Deviance is used by sociologist to refer to any violations of norms, regardless of the issue.
The Symbolic interaction theory on deviance focuses mainly on the labels and reputations of people.
According to the Symbolic theory deviance is socially constructed because society applies the labels. Acts of deviance depends on the society or individuals. What Americans consider normal may not be the norm in another culture. In a part of Africa according to Namibia.org for the Himba people it is traditional for men and women to go topless and wear skirts. This would be looked upon as deviant in
America and also a crime for women to be topless. A Sociologist of the Symbolic theory, Howard S.
Becker defines deviance by this saying “It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.” Nonetheless, deviance can be a person’s condition, illness or characteristics such as, blindness or having a sexually transmitted disease this is called stigma. The Symbolic Perspective goes against psychology or biology being the reason for deviance. The Symbolic Perspective encourages that our experiences in groups influences our lives and behaviors. As a representation two boys are born in similar neighborhoods. When they are of age they attend the same school neither of the young boys know each other . One boy is an A student who attends classes on time and spends majority of his time in the library with classmates. The other boy skip’s class often and spends his time hanging with friends who are dropouts, drinking liquor and deal drugs as a result he gets F’s in school . These young men are hanging with opposite groups and will inherit opposite attitudes and behaviors. The boy who is hanging with drug dealers will more likely be involved with criminal activity than the boy who is hanging with classmates regularly.
However, as a consequence of associating with different groups people choose to deviate from the
Norms of society or conform. The Symbolic perspective examines that people learn their behaviors from a group. Therefore, individuals lean towards the greater influence of what they have been taught.
This is called differential association and explains why individuals act a certain way. Symbolic interactionists pressure that people have a choice to shape themselves by joining one group over another.
The Labeling theory can explain how race and crime affects class. Labels affect how people perceive themselves or how others perceive them. Deviant labels cause people to except a deviant self view. It is likely that being labeled deviant will cause barriers for people who try to engage in non- deviant activities as a result people often remain deviant. Race is a group of its own because of the cultures of ethnicity. Caucasians are different from African Americans and Latinos are different from
Asians. Each group has its own labels that other cultures have placed on them. For instance black people have many negative labels such as thugs, thieves and ghetto. These labels allow other cultures to judge black people and make their own