Unit three: Chapter three
Social Constructionist Theories of Social Deviance
Social constructionists are known for probing deeply behind the conventions
and common sense norms of society to attempt to discover the reasons why
we believe as a product of our social interaction.
Social constructionism is very important because it demonstrates how
symbols can move people: turning a piece of cloth into a flag, for instance.
“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”
This would relate to both imaginary deviance and labeling and is a key part
of social constructionism as well as Symbolic Interactionism
In the same Interactive tradition comes Labelling Theory: It is more of a
perspective than a theory or paradigm.
It basically says that people do different things often because they are labeled
Structural theories explain individual behaviour and thoughts by the actions
of large groups and institutions, ultimately saying that the individual is
created by society
Emile Durkheim’s paradigm sometimes called social realism, promotes the
idea that society creates all ideas and societies need for social solidarity
comes first before individual needs and decisions.
Conflict theory in contrast suggests that social order is imposed on the
powerless by the powerful for their own interests
The causes of primary deviance are polygenetic and can happen for more
than one reason.
If caught and condemned, the person is labeled as deviant, and hobbled with
this identity of stigma
They will often have to commit additional acts if deviance; this is called
Deviance as a Cause of Social Solidarity
Emile Durkheim developed the idea that deviance can also be seen as a cause
of conformity and solidarity
Emile Durkheim can be considered both a positivist and a social
constructionist: Durkheim would say that sometimes a little deviance is
necessary or normal if it reminds us to our values, and that deviance can be
normal and pathological if it threatebed society’s social solidarity and order.
Durkeim would reject the notion that deviance is to be explained
psychologically by innate factors within the individual. Durkheim pointed out that if everyone became law-abiding we would then
need stricter laws until more popele became criminals—it is our
condemnation of rule breakers that reassures us that we are good people and
keeps us united
Structural- Functionalism—The Epitome of Consensus
The Structural-Functionalist paradigm was founded in the 30s by Talcott
Parsons, and developed later by Robert Merton.
It is assumed that the reason things happen in a society is that they benefit
someone, even if this benefit is obscure.
Structural Functionalusts would say that people do things because they are
motivated to do so
The mainstream Structural Functionalist paradigm of Parsons would say that
sometimes our deviance h