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    Title:     Explains deviance from the symbolic interaction, conflict, and functional analysis perspectives.

    Paper Details    
    Write a 3-5 page essay that explains deviance from the symbolic interaction, conflict, and functional analysis perspectives. Include in your essay a comparison of at least two perspectives, which perspective makes the most sense to you and why. You may use your textbook, but you must use at least one outside resource. Make sure you cite your resources according to APA or MLA style. SOCI 1101 SLO Rubric.pdf


Subject Essay Writing Pages 4 Style APA


Deviances from the Symbolic Interaction, Conflict, and Functional Analysis Perspectives.

Individuals are perceived to form deviant subcultures which subsequently differ from the dominant societal culture. Within their deviant subcultures, individuals, who feel isolated from society tend to adopt new values and norms which are, in most cases, different from those of the larger society. The functional analysis, conflict and symbolic interaction approaches have been adopted to explain such deviances with regards to social stability and social needs. Consequently, while the conflict and symbolic interaction give insight into the causes of deviance in society, the functionalist approach makes more sense, since it brings into light the prevalent social issues in our contemporary society. This essay explains   deviance behavior from the symbolic interaction, conflict, and functional analysis perspectives

The Symbolic Interactionist Paradigm on Deviance

The symbolic interaction theory of deviance emphasizes on how individuals relate themselves to their environments in such aspects as reactions, actions, and interactions. This theory, which accentuates on social class and interactions, is divided into differential association theory and the labeling theory.

Differential Association Theory.

According to differential association theory, individuals adopt a given deviance by interacting with individuals who commit deviance and feel okay committing the deviance (Ballantine and Keith 153). The theory, which is elaborated by Edwin Sutherland, emphasizes that individuals adopt criminal behavior by interacting with close friends and family members, who see no wrong in committing certain crimes (Ballantine and Keith 153). Besides individuals learning how to commit certain crimes, the theory elaborates further, through close interaction with such subcultures, individuals are more likely to adopt motives, values, and justifications for breaking the laws. The theory, thus, tends to explain the relationship between adolescents, drug, and delinquency. Moreover, the theory tends to explain why individuals living in crime leading areas are more likely to commit a crime since they tend to associate and interact with criminals. Precisely, the differential association theory perceives socialization to be the main cause of deviance in the society.

Labeling Theory.

Labeling theory considers deviance to be as a result of being branded a deviant (Ballantine and Keith 154). For instance, it is perceived that non-legal aspects such as social class, appearance, and race are more likely to cause deviant in a diversified society. According to the theory, individuals, who are labeled with a certain title, are more likely to develop a deviant self-image which is more likely to cause deviance (Ballantine and Keith 154). The labeling theory, therefore, considers deviance to be as a result of individuals being branded a certain title, which separates them from other members of the society.

The Conflict Paradigm on Deviance

The conflict theory of deviance brings into light social inequalities across the globe. Conflicts often arise in our communities as a result of differing politics, religion, social ideologies (Ballantine and Keith 154). Therefore, deviance in our society is perceived to be as a result of social struggles between the powerful social class, and the minorities in the community. The conflict theory explains the reasons for many social crimes in the society (Ballantine and Keith 158). For instance, it is believed that due to poverty, race and ethnic differences, individuals, who fall within the sub-culture, may be arrested or even imprisoned due to their inferiority in society. Moreover, it is believed that individuals who commit criminal acts in the society are more likely to be treated by their inequality, rather than their lack, which creates deviance among the poor in the society. The conflict paradigm also blames capitalism, to be the main cause of deviance in the society. Capitalism, according to Willem Bonger, is the earliest proponent of capitalism as a cause of deviance, refers to the economic competition of profit (Ballantine and Keith 150). Consequently, such competition is more likely to encourage egoism, pride, and greed, prompting individuals to break the law for financial gains, at the expense of non-capitalists feelings and emotions. Such social class differences, therefore, foster deviance among the superior and the inferior in the society.

The conflict theory of deviance also sheds light on the issue of feminist perspectives on criminal justice in the society. According to the theory, gender socialization plays a major role in deviance (Ballantine and Keith 293). Fundamentally, gender inequalities in the society foster domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and other crimes against women in the society (Ballantine and Keith 159). Due to such intimidating acts, girls and women are more likely to resolute into antisocial behaviors or other acts such as drug and substance abuse. Precisely, the conflict paradigm of deviance emphasizes on gender and class differences to be the main causes of deviance in our society.

Functional Analysis Paradigm

The functional analysis relies on the perspective that social structures are the main reasons for social instabilities in the society (Ballantine and Keith 48). Unlike other theories, which rely on individual behavior, the functional analysis paradigm relies on the contribution of the larger society towards social stability (Ballantine and Keith 48). The functional analysis paradigm is, however, composed of other perspectives, which relate to the overall structures of the society.

The Durkheim’s Views on Deviance. While other theories, such as the conflict paradigm on social deviance, condemned deviance in the society, advocating for social justice, Émile Durkheim perceived deviance to be normal and important in the society (Ballantine and Keith 48). In Durkheim’s view, deviance is beneficial to the society since it increases conformity and clarifies about social norms. According to Durkheim, deviance reminds people of social norms and thus emphasizes the consequences of violating such norms (Ballantine and Keith 48). Secondly, according to Durkheim, deviance strengthens social ties among individuals who react to the deviant. The final importance of deviance is that it positively impacts change among the victims.

Strain Theory. The strain theory, on the other hand, considers deviance to be caused by the poor results of not achieving success through rightful means (Ballantine and Keith 157). Fundamentally, due to frustrations of not achieving dreams, most individuals resolute to various acts including deviance.

Deviant Subcultures. The deviant subculture perspective of the functional analysis paradigm emphasize on poverty and lack of other privileges to create subcultures, through which individuals acquire morals, which promote a deviant behavior (Ballantine and Keith 153). For instance, it is believed that poor boys end up in delinquency due to values adopted in their lower social class.

The Social Control Theory. The social control theory stresses the importance of attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief in countering deviance in the society (Ballantine and Keith 151). According to the theory, attachment and commitments are more likely to deter deviance. While individuals are more likely to be exposed to peers who commit a crime, bonding with their families and loved ones is more likely to prevent peer influence, and hence deviance.


While all theories tend to explain the reason for deviance in our society, the functional analysis perspective tends to create more sense since it sheds light on the contemporary issues in our society. For instance, the issue of commitment, as put across by the social control theory, is evidenced in our current society. According to Carlson, parents are more likely to prevent deviant behaviors, by monitoring their children’s behavior (44). Lack of commitment to children and adults is, therefore, more likely to cause deviance and vice versa, in the contemporary society.

Overall, it can be concluded that deviance entails the departure from socially accepted norms. Deviance may be caused by class differences, poverty, gender differences or even lack of social control in the society. While deviance is perceived a negative act in the society, the functional analysis theory defines the importance of such deviances in the society. Consequently, the Functional analysis perspective can be considered effective in our current society, since it elaborates on real social issues in our society.


Ballantine, Jeanne H, and Keith A. Roberts. Our Social World: Condensed Version. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Pine Forge Press, 2012. Print.

Carlson, Amber. “How parents influence deviant behavior among adolescents: an analysis of their family life, their community, and their peers.” Perspectives (2012): 42-51.



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