Deviance behavior is defined as any behavior that contravenes societal norms. Such behavior can be either criminal or non-criminal depending on the level of contravention. While criminal deviance relates to the contravention of law, non-criminal deviance involves contravention of societal norms that does not extend to the contravention of law. In the contemporary American context, behaviors such as public nudeness, cross-dressing, robbery and embezzlement all constitute deviance in the national context.
Despite this definition of deviance, sociologists are of the opinion that the behaviors themselves are not deviance but the tags placed on the behaviors by the society are what make them to be considered as deviance. However, I personally disagree with this proposal as it fails to address the root cause of the deviance problem through escapism. Labeling the behavior as deviance without considering the primary deviance (original act from which the behavior stems) is somewhat wrong.
Consideration of primary deviance makes it possible to address the secondary deviance (behaviors) effectively. This implies that complete dependence on societal definition of deviance may not be effective where the objective is to seek Redress. For instance, some of the causative behaviors such as divorce are not considered to be deviance yet results in adverse effects such as drug use among youths.
In addition to this, the singular labeling of a behavior as deviant does not make the definition to stick hence requiring repetition which can result in the creation of a career of deviance. Dealing with deviance in the society should be aimed at behavior control rather than punishment of the violator. Formal sanctions such as imprisonment, and penalties as well as informal sanctions such as humiliation could be imposed on those who engage in deviant behavior to help curb the problem of deviance.
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