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Sociological Theories of Deviance

1. What does "deviance is a cultural creation" mean? What is an example of something that used to be deviant but is now commonly accepted? Or something that was accepted but is deviant? What caused the changes?

2. How do the three sociological perspectives differ? Does one make more sense to you than the others? Which one and why?

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Hi,

Interesting questions! Let's take a closer look.

1. What does "deviance is a cultural creation" mean? What is an example of something that used to be deviant but is now commonly accepted? Or something that was accepted but is deviant? What caused the changes?

'Deviance is a cultural creation' in that whatever society labels as being deviant, such as using marijuana. It is now labeled as 'deviant' by societal standards. Marijuana used to be sold off the shelf in drug stores, until the addiction potential was realized, and then it was labeled as deviant and 'illegal.' Thus, the recognition of the harmful effects of using marijuana caused the change.

Similarly, 'gambling' was considered 'deviant' at one time as was 'drinking alcohol' in the times of prohibition (e,g,m cultural decision that drinking and gambling was wrong and deviant behavior and some referred to it as a 'sin.' It deviated from God's Word and the cultural values.). However, society has now re-labeled 'gambling' as 'normal' behavior, as is 'drinking alcohol'. The values of society changed. In the temperance period, gambling and drinking alcohol were considered 'wrong' in terms of religious values (e.g., defined as sinful behavior ad thus labeled as deviant). Then, when more liberal cultural values shaped societal beliefs, then gambling and drinking alcohol were labeled as 'normal' behavior. Interestingly, the 'criminal' who was jailed for bootlegging alcohol in the prohibition period, was no longer labeled a criminal in the liberal period, when 'drinking alcohol' was labeled as 'normal' cultural behavior. This begs the question, is there really such a thing as a criminal mind or personality when society keeps changing the nature of what is ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the meaning of "deviance is a cultural creation" and then provides illustrative examples of two situations: (a) of something that used to be deviant, but is now commonly accepted, and (b) something that was accepted, but is now defined as deviant. The causes of these changed perceptions and meanings over time are identified and explained. Three sociological perspectives are then described, including the differences and whether or not one theory makes more sense than the others, and why.

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