Deviant Behavior as a Problem of Socio-Cultural Anthropogenesis

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In this research paper, I am going to examine deviant behavior as a problem of socio-cultural anthropogenesis Deviation in this study is considered as a category, a general concept, capturing the phenomenon. The categorical nature of the term ‘deviation’ reiterates the fact that it has an expanding character, with various meanings of the phenomenon, the characteristic of which in this aspect is also contextual and specific. Deviantology is a relatively young science, the conceptual apparatus of which is in development.

So, D. Downes and P. Rock note in the book of 1998 that the sociology of deviance actively develops only the last decades. Deviant behavior is an act, an action of a person does not correspond to socially established or established norms and expectations in a given society (culture, subculture, group). Following the cultural and historical forms, it is necessary to allocate collective and individual deviant behavior and to carry out their classification. There are two types of collective deviation. The first, sacral in its essence, or is a game relic of such (cult and ritual actions, traditional holidays, carnival, state and ‘national’ holidays). The second type — revolution, revolt (revolt), turmoil, pogroms, violence, etc. — is a manifestation of deviant behavior of the extreme type. They are characterized, in most cases, transitional periods of history.

The deviation of the common type is directly related to the deviant situation. Depending on the general reference, the phenomenon acquires the character of control or destructive reaction. Example. Among the types and forms of deviation, the personality of the creative (artistic, scientific) underground, the individual deviation, which opposes itself to society and traditions, comes into conflict with them, stands out. Deviance and destructiveness are essential features of underground psychology (Bohemia). That is different alternative cultures which either consider themselves not like to the current trends or social standards. At the same time, the underground position produced new forms of social and artistic activity. The closest to us in time is the artistic practice of the XX century, which has an active continuation in our days. Underground is an example of cultural deviation. Deviance can mutate into socially acceptable forms.

Causes of deviant behavior depend on the origin of a person’s belief. Many hold the view that deviation is limited to the function to justify the correlation versus causation, but after researching this area, we can identify factors affecting the level, structure, dynamics of certain types of deviation. The origin and development of numerous theories of social deviance are traditionally associated with the name of the great French sociologist E. Durkheim. It is believed that his concept of social anomie formed the basis of most modern theories of deviant behavior. A special role in the theory of social deviance was played by the work of R. K. Merton (1910-2003). The merit to R. Merton is given in regards to the proposed a concept that allows to identify and picture within a single approach all the main forms of social deviance and point to its main reason – the concretization of the concept.

A special type of deviation is represented by ‘liminals’ (V. Turner’s term). Liminal (lat. limes — boundary line; liminaris — slue/sagti threshold, initial, title) — a person who seeks to overcome all boundaries, showing his behavior unwillingness to adapt to society, to recognize its laws – both legal and informal. Under similar conditions as the rest of the community, liminals pose a threat to society because they are more likely to become robbers, murderers, revolutionaries, terrorists, but also heroes of our time. They are both representatives of social destruction and progressive social transformations. Forms and ways of manifestation of deviance display the semiotic perspective: visible representation of deviation — clothing; the ability to relate to events of everyday life; the semantics of the gesture; style of living; a way of thinking and speaking, linguistic subculture. It could be argued that deviation is a polyvalent phenomenon. On the one hand, it is a kind of adaptive behavior, a way of responding, and the change of its forms and types indicates objective, implicit processes in society. In this case, society eventually legalizes deviants and deviation under the guise of new forms of cultural activity.

On the other hand, deviation comes to the surface of social life as destructive behavior, but in this case, it is necessary to assess and respond, adequate to the phenomenon itself and its role in public life. In my opinion, in the formation of deviance, the determining role is played not so much by the psychosocial anomaly as by the context. In the twentieth century, deviation had its peak. The concept of rare emotional and prognostic completeness has appeared, in which the value of deviation is justified, the person to be considered with a deviant behavior was described or turned into a ‘cult’ figure, the depth of his experiences is revealed, the tragic rightness of his claims to life and society. The philosophy of F. Nietzsche can be considered as a manifestation and justification of deviant behavior, formulated in the categories of nihilism, decadence, anarchism, Superman, etc..

For example, in the famous Russian book – Ivan Turgenev – ‘Fathers and Sons’ – Bazarov, the main character, is a perfect example of the deviant behavior that was not accepted by the society. Concepts of modern globalism, ideas, and values of postmodernism, post-materialism (W. Beck, I. Wallerstein, etc.) with the spread of the cross-cultural approach could also be referenced to forms of deviant behavior. Not only the ideas of permissible, normal, deviant, relativity and conventionality of deviations undergo changes, but this change itself stimulates the development of deviantology, promotes the birth of new concepts and views. There are three main approaches to determining deviance: deviance as a norm-breaking behavior (R. Akers, M. Clinard, R. Meier, A. Liska, A. Thio); deviance as a ‘responsive construct’ (D. Black, N. Becker, K. Erickson, E. good); deviance as a violation of human rights (N. Schwendinger, J. Schwendinger).

According to the famous German criminologists N. Hess and S. Scheerer, crime (a kind of deviation, but what is said can be applied to its other forms) is not an ontological phenomenon, but a mental construction that has a historical and changeable character. Criminality is almost completely constructed by the controlling institutions which establish norms and attribute actions to specific values. Thus, crime is a social and linguistic construct. The concept of a norm is the starting point for understanding deviations. We understand social and natural norms as limits, measures of admissible. These are such characteristics, ‘boundaries’ of properties, parameters of the system, at which our way of life is preserved (not destroyed) and can develop.

Social and cultural norms are expressed historically; they formed in a particular society limits, intervals of permissible (permitted or obligatory) behavior, activity of individuals, social groups, social organizations. In contrast to the natural norms of physical and biological processes, social and cultural norms are constructed as a result of reflection (adequate or distorted) in the minds and actions of people patterns of functioning of society. Therefore, these norms can either correspond to the laws of social development (and then they are ‘natural’) or reflect them incompletely, inadequately, being a product of distorted (ideologized, politicized, mythologized) reflection of objective laws. And then it turns out to be abnormal itself ‘norm,’ ‘normal’ (adaptive) deviations from it. It is the deviations as a universal form of changes that provide the ‘mobile equilibrium’ (A. Le Chatelier) or ‘stable non-equilibrium’ (E. Bauer) of the system, its preservation, stability through changes.

Another argument in favor of deviancy is that the change itself can be evolutionary (development, improvement, increasing the degree of organization, adaptability). In this sense, deviation is a breakthrough of total life activity through the social form. (9 Curra J. The Relativity of Deviance. SAGE Publications. Inc. 2000.) Deviation applies not only to social and cultural phenomena, but it can also be considered in anthropological and biological perspective as a designation of the event outside the conformist existence and behavior with the corresponding results and consequences. Our opinion on modern-day deviation should be formed both by society and by government agencies — by examining scientific substantiation and forecasts.

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Deviant Behavior as a Problem of Socio-Cultural Anthropogenesis. (2021, Jan 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/deviant-behavior-as-a-problem-of-socio-cultural-anthropogenesis/

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