To what extent do you agree that the Sociology

To what extent do you hold that the Sociology of Deviance and Control has little or no relevancy for modern-day societal work?

Illustrate your treatment with mention to age and offense.

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to submit amazing papers!

order now

With the rise in mass media, the coverage of offense and aberrance has become platitude. We are now faced with images of condemnable activity, whether that be big scale operations such as terrorist act or drug trafficking or little graduated table like young person offense and delinquency, everyday of our lives and the tendency in this seems to be on the rise.

The sense of the immediateness of offense and aberrance through the intercession of the media has made it an of import political issue. The Blair government’s pronouncement of being “Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime” has become a cliche of the modern-day political scene but one that seems to hold found favour with public sentiment. A recent MORI canvass, for case, refering the public’s attitudes towards the country of offense and delinquency reveals that about 45 per cent of those poled thought that their concern of offense had “Increased a lot” over the last few old ages and that 46 per cent had lost assurance in the constabulary and the societal services ability to cover with its victims. [ 1 ]

With this in head, this paper attempts to put the theories of aberrance and control within the context of modern theories refering societal work and societal work policy. First, I would wish to sketch in some depth the assorted differing theories of offense and aberrance, get downing with the historical psychobiological theoretical account ( taking into more recent impressions of familial and condemnable profiling ) , so I will travel on to look at the more sociologically based theories of Emile Durkheim and Robert K. Merton. I will, after this consider the theories of the Chicago school before reasoning this subdivision with an appraisal of Howard Becker and labeling theory.

With this base steadfastly established I will travel on from there to look specifically at the country of offense and the immature, insulating points of mention between the theory and the official statistics and pulling illations from this. I will so travel on to look at the country of postmodern societal theory as exemplified in the work of, among others Michel Foucault, and how such impressions of privileging and minor narrations can be used to dispute condemnable stereotypes and supply a sound foundation for future pattern.

First of all, what is the theory of deviancy? It is non plenty, as most observers point out ( Haralambos, 1991 ; Giddens, 2001 ; Downes and Rock, 1998 etc. ) to propose that it is simply the survey of condemnable activity, although they are of class inextricably linked. As Lefton, Skipper and McCaghy province ( 1968 ) the sociology of aberrance, like many definitions in the societal scientific disciplines, can best be thought of as a series of coupled patterns that are by and large considered as representing a partly homogeneous subject:

“Traditionally ( for case ) in American sociology the survey of aberrance has focused on felons, juvenile delinquents, cocottes, self-destructions, the mentally sick, drug users and drug nuts, homophiles and political and spiritual radicals.” ( Lefton, Skipperand McCaghy, 1968: V )

It is obvious from this statement that non merely are definitions of sociology of aberrance debatable but so excessively are definitions of aberrance itself. It is improbable, given today’s socio-political clime that cheery work forces or tribades would be included under the header of aberrance and the same perchance goes for the mentally sick.

A on the job definition of aberrance as Haralambos ( 1991 ) suggests should affect some thought of relativity ; with the current moral and ethical tendencies and mores taken as a benchmark for comparing:

“Deviance is a comparative: there is no absolute manner of specifying a aberrant act. Aberrance can merely be defined in relation to a peculiar criterion and no criterions are fixed or absolute. As such what is regarded as aberrant varies from clip to clip and topographic point to place.” ( Haralambos, 1991: 581 )

In many ways so, aberrance and its survey must be looked at within the context of the state and the historical epoch that produced it. This does non nevertheless contradict its importance as an sentiment organizing impression within society because, as we shall see, in many ways those who are excluded are every bit as of import, if non more so, as those that exclude.

One of the earliest positions of aberrance and its causes was the impression of condemnable typewriting as seen in the work of Cesare Lombroso and William Ferrero ( 1895, 1995 ) . For Lombroso and Ferrero, the condemnable displayed psychical differences from the law-abiding. The pervert could be judged and, presumptively the governments pre-warned, through the isolating of certain physical characteristics such as an asymmetrical face or unusual facial characteristics [ 2 ] . What is of import about Lobroso and Ferrero’s theories, I think, is non so much their decisions as their effort at establishing a subject that views aberrance as something that can be categorized and finally countered.

It is besides no great spring of imaginativeness to propose paras between Lombroso and Ferrero’s work and the recent rise in involvement refering condemnable genetic sciences. A 2002 article by the BBC, for illustration, suggests that stairss have been made to seek and insulate a cistron that causes delinquency and anti-social behaviour. [ 3 ] The results of such research, observers have suggested, could be the usage of drugs in the bar of offense and aberrance.

Of class, most of the theories refering offense and aberrance rely more on sociology than psychological science or genetic sciences. The usage of psychobiology in this country may look sensible, it may even offer attractive easy replies like the usage of crime-curbing drugs but, finally the job is more likely to shack in the complexness of the interface between the person and the society. Even that most biological of minds Hans Eysenck acquiesces to the importance of context and civilization in this country:

“The really impression of criminalism or offense would be meaningless without a context of larning or societal experience and, rather by and large, of human interaction. What the figures have demonstrated is that heredity is a really strong predisposing factor every bit far as perpetrating offenses is concerned. But the existent manner in which the offense is carried out, and whether or non the perpetrator is found and punished—these are evidently capable to the altering vicissitudes of mundane life.” ( Eysenck, 1970: 74 )

One of the earliest sociological expoundings of aberrance was the functionalist position of Emile Durkheim. Commensurate with his over all scheme of sociological idea, Durkheim stressed non merely the inevitableness but besides the map of offense in a societal context. First, he asserted, the catholicity of aberrance as a topic – the fact that every society has a impression of aberrance ( even though this may alter from society to society ) points to the fact that it has an of import function to play in the formation of societies. He says in hisThe Rules of Sociological Method( 1982 ) :

“What is normal is merely that criminalism exists, provided that each societal type does non make or travel beyond a certain degree which it is possibly non impossible to repair conformance with…previous rules.” ( Durkheim, 1982: 98 )

Equally long as the degrees of aberrance do non go unstable and endanger the societal order, thought Durkheim, impressions like offense and delinquency are of import societal maps ; supplying societal coherence and homogeneousness. The construct of interrupting the jurisprudence, in other words must ever be in a dialectical relationship to the up retention of the jurisprudence but the latter must ever predominate in order to keep the position quo.

For Durkheim, besides, aberrance can be seen as a prefiguring of future actions or morality ( Thompson, 2002 ) . The consensus of the society can be broken by persons that may look pervert at the clip but whose positions, finally, come to stand for the general consensus. Possibly we could believe here of Martin Luther King’s public image in 1960s America, or possibly the Gay Pride Marches of the early 1980s. In both of these illustrations we see images of persons ( or at least little groups ) who reverse the current tendencies in society but whose impressions finally are adopted.

Allied to Durkheim’s thoughts are those of Robert K. Merton, for Merton besides offense and aberrance is founded upon consensus of sentiment. Since many of those within a society will portion these sentiments ( therefore, evidently, organizing a consensus ) the lone difference between the pervert and the non-deviant must be the societal construction that they exist under, as Haralambos explains:

“since members of society are placed in different places in the societal construction ( for illustration they differ in footings category place ) they do non hold the same chance of recognizing the shared values. This state of affairs can bring forth aberrance. In Merton’s words ‘the societal and cultural construction generates force per unit area for socially aberrant behavior upon people diversely located in the structure.” ( Haralambos, 1991: 587 )

In other words, the ability to accomplish cultural ends is unequal across the society and it is the defeat of this that consequences in aberrance and offense.

The Chicago school based their impressions on similar establishing principles although they stressed the importance of environmental factors in the formation of aberrance and offense ( Messner and South, 2000 ) . Centered around Chicago in the 1920s, the Chicago school saw that pervert and condemnable behavior was localized in certain territories, territories that were hapless both environmentally and economically. The more urban an country was, the more centrally based within a metropolis, the more it was unfastened to a extremely ephemeral population that they saw as being commensurate with condemnable activity. As those in the interior metropolis countries became wealthier they moved out to suburban countries go forthing a infinite that could be filled by new, mostly migratory, hapless.

This demographic account of offense and aberrance has become popular and, we can asseverate, is embodied in the impressions we outlined earlier sing the renter “Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime” . Apart from widening the argument of offense to include the environment we can see that their impressions ( that evidently stretch much further than the brief lineations I have the infinite to give here ) topographic point onus non upon the person or the society as a whole but the mechanisms within that society ; the town contrivers, the politicians, the designers and the societal workers and, as we shall see when we come to look at the work of Michel Foucault, this is of great relevancy today.

The last country of theory that I wish to foreground is the impression of labeling as it appears in Howard S. Becker’s.Foreigners( 1963 ) . Becker’s survey trades with the ways in which society labels certain persons and activities as pervert therefore non merely excepting but besides making the aberrance in inquiry. An of import inquiry that arises from this, of class is who makes the regulations and who decides the penalties? Becker is rather clear on this:

“This is, of class, a inquiry of political and economic power…By and big, for illustration, regulations are made for immature people by their seniors. Though the young person of this state [ 4 ] exert a powerful influence culturally – the mass media of communicating are tailored to their involvements, for case – many of import sorts of regulations are made for our young person by adults.” ( Becker, 1963: 17 )

In Becker, so, and labeling theory the construct of aberrance and the construct of regulation devising is inextricably linked ; the 1 who controls the later besides creates the former.

Becker’s work of class, particularly the transition quoted above opens up to us the country of offense and young person ; more and more these two countries are being seen as conflated in the public sphere. Government statistics reveal that a astonishing 21 per cent of all 10 to 17 old ages olds arrested in 1998 [ 5 ] had had from three to nine old strong beliefs compared to 28 per cent of 18 to 34 and 22 per cent of 35 to 54 twelvemonth olds. The mean continuance of apprehension for a immature wrongdoer in 2005 was 65 yearss and in 2000 a monolithic 105,000 people between the ages of 10 and 17 were cautioned on chargeable offenses with a farther 56,000 for drumhead offenses. [ 6 ]

It is non hard to see how these figures fit in with many of the theories we have been looking at so far. The young person demographic, as Paul Friday asserts in his essay ‘Youth Crime in Postindustrial Societies: An Integrated Perspective’ ( 1981 ) , is notoriously vulnerable to the sorts of environmental impressions highlighted by the Chicago school and the sorts of failure to accomplish, in a legitimate mode, societal ends that Merton suggested. By and big, evidently, it is the immature who are least able economically to accomplish the things that society deems as socially of import and yet, as Becker suggests, it is besides the immature who are the most powerless when it comes to pulling regulations and sensible bounds of behaviour.

The place of young person offense is clearly outlined in Friday’s essay:

“ ( 1 ) young person offenses are most frequent in urban, industrial, flush societies, and within these societies are concentrated chiefly in urban countries ; ( 2 ) the culprits of the bulk of discourtesies are immature males under the age of 24 ; ( 3 ) the discourtesies themselves are by and large against belongings ; and ( 4 ) the bulk of these vernal wrongdoers do non go on in offense but finally lead comparatively observant lives. “ ( Friday, 1981: 43 )

It is interesting to observe here how Friday asserts that young person offense is most frequent in societies that are, more or less, the most flush. If we consider all of the assorted theories we have been looking at so far we could venture that is it this really richness that creates the types of offense typically associated with immature people. Commensurate with both Durkheim and Merton, modern-day young person offense could be seen as the defeat engendered by the failure to accomplish the sorts of ends an flush society expects through legitimate agencies.

However, is this truly the instance? In their essay ‘Postmodernism and Discourse Approaches to Social Work’ ( 1998 ) Nigel Parton and Wendy Marhsall discuss the whole construct of a societal work theory that sees aberrance and young person for that affair as simply two more discourses in the whole cloth of the societal system:

“Discourses are constructions of cognition claims and patterns through which we understand explain and decide things. In representing agents, they besides define duties and find the distribution of duties and governments for different classs of individual, such as parents, kids, societal workers, physicians, attorneies and so on.” ( Parton and Marshall 1999: 244 )

Pulling on the work of Derrida and more significantly Michel Foucault, postmodern societal work theory as described in Parton and Marhsall sees constructs such as aberrance and criminalism as a manner of stamp downing the discourse of assorted groups ; the mentally sick for case, the black or the immature. Young person offense, in this sense becomes simply a manifestation of the desire of the grownup to keep their socio-economic power and the aberrant becomes a manner of shoring up psychosocial boundary lines and boundaries, making low others that act as comforting definitions of what has been expelled to keep order.

Foucault, in hisDiscipline and Punish( 1991 ) is speedy to foreground the extent that, under the modern system of legality and captivity, the construct of aberrance and its control rests within a multiplicity of different societal bureaus:

“We are in the society of the teacher-judge, the doctor-judge, the educator-judge, the societal worker-judge ; it is on them that the cosmopolitan reign of the normative is based ; and each person, wherever he may happen himself, subjects to it his organic structure, his gestures, his behavior, his aptitudes, his achievements.” ( Foucault, 1991: 304 )

It is this point, possibly, that allows us to oppugn the relevance of the sociology of aberrance to modern societal work pattern. As Foucault asserts, in a altering planetary environment that is party to all mode of new manners and methods of surveillance and captivity, in a political system that is terrorized by unknown, faceless menaces from within itself, in an age of mass media that seeks non merely to judge but to penalize every bit good, the thought of aberrance is fast losing its cogency as we are all seen as possible felons or perverts.

As a modern societal worker, I think, is it merely through an apprehension of the complexness of such issues that we can to trust address the hereafter ; seeing, possibly, non perverts and felons but hitherto unaddressed issues, differences and discourses, nevertheless as I have shown in this paper this is merely possible through a thorough apprehension of historical theory. A postmodern age, possibly, demands a postmodern theory.


Banks, Sarah ( 1995 ) ,Ethical motives and Valuess in Social Work, ( London: Macmillan )

Becker, Howard ( 1963 ) ,Foreigners, ( London: Macmillan )

Downes, David and Rock, Paul ( 1998 ) ,Understanding Aberrance, ( Oxford: Oxford )

Durkheim, Emil ( 1982 ) ,The Rules of Sociological Method and Selected texts on Sociology and its Method, ( London: Macmillan )

Eysenck, Hans ( 1970 ) ,Crime and Personality, ( London: Champion )

Foucault, Michel ( 1991 ) ,Discipline and Punish, ( London: Penguin )

Friday, Paul ( 1981 ) , “Youth Crime in Postindustrial Societies: An Integrated Perspective” , published in Shelley, Louise,Readings in Comparative Criminology, ( Illinois, Southern Illinois University )

Giddens, Anthony ( 2000 ) ,Sociology, ( London: Civil order )

Haralambos, M. and Holborn, M ( 1991 ) ,Sociology: Subjects and Positions, ( London: Collins )

Lefton, Mark, Skipper, James and McCaghy, Charles ( explosive detection systems ) , ( 1968 ) ,Approachs to Deviance: Theories, Concepts and Research Findings, ( New York: Appleton, Century, Crofts )

Le Grand, Julian, Propper, Carol and Robinson, Ray ( 1992 ) ,The Economicss of Social Problems, ( London: Macmillan )

Messner, Steven and South, Scott ( 2000 ) , “Crime and Demography: Multiple Linkages, Reciprocal Relations” , published inAnnual Review of Sociology.

Parton, Nigel and Marshall, Wendy ( 1998 ) , “Postmodernism and Discourse Approaches to Social Work” , published in Adams, Robet, Domineli, Lena and Payne, Malcolm ( explosive detection systems ) ,Social Work: Subjects, Issues and Critical Debates, ( London: Macmillan )

Rubington, earl and Weinberg, Martin ( 1995 ) ,The Study of Social Problems: Seven Positions, ( Oxford: Oxford )

Rubington, Earl and Weinberg, Martin ( 1999 ) ,Aberrance: The Interactionist Perspective, ( London: Allyn and Bacon )

Thompson, Ken ( 2000 ) ,Emile Durkheim, ( London: Routledge )

Web sites


I shall seek to address this question by providing<< >>Critically assessing the judgements in A v Secretary

About the author : admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.