I am currently taking a course in Sociology of Deviance and the concepts that we have been learning throughout the semester have created a better understanding for me and these concepts correspond with Merton’s theories. Deviance is any behavior that violates social norms, and is usually of sufficient severity to warrent disapproval from the majority of society. In today’s society, people look at gambling, prostitutes, cheating, lying, alcoholism to be deviant. But when a person engages in deviant behavior they are considered deviants. One concept that we learned was the Labeling theory. Labeling theory is behaviors that are considered deviant because society labels them as deviant. The connection that I saw with this and Merton’s Anomie theory was that the Anomie theory is the difference between socially accepted goals and the availablity of means to achieve those goals. Once a person cannot successfully complete the means to these goals they begin to participate in deviant behavior in order to attain those goals. Now the connection that I would make here is that people who experiance the Anomie theory get “labeled” for whatever deviant behavior they are participating in (labeling theory). Society plays a huge role within the labeling theory because society decides whether or not something is deviant or non-deviant.
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- Nicole Hala