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an informal poll

My next assignment for introductory sociology is this:
"Select one (1) form of behavior which is defined as deviant in US society; state why it is deviant; identify and explain what you believe to be the best explanation of the selected behavior."
So my question for everyone is, what sort of deviant behavior do you think would be interesting to discuss for this assignment?  Duly noting that deviant behavior != crime.  I would actually prefer to discuss noncriminal deviance.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
sixteenbynine
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
Most of the deviant behaviors I can think of are unfortunately criminal ones, but that still leaves a fair range of topics to choose from. Does this include things like compulsive gambling? (Is addictive behavior considered deviant?)
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
Does this include things like compulsive gambling? (Is addictive behavior considered deviant?)

It depends on the addictive behavior. Strictly speaking, gambling is sanctioned in our society and is not necessarily considered deviant by the dominant culture, since it has become a formal institution. Addiction to controlled substances, however, would be considered deviant.

Deviant behavior, though, can include simple things like dying your hair wild colors or collecting tattoos, although it gets tricky with topics like that because those things are relatively common occurrences in youth culture. Elderly persons doing those things would certainly be considered deviant.
(Deleted comment)
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
That's true! And they've been on TV, so it might not be too hard to find good information to reference.
rejoicingapathy
Mar. 13th, 2008 10:42 am (UTC)
Our culture has some wacky ideas about covering yourself in all sorts of soaps and lotions and bizarre shit to avoid the deviant behavior of smelling like a human being.
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Ooh, interesting one. Nature's norms as deviance. I like it. ^*^
tim_dodge
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
Non natural colored hair.
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Phrased broadly like that, it's actually fairly commonplace amongst any age group, although elderly people are more likely to use natural tones. I could use it discuss the age variation of societal deviance, though; how it's far less deviant amongst youth culture than amongst the elderly.
tim_dodge
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
How do you figure that non natural hair color is in any way commonplace? I don't mean dying your hair a color that it's not normally, I mean dying your hair a color that human hair does not come in naturally. I would argue that non natural colors in hair sends a strong message of deviance from the normal.
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
It's increasingly common for people to dye their hair colors that human biochemistry does not normally produce. That doesn't always mean bright greens and purples, but odd shades of red, blond, or brown that aren't natural. I could specify the use of colors far removed from the natural spectrum but, more importantly, I think a conversation about the fact that such alterations are more the norm in youth culture and less so in the overarching dominant culture, particularly amongst the elderly, would be interesting.
tim_dodge
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
I would say that it's increasingly likely that out of a sampling of individuals polled, you would notice an increase in young women (and young men, but out of the unnatural color hair dying crowd, I would say that men overall are minimal participants). I'm still not sure that I'd ever label it "common" but your point that the real interest here is in the difference between youth culture and the older generation is on point.
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
I don't have statistics in front of me, of course, but I do believe that hair dying is largely still a prominently feminine element of youth culture. For middle-aged persons, however, it's actually increasingly common for men, although that's general hair dying and not so much unnatural color use. At any rate, particularly with this teacher, those kinds of specifics are really important. He deducts points if we aren't specific enough.
tim_dodge
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Makes sense. I wonder where you could get statistics like that?
(Deleted comment)
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Nonstandard gender identities. I like that one.

Age difference in relationships is good, though I'm less offhand familiar with that. Heck, in our culture these days, age itself sometimes seems to be considered a form of deviance.
(Deleted comment)
aekiy
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
haha.. well, I could mention it. ^*^ Since this is an online class and the discussion assignment is literally just to post a message to the BBS, I wouldn't be doing much more than that. I am leaning more towards gender issues currently.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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