Theories of Deviation,
No matter how efficient the social control some people become deviant. Why?
BIOLOGICAL THEORY. Some people are to conform because of biological defect: Those with severe physical or mental handicap cannot possibly fulfill all the usual, behave or expectations ..But deviation through biological inability to conform is not very common and . appears to be a minor factor in the. kinds of deviation. which draw strong social disapproval The idea that certain body types are predisposed to ‘certain kinds of behavior is almost as old as human history. ‘A number of scholars, including Lombroso [1912 J Kretschmer [1925},Hooton , von Heatig [1947},and Sheldon [1949}have made studies claiming to find that certain body types are more prone to deviant behavior than others
The most elaborate theory is that of Sheldon, who identifies’ three basic body types end morph (round, soft, fat); mesomorph (muscular; athletic); and ectomorph (thin, bony). , For each typP., Sheldon describes an elaborate series of personality traits and behavior tendendesv Fcr example, he finds that, delinquents and alcoholics are generally mesomorphs He attributes’ neurosis largely to one’s Elbert to be different from what one’s body predisposes one to be. Physical-type theories appear occasionally as “scientific” articles in popular magazines’ and Sunday papers. They have become quite popular, possibly because they seem to offer a simple, scientific way of classifying -people and predicting or explaining their behavior Social scientists, however, are quite skeptical of the body-type theories [Clinard and Meier, 1979, p .. 31}. Although these theories are supported by impressive empirical evidence, critics have ‘noted serious errors .in method which cast doubts upon their findings. For example, -the process’ of classifying subjects into the several body types included no adequate methodological safeguards against unconscious bias: consequently, a borderline subject may have been placed in whatever body-type class he:~r she “belonged”in order to support the theory. The subject groups used in ‘most of these studies were composed of institutionalized delinquents, who are not properly representative of all types of delinquents, Furthermore, the control’ groups of “normal” people were collected so unsystematic ally that it is doubtful whet~r they were a representative cross section of people
A recent example of biological theory is the double-r-chromosomes proposal. About one of each thousand males inherits an extra Y chromosome. Such ‘males have been claimed to be abnormally susceptible to criminal or , antisocial behavior [Montague, 1968;Fox, 1m]. But replication studies have failed to confirm ‘any association between double Y chromosomes and deviant behavior [Pfuhl, 1979, p. 43; Liska, 1981, p. 9]. So another biological theory is rejected as unsubstantiated. Most nineteenth-century scholars attribute most deviant behavior to biological causes, while most modern, scholars attribute relatively little deviation to biological causes. Some scholars claim that recent research supports a larger causal role for biological factors ‘ than is generally conceded [Edgerton, 1976, chap. 6]. Certain chemicals and drugs can’ produce dramatic behavior changes. Kirsch claims intelligence, as measured by 10′ ‘ has a significant causal effect upon jive delinquency (even after controlling for race
and class) [1977}. Other scholars dismiss biological factors as relatively unimportant in deviation [Liska, 1981]. It remains an unsettled question.