perspective-of-crime-and.html
Feminist perspectives on crime and criminal justice have burgeoned in the last two decades. Much of this work concerns rape and sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and other crimes against women that were largely neglected until feminists began writing about them in the 1970s. Their views have since influenced public and official attitudes about rape and domestic violence, which used to be thought as something that girls and women
brought on themselves. The feminist approach instead places the blame for these crimes squarely on society’s inequality against women and antiquated views about relations between the sexes.
Another focus of feminist work is gender and legal processing. Are women better or worse off than men when it comes to the chance of being arrested and punished? After many studies in the last two decades, the best answer is that ‘we are not sure’. Women are treated a little more harshly than men for minor crimes and a little less harshly for serious crimes, but the gender effect in general is weak.
A third focus concerns the gender difference in serious crime, as women and girls are much less likely than
men and boys to engage in violence and to commit serious property crimes such as burglary and motor vehicle theft. Most sociologists attribute this difference to gender
socialization. Simply put, socialization into the male gender role, or masculinity, leads to values such as
competitiveness and behavioral patterns such as spending more time away from home that all promote deviance. Conversely, despite whatever disadvantages it may have, socialization into the female gender role, or femininity, promotes values such as gentleness and behavior patterns such as spending more time at home that help limit deviance (University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2010).
NY Post. [Crime Scene Photograph]. https://nypost.com/2020/02/03/nyc-has-spike-in-shootings-other-major-crimes-to-start-year/
While deviance is a violation of social norms, it is not always punishable, and it is not necessarily bad. On the other hand, crime is a behavior that violates official law and is punishable through formal sanctions. Not all crimes are given equal weight. Members of a society are conditioned to view certain crimes as more severe to other ones. In modern times in the United States, crimes are classified as one of two types based on their severity:
1. Violent crimes – these are based on the use of force or the threat of force (rape, murder, armed robbery).
2. Nonviolent crimes – the destruction or theft of property, but do not use force or the threat of force (larceny, car theft and vandalism).
Most people often associate crime with “street crimes”, offences committed by ordinary people against other people or organizations, usually in public spaces. An often-overlooked category is “corporate crime”, crime committed by white-collar workers in a business environment. Examples of this include embezzlement and identity theft. An often-debated third type of crime is “victimless crime”. These types of crime received its name because the perpetrator is not explicitly harming another
person. An example of this is underage drinking (Little, 2012).
Type of Crime
The following information was obtained from the article (cited within this text) A Sociological Understanding of Deviance, Social Control and Crime
Offences against the Person
An offense against the person usually refers to a crime which is committed by direct physical harm or force being applied to another person. They are usually analyzed by division into fatal offenses, sexual offenses, or non-fatal non-sexual offenses. Although most sexual offenses will also be offenses against the person, sexual crimes are usually categorized separately. Similarly, although many homicides also involve an offense against the person, they are usually categorized under the more serious category.
A violent crime is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. Violent
crimes include crimes committed with and without weapons. They also include both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end, such as robbery. The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) counts five categories of crime as violent crimes: murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.
Sex crimes are forms of human sexual behavior that are crimes. Someone who commits one is said to be a sex offender. Some sex crimes are crimes of violence that
involve sex. Others are violations of social taboos, such as incest, sodomy, indecent exposure or exhibitionism. There is much variation among cultures as to what is considered a crime or not, and in what ways or to what extent crimes are punished.
Property crime is a category of crime that includes burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. Property crime only involves the taking of money or property and does not involve force or threat of force against a victim. Although robbery involves taking property, it is classified as a violent crime, since force, or threat of force, on an individual is involved, in contrast to burglary which typically takes place in an unoccupied dwelling or other unoccupied building
Hate crimes occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion,
sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, or gender identity.
Virtual crime refers to a virtual criminal act that takes place in a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). The huge time and effort invested into such games can lead online “crime” to spill over into real world crime, and even blur the distinctions between the two.
Organized crime is the transnational, national, or local grouping of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Sometimes criminal organizations force people to do business with them, as when a gang extorts money from shopkeepers for “protection.” An organized gang or criminal set can also be referred to as a mob (Brewminate, 2018).
Are all Acts of Deviance Criminal?
Some acts committed by individuals can be considered deviant but not criminal. Someone may break a social rule, but not a legal rule. Examples of this can include a male wearing a dress to work or talking loudly in a church during a service. Close examination of these instances can show us how delicately balanced our social order world can be. Minor transgressions of behaviors may be acceptable in our own private home but are very different when they are occurring in public.
To review what was discussed in Chapter 1, deviance is separated into two types: Formal deviance (crime) and informal deviance (violation of social norms).
Causes of Deviance
After learning about multiple theories of deviance, the question remains: why do people act on deviance, specifically deviant behaviors that are considered crimes? Why do some people commit crimes no matter what the consequences are, while others never commit these acts?
Criminologists who have studies this subject over the years have stated that reasons for committing a crime include greed, jealousy, revenge or pride. They have also taken into consideration physical abnormities, psychological disorders, social/economic factors, parental relations, income and education.
In the 1980s. the “cycle of violence” was introduced. A ‘cycle of violence’ is where people who grow
up with abuse or antisocial behavior in the home will be much more likely to mistreat their own children, which will cause a pattern in future generations of the family. Children who are neglected or abused are more likely to commit crimes later in life than children who were not subjected to any type of abuse. Similarly, sexual abuse in childhood can often lead to victims becoming sexual predators as adults (Causes of Crime, 2004).
Heredity and Brain Activity
In the 1980s. studies were completed on twins and adopted children to take a closer look at the origins of antisocial personality disorder and their influence over
crime. Identical twins (exact same genetic make-up) were found twice as likely to have similar criminal behaviors than fraternal twins (similar but not identical genes, just
like any two siblings). Research also showed that adopted children had greater similarities of crime rates to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents. This research suggests a genetic basis for some criminal behavior (Causes of Crime, 2004).
Hormones are bodily substances that affect how organs in the body function. Researchers also looked at the relationship between hormones, such as testosterone and cortisol, and criminal behavior. Testosterone is a sex hormone produced by male sexual organs that cause development of masculine body traits. Cortisol is a
hormone produced by adrenal glands located next to the kidneys that effects how quickly food is processed by the digestive system. Higher cortisol levels lead to more
glucose to the brain for greater energy, such as in times of stress or danger. Animal studies showed a strong link between high levels of testosterone and aggressive behavior. Testosterone measurements in prison populations also showed relatively high levels in the inmates as compared to the U.S. adult male population in general (Causes of Crime, 2004).
Conforming to Merton’s earlier sociological theories, a survey of inmates in state prisons in the late 1990s showed very low education levels. Many could not read or write above elementary school levels, if at all. The
most common crimes committed by these inmates were robbery, burglary, automobile theft, drug trafficking, and shoplifting. Because of their poor educational
backgrounds, their employment histories consisted of mostly low wage jobs with frequent periods of unemployment (Causes of Crime, 2004).
A person’s peer group strongly influences a decision to commit crime. For example, young boys and girls who do not fit into expected standards of academic achievement or participate in sports or social programs can sometimes become lost in the competition. Children of families who cannot afford adequate clothing or school supplies can also fall into the same trap. Researchers believe these youth may abandon schoolmates in favor of criminal gangs, since membership in a gang earns respect and status in a different manner. In gangs, antisocial behavior and criminal activity earns respect and street credibility.
Like society in general, criminal gangs are usually focused on material gain. Gangs, however, resort to extortion, fraud and theft as a means of achieving it (Causes of Crime, 2004).
Drugs and Alcohol
Some social factors pose an especially strong influence over a person’s ability to make choices. Drug and alcohol abuse are one such factor. The urge to commit crime to support a drug habit definitely influences the decision process. Both drugs and alcohol impair judgment and reduce inhibitions (socially defined rules of behavior), giving a person greater courage to commit a crime.
Deterrents such as long prison sentences have little meaning when a person is high or drunk.
Substance abuse, commonly involving alcohol, triggers “stranger violence,” a crime in which the victim has no relationship whatsoever with his or her attacker. Such an occurrence could involve a confrontation in a bar or some other public place where the attacker and victim happen to be at the same time. Criminologists estimate that alcohol or drug use by the attacker is behind 30 to 50 percent of violent crime, such as murder, sexual assault and robbery. In addition, drugs or alcohol may make the victim a more vulnerable target for a criminal by being less attentive to activities around and perhaps visiting a poorly lighted or secluded area not normally frequented perhaps to purchase drugs. The idea that drug and alcohol abuse can be a major factor in a person’s life is why there are numerous treatment programs for young people addicted to these substances. Treatment focuses on positive support to influence a person’s future decision making and to reduce the tendency for antisocial and criminal behavior (Causes of Crime, 2004).
Social Work Interventions
This chapter will focus on generalist practice skills of interventions for victims of deviant acts.
Pinterest. [Social Work Quote Photograph]. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267330927857057069/
“Generalist social work provides an integrated and multileveled approach for meeting the purposes of social
work. Generalist practitioners acknowledge the interplay of personal and collective issues, prompting them to work with a variety of human systems—societies, communities, neighborhoods, complex organizations, formal groups, families, and individuals—to create changes that maximize human system functioning. This means that generalist social workers work directly with client systems at all levels, connect clients to available resources, intervene with organizations to enhance the responsiveness of resource systems, advocate just social policies to ensure the equitable distribution of resources, and research all aspects of social work practice” (Generalist Social Work Practice).
No matter what area of social work you pursue, you will more than likely work with clients that are facing an immediate crisis. This is especially true when working with victims of deviant acts, specifically criminal ones (ex. assa