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Social Deviance
by
Derek E. Hollemans
(05/06/98)

Deviance is defined as the recognized violation of cultural norms. This is an extremely broad definition, and depending on who is explaining it, the above definition can mean a variety of different things. It is, however, generally assumed by the general public that anyone who is considered "deviant" is putting a negative stranglehold on society. This is not necessarily true.  The types of people that become deviants is another issue that is heated with controversy. What exactly is the makeup of a deviant? What makes him tick? These are all questions that "experts" have been trying to answer for years.

Deviance is exhibited in many forms throughout society. Deviance is not necessarily negative either. Sometimes the norms of society need to be violated so that new norms can be enforced. Society repeatedly attempts to put many social controls on it' people. Anyone who does not fit the perfect mold of the zombie-citizen would be considered a deviant. If there was no deviance, this planet would be comprised of billions of mindless robot-like people who are simply guided from an unseen power that tells them when to get up in the morning, when to go to bed at night, how much money to give to the government, and what decisions they can and can't make under their own free will.

However, there are also negative deviants. These people are the ones who are starved for attention. These are the people who attempt to convince you how "disturbed" or "depressed" they are. These are the people who claim to be evil and dark. However, they have a catch. When you expose them for the frauds they are, the roles are reversed, and it is their claim that the accuser just doesn't understand their plight. But if they aren't hurting anyone, does society really owe them a punishment?

These are examples of the two extremes. Somewhere between the two lie a middle ground. Any free thinking person would have to be considered a deviant. Anyone who questions the morality of society's laws would be a deviant. Citizen's aren't supposed to think about the laws, they are simply supposed to obey them. When they openly question them, society has taught the others to look down upon them as an "extremist".

Deviance does not always need to be looked upon in a negative manor. There is no need for society to always be on the lookout for a cure, or a way to rehabilitate deviant persons. Violent criminal deviants are dealt with in this manor, as are mentally unstable deviants (according to whom though? "Road Rage" is now a certified "condition"). However, these types of deviants only make up a small fraction of our population. Quite simply, it was a large group of deviants that wrote the Declaration of Independence and fought for the very existence of our great United States of America. Did our founding fathers need to be "handled" by society because they did not fit the perfect mold? They certainly were, but we now consider them heroes.

Deviance covers such a broad base that no easy "fix-all" will ever come close to solving it. Many bleeding heart idealists would like to see people living in some serene utopia, but that will never happen. People are individual thinking, breathing, living organisms. The more society attempts to mold people into the perfect model citizen, the more they will want to rebel against it. Not because they are craved for attention, but because they know who they are. People do not need society to give them an identity. Most people know who they are already. People cannot always look to society for the answers to all their problems. Of course, someone who did that would fit the perfect mold, and wouldn't be a deviant, but sometimes people need to think and do for themselves. If that makes every free thinker a deviant, so be it.


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