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Preventing Deviance by Amending Inequality -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Holland, Donna; Christian, Jennifer;

2009 / EBSCO


Deviance is any behavior that violates cultural and socially established norms. By investigating deviance in society, we can better understand the processes that function to maintain social order, and how inequality in society can contribute to deviant activity. Scholarship in this area has taken two divergent paths over the past few decades. On the one hand, there are those who argue that deviance should be studied regardless of criminality or wrongfulness. On the other hand are those who suggest that deviance is an indicator of criminal activity and attempts should be made by communities and law enforcement to control deviant behavior through various mechanisms of control and sanctions. This paper will look at ways to prevent deviance by ameliorating inequality and thus, deviance will be treated as objectively given in society, that is, deviant activities will be described in terms of their social dysfunctions and ability to upset social order. Specific attention is to processes by which we can reduce deviance by reducing inequity.