Deviance in sociology refers to a behavior that goes against the set rules or acceptable norms in the society. Deviant behaviors are grouped into two categories; the formal and informal deviant behaviors. Formal deviance is dictated by the law and involves criminal activities while informal deviance is dictated by social norms. Deviance varies greatly among societies and what would be accepted to be non-deviant in a given society could be deviant in another. This paper explores two deviant behaviors; one that was previously viewed criminal but at present it is non-criminal and another that was non-criminal but now is criminal and theories that may have contributed to this.
A same-sex relationship, or homosexuality/lesbianism as some people refer to it, is among deviant behaviors that have received different views and perceptions in the world. It involves people developing sexual desires and interests in other people of the same sex. In many countries, same-sex relationships and marriages are illegal while in others it has been legalized. Countries such as Iran, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries have very stern rules against such relationships and those found going against them may end up being executed. On the other hand, the United States of America and New Zealand are among the few countries that have legalized same-sex relationships and marriages.
Same-sex relationships have been in existence from time immemorial. The Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd century supported this behavior and even some of their emperors would marry other men, Emperor Nero being an example. The behavior then spread and by the 18th and 19th century most European countries in the west started decriminalizing it. Male sodomy was decriminalized in the Colony of Virginia and death penalty was the terminal consequence. Brandenburg-Prussia also passed similar laws for sodomy as for the Colony of Virginia. The issue of homosexuality has come a long way. Since the first incidences of homosexuality were first observed to date, homosexuality has been an emerging issue in different countries. Despite the harsh penalties homosexuals were subjected to, homosexuals in some of the countries like the United States of America and New Zealand have found their place in the society. This has been achieved through complains of unfair treatment through movements and unions (Goodwin, 2003).
In the year 1996 homosexual men were allowed to serve in the military of the United States of America, this was owing to the need for a reinforcement in the military. It is also during the same year that the United States sent troops to Vietnam (Young, 2002). This offered an opportune moment for the homosexual men to increase their numbers. It is thought more people converted to become homosexuals through the social learning theory. Those that were not homosexuals could have been introduced into it through their interactions with other homosexuals. With increased number they fought for their rights and finally won legally.
The gay liberation movement came up as a result of police harassment of the gay society. In 1969, there was a crackdown on gay men by police; these included raids on gay and transgender bars where gay men met, arrested and arraigned them in court. The reaction was riots and resisting arrest by the police. Activists arose due to the incidences and confronted the police for harassment and brutality. Through the labeling theory, gay men accepted how the society had viewed them as being bad and were willing to fight for their place.
Labeling and social learning theories played an important in the fight against discrimination of the gay society. However, sexual inadequacy had a role in determining who joins the group and who does not. For instance, gay men are said to have inadequacies in terms of anatomical and hormonal functions. This orients them to being attracted to other men. It is clear basing on this theory that one does not choose whether to be gay but rather it is inborn trait (Bancroft et al. 1971).[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Alcoholism as a disorder characterized by constant consumption of alcohol and is associated with a pathologic continuous consumption of the substance. The result of this is constant dependency of alcohol by the individual. Alcoholism involves both continuous heavy drinking and binge drinking. It is viewed as a deviant behavior owing to addiction for alcohol observed in alcoholics. It is therefore continuous and heavy drinking in alcoholics that makes alcoholism deviant.
Alcohol production and alcohol drinking has been in existence for a long time. It is believed that it started at around 3150 BC in ancient Egypt. It is also thought that 300 BC alcoholic drinks were in existence in Babylon. The Neolithic time, due to developments in agriculture, saw an increase in alcohol production and consumption. During this time, alcohols of lower strengths were used as everyday drinks for all members of the family regardless of age. In ancient Rome, alcohol consumption was given a boost since it was available to everyone including the slaves. During this time wine was viewed as being a daily necessity. Africans also attached a lot of importance to alcohol and they incorporated alcoholic drinks into all of their traditional rituals.
The first time alcohol use was viewed differently was during 1500-1800 when other churches lead by Martin Luther who were against teachings and views held by Catholics about alcohol. Ever since, then alcohol drinking had two parts; ensuring moderation for enjoyment while avoiding excessive drinking to ensure one did not experience the bad effects of drunkenness. However, despite continued efforts to reduce alcohol consumption to moderate levels, cases of excessive alcohol drinking still persisted up to date.
Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with many dangers that range from health problems, death, violence and accidents. Governments are aware of this and so have come up with rules and regulation to curb excessive alcohol consumption. Some of these rules include not selling alcoholic drinks to those below minimum drinking age, observing certain drinking hours of the day and not driving while drunk. Those found violating the set rules face the law.
One of the methods used by governments to reduce commodity consumption is through increasing taxes on the product. For instance governments have been known to increase taxes on alcoholic drinks which consequently increase their prices. By doing so, the decentralized control of alcoholics is affected. They may therefore resort to taking less alcohol as compared to when prices would have been low. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
External restraint on alcohol use has been found to play a role in delayed-gratification paradigm. Measures put in place by the government like drinking hours of the day could result into alcoholics postponing their urge of taking alcohol until the stipulated drinking hours. It means that alcoholics only have a limited time span of taking alcohol. This on the side of the government has helped increase productivity of its citizens and at the same time reduces the bad effects associated with alcohol taking. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Deviant behaviors vary from society to society and from country to country. Same-sex relationships and marriages are acceptable in the United States but are offences in other countries. Whether deviance is formal or informal also varies from place to place. It therefore depends on the society’s views, expectations and accepted norms in order to determine whether a behavior is deviant or not. The society could also with time come to accept given deviant behaviors to become acceptable behaviors and others that were acceptable become deviant. Alcohol was never restrained during early days but currently there are many rules and regulations governing alcohol use. All this depends on the changes in the demands of the society and its members.
Bancroft, J. (1971). Sexual inadequacy in the male. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 47(550), 562–571.
Goodwin, J., & Jasper, J. M. (2003). The social movements reader: Cases and concepts. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub
Young, M. B., & Buzzanco, R. (2002). A companion to the Vietnam War. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.