DEVIATION IS ADAPTIVE Sociology Help

DEVIATION IS ADAPTIVE

Deviation is both a  threat and a protection to social stability. On the one hand; a society earn operate efficiently only if there is order and, predictability in social life. We must Kyoto , within reasonable limits, what behavior to expect from others, what they expect of us, and what kind of society our children should be socialized to live in. Deviant behavior threatens this order and predictability. If too many people fail to behave as expected, the culture becomes disorganized and social order collapses. Economic activity may be disrupted, and shortages. may appear. The mores lose their compelling power, and the society's core of
common values shrinks. Individuals feel insecure and confused in a society whose norms have become undependable. Only when most people conform to well-established norms most of the time can a society function anciently. Revolutionists, once they have destroyed the old system of social control, promptly seek to create a new one which IS often more restrictive than the one they have overthrown. On the other hand, deviant behavior is one way of adapting a culture 10 social mucilage Closer  .1962; Sagarin 1977). No society today can possibly remain static for long.Even the most isolated of the world's societies faces sweeping social changes within the next generation.

The population explosion, technological change, and the passing of tribal or folk cultures are requiring many peoples to learn new norms, while changing technology continues to demand adaptations from more advanced peoples. But new norms are seldom produced by deliberative assemblies of people who solemnly pronounce the old norms outworn and call for new ones. ·While the grave deliberations of congresses, religious counsels, and professional associations may speed or slow down the new norms, their pronouncements more often serve to legitimize new norms which are new on the way to general acceptance. New norms emerge from the daily behavior of individuals responding in similar ways to the impact of new social circumstances (functionalist view) or from the success of some groups in imposing new rules upon other groups (conflict view). The deviant behavior of a few persons may be the beginnings of a new norm. As more and more people join in the deviant behavior and as organized groups begin to promote and justify the deviant behavior, it ceases to be deviant and a new norm is established. The emergence of new norms is neatly illustrated in the decline of the patriarchal family. In an agrarian society where all the family worked together under the' .father's watchful eye, it was easy to maintain male , dominance. But changing technology moved the father's job to the shop or office, where he could no longer keep his eye on things changing, technology also began drawing the 'wife into jobs where she worked apart from her husband and earned her own paycheck. The husband was no longer in a strategic position to assert his male authority, and, bit by bit, it weakened. In the nineteenth century the relatively independent egalitarian woman with a mind or her own and a habit of firmly voicing it was a deviant; today she is commonplace, and the women's movement is calling for additional changes of gender status. Functionalist theory emphasizes the changes in work role and strategic situation which paved the way for the new norms conflict theorists emphasize the organized political action needed to gain legal recognition of the new norms. Deviant behavior thus often represents tomorrow's adaptations in their beginnings.
Without any deviant behavior, it would be

difficult to adapt a culture to changing needs and circumstances. A changing society therefore needs deviant behavior if it is-to operate efficiently. The question of how much deviation' and what kinds of deviation a society should tolerate is a perpetual puzzle. It is easy now for most people to agree that the eighteenth century republicans and the nineteenth-century suffragist were sociably useful deviants, while the Utopians were harmless and (according to many) the anarchists were socially destructive. But which of today's deviants will prove tomorrow to have been today's trail blazers-the nudists, hippies, gays, pacifists, marijuana users, commune members, .free-lovers, one-worlds, or who? It is difficult to say. ' Not all forms of deviation willflt the above analysis. The behavior of the assassin, the child molester, or the alcoholic rarely contributes to the forging of a useful new social norm. At 'any particular moment, deviant behavior takes many forms, only a very few of which will become tomorrow's norms. Much deviation is entirely destructive in its personal and' social consequences. But some  deviation is socially useful, as is indicated 'above. To separate the socially harmful from the, socially useful deviations requires an ability to predict the social norms that tomorrow's society will require.

Posted on September 2, 2014 in SOCIAL ORDER AND SOCIAL CONTROL

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