Theories of Deviance Essay

High school
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Modern societies offer for an observer who intends to understand their functioning so many different intricate and interdependent social phenomena that one can easily get lost in the multitude of possible explanations. In this situation, in order to avoid unnecessary confusion due to unsystematic approach to investigation of social processes, a good solution is to start from the initial definition of methodology that will be used for the examination of social problems.


Let us employ the so-called labeling theory and social constructionist perspective, and identify an instance of deviant behavior which can be analyzed from those perspectives.
Such an instance can be found in the article of Ashleigh Wilson "Land where petrol fuels nothing but despair", which describes an acute social problem experienced by the Aboriginal communities in Australia. In situation of grave social conditions, many people of different age abuse gasoline by sniffing it, which deteriorates health and may lead to disablement and death. What aggravates this issue is the lack of hope for its solution, as community members, who are afraid to intervene due to the violent behavior of gasoline-sniffers, are helpless before this self-destructive habit, while the Government seems to be largely ignoring the problem.
Now, if we interpret this situation from the point of view of the labeling theory, what comes to mind first is the attention that this theory pays to the symbolic meaning of deviant behavior. In this regard, in general terms it can be pointed out that gasoline-sniffing, as acknowledged by sniffers themselves, is a symbolic form of escape from the unpleasant aspects of social reality. ...
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