Theories Of Deviance

Submitted By Czar9
Words: 778
Pages: 4

Symbolic interaction theories of deviance suggest that deviance is learned through interaction with others, leading to the development of a deviant self-concept. A deviant person is one departing from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behavior. Deviance is believed to result not from broad social structure but from specific face-to-face interactions. There are three forms in which symbolic theories are argued. Differential Association Theory, Deterrence Theory, and Labeling Theory.
The differential association theory explains that people learn to be deviant through their interactions with others. Meaning that depending on whom we hang out, we develop a certain type of behavior, either good or bad. That is why it is hard for parents to send their children off to college because everyone knows what goes on in college aside from school work. First year of college is crucial for freshmen due to the drastic change. Getting mixed with the wrong group of people will influence one more than anything because then that person gets used to breaking rules and doing other things that aren’t related to school work and end up wasting their first year drinking, partying and doing everything else but study. However, if one interacts with a group of people that follow norms they will get rewarded in the future since college is a tool to help one have a bright life ahead of it all.
Deterrence theory suggests that individuals will engage in deviance when they believe it will offer more rewards than will conformity and when they believe the potential risks and costs of deviance are low. In other words if one has nothing to lose then they are more likely to engage in a deviant behavior. In the documentary “Spin the bottle”, all those college students form part of the deterrence theory. Since they are not the ones paying for college they don’t realize or care that they are wasting their money and time getting drunk day after day. Unlike other students who have scholarships that allowed them to attend college, they know if they do not keep a certain GPA they will lose their scholarships. Therefore they can’t afford to mess up and drink everyday like others do so they avoid deviance because they have too much to lose. Those who have strong bonds with their parents do well in school, feel a part of their school, and hold good jobs in the future.
The third theory of deviance, which combines symbolic interaction and conflict theories, is labeling theory. Labeling theory focuses on how and why the label deviant comes to be attached to specific people and behaviors. A more useful explanation would be that groups try to label the behavior of other groups as deviant in order to increase their own power and status. In spin the bottle, one of the main topics was about the differences between men and women drinking alcohol. Men were labeled as the ones to drink beer because “beer is for men”. As for women it talked