Social Deviance as a Social ProblemSocial deviation history is as old as is that of society itself. It was also present in the Hunting and Gathering society. This problem came into existence when Agrarian Societies came into existence. Wealth and economic sources took the form of social values but intensity was created in it when two hundred years
back industrial societies began to be established. Village and agrarian societies changed into industrial societies, the population increased, individuals of many sub-culture settled in a locality, the mechanical social control became weak by changing into informal through informal norms, strangeness increased, mutual
relations and social contacts decreased much, the environment for deviation Became congenial, the deviations were encouraged and this increased to the extent to become problem for attention.
If Indian or Pakistani society is observed, there is deviation everywhere. From child to old men, from the rich to the poor, inferior to superior, educated to uneducated are not safe from deviated behaviour. Standing on the road, one can see unorganized traffic, cars ignoring traffic signals. There is bribery in offices, undue recommendations, violation of rules, undisciplined environment of schools and colleges, dishonesty in business, adulteration in food and edibles. All of these are deviations, but the greatest deviation is to see this all being done and not to try for its betterment. For a student of Sociology, the greatest problem of India and Pakistan is a compendium of deviated behaviours which have changed the society into a white ants-eaten structure.
Causes of DeviationAccording to functionalists, deviation is a compulsory part of social life and this is learnt just like the learning of other actions as knowledge, art, norms, beliefs and games. Therefore, its causes are present in our society, in our behaviours and in our tendencies. We avoid them sometimes consciously or unconsciously and thus the problem being solved by individual efforts does not seem on the social level by becoming a serious one. These are the causes of such deviations:
1. Different Associations :
Sutherland says that we learn deviation from the people with whom we have common relations. For example, the meeting in which we have more interest, we adopt the behaviour being impressed by that whatever the solution it suggests. If these suggestions are against the norms or traditions then our behaviour will be deviating: There are two important basic sources of different relations or associations: i. family; ii, friends; neighbours and sub-cultures.
i. Family :
The beliefs values and environment of the family have deep effects on the personalities because an individual learns ways, attitudes and habits from his family. If these are against social norms, then the individual falls a prey to deviation. There are families that teach such derivative behaviours and encourage them. Lawrence Green Field, in 1988, derived his conclusion from his social research that twenty-five percent young men involved in derivative activities were those whose fathers were serving sentences for a crime or had served such a sentence. Twenty-five percent young men were those whose someone member of the family had undergone such a sentence like uncle. This shows that the criminal families' children follow the same path.
ii. Friends and Sub-Culture :
The second reason of deviation, according to sociologists, is peel group or neighbour relations or sub-culture. An individual is affected by friends and takes part in their activities and unconsciously deviated neighbouring relations also affect in social interaction of vicinity and cause deviation. Similarly, and consciously, ha becomes a member of that group which is a deviated group. The group pressure or self-tendency obliges an individual to take part in deviating activities. If an individual joins a group that remains absent from school or copies in the examination or steals things, then the individual will also being of his friendship join such activities tending to increase the incidents of deviation.
2. Broken Homes :
Family is the basic and important institution in the social life of an individual and controls the norms and tendencies of an individual. Sometimes homes or families are broken due to some accident, economic strain or divorce etc. and the children fall a prey to the limits of relations and love deprivation and their personality is affected, being dissatisfied and dejected, they adopt a deviated behaviour like father's remaining absent from home for a long time and indulge in unhealthy activities.
3. Economic Deprivations :
"Such societies where a few people possess economic sources and others feel powerless and have nothing to meet their basic needs, there is dissatisfaction and these exhort lower class , to deviate to finish its deprivations." (Walton and Young 1973).
4. Mal-Socialization :
Social training is an important source of making the social attitudes according to the expectations of the society but sometimes incomplete or in sufficient training or some deviation producing training becomes a cause of deviation. Just as sometimes:
i. Social Training :
It fails in creating a disciplining system in an individual because of which aggression, selfishness and opposite activities grow which is a cause of deviation.
ii. According to Psychological Theory :
The lack of social training fails an individual in the completion of certain psychological and social needs and he falls a prey to anger and dispersion and has no suitable behaviour and ways to control this. As a result of this, reaction appears in the form of a deviation and crime under the pressure of some aggression.
iii. According to Frustration-Aggression Theory :
And sometimes, individuals of a society observe that the society is favouring such people with honour and praise who are really adopting deviation behaviour, making them as ideal and role model. For example, people get a better social economic status by the wealth amassed by bribery and they are respected by the society then other individuals also adopt this derivative, practice of bribing.
5. Modeling or Social Learning or Rat Race :
In the developing societies because of defective enforcement of laws and weaknesses in the social control are created. Some people accidentally or through fraud become rich in a very short time which produces social imbalance and increases the desire of the individuals of a society for getting wealth. This is
explaining by the second stage theory of anomic of Robert Merton. According to him, "Innovators, are people who accept the govt. of society but use illegitimate means to achieve them. Drug dealers, for instance, accept the goal of achieving wealth but reject the legitimate means for doing so." (R.K. Merton. 1968).
6. Misuse of Political Authority :
Democratically developing societies instead of authoritarian or monarchical style of rule are passing through preliminary stages of democratic System and untrained individuals have become able to use political power and authority but the organs of political institutions are not doing proper functions as Legislative, Judiciary and Executive, the political people start to use power and authority abusively including acquisition of economic sources wrongly, debts, licenses, permits, commission, nepotism and use of threats against opponents and the accountability bureau and organs of state avoid to impose restrictions against them. Other individuals of the society get a motivation from them and adopt deviation activities without any hesitation and the society goes on involved in deviation.
7. Use of Drugs :
When in the society the increasing population increases strangeness, the neighbouring relation of urban societies grow weak and the supervision of elders over youth becomes less. In such a case, the young people, especially in peer groups use of drug increases and causes a deviation. If the measures of the government are not effective, the drug traffickers are encouraged and they make more people use drugs to increase this deviation. In the fourth stage of theory of Anomie, some individuals of the society reject the cultural good and internationalized means. Such people are called retreatists, (in the Indian and Pakistani
society people like water-men, sweeper, sadhus and seriously depressed people). These people cut themselves off, from the social activities and social good has no meaning for them. Thus, their aimless life falls a prey to deviation. Opium, wine and heroin are the examples of this deviation. They influence the society in a very painful way, especially these young men in the youth choosing this deviation.
According to Merton, "People who choose the deviant path, retreat-ism, reject both cultural goals and institutionalized means and achieving them. Such people do not try to appear as though they share the goals of their society. Drug addicts, alcohol users, etc. are typically portrayed as retreatists."
8. Social Change and Cultural Conflict :
Such societies, where strong and population cultural life is in progress, social norms have the place of common heritage. Where system of socialization is harmonious, when they are affected by social change and prevention of change and its speed is impossible to decrease, the youth is really to change the traditions,
values, beliefs in the manner of their anger and intensity. The societies change into two groups. Elders want the survival of culture and the young accept new values rapidly and reject the cultural life thinking it an obsolete thing and as a result of this, social change takes the form of social conflict. What the old generation thinks deviation the young adopt it as modernity and there is confusion in the society which leads to conscious or unconscious deviation.
9. Family Conflicts :
Indian and Pakistani society is a prey to this deviation especially. There are many possibilities of conflicts in our society :
i. The cultural way of mate selection is our parents' liking which gives rise to emotions of enmity and sometimes deprivation of love becomes the cause of rebellion creating incidents of murder aggression and quarrels etc.
ii. The maladjustment of bride and her mother-in-law give rise to deviation affecting the family seriously. Heart-bursting incidents and family quarrels are examples of derivative behaviours.
10. Religious Disregardness :
Traditional societies are under the influence of religious values, beliefs and traditions and help in checking incidents of deviations, religious sanctions play an important part. But the importance of values and religious beliefs become less in urban and industrial societies. Business and social welfare becomes a cause of some distance from religion which makes the religious sanctions weak the fear of deviation from norms and values becomes less.
According to Durkheim, "Religious institution works as a 'binding force' in the society and provides a strong informal mechanism for preventing the society from indiscipline and disorder. Religious disregardness enhances the deviations."
Other Related ConceptsEvery religion gives a system of norms to its followers to get them act upon religious beliefs in a correct manner and the deviation of these norms is called sin just as not to say prayer, to eat unlawfully the wealth of orphans and not to serve the parents.
Deviation from social norms, like folk norms and mores is called evil. Just as abusing, teasing women, disrespecting elders or divorcing are social evils in Indian and Pakistani society.