How groups deal with deviants

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  • Post last modified:March 31, 2017

List three ways in which groups deal with deviants. Explain why groups feel it is necessary to deal with deviance. Explain why groups occasionally tolerate deviance and identify factors that determine the degree of tolerance exhibited by group members.

Groups have several ways of dealing with the deviants. The correctional systems can vary from group to group. The prison system is the most prevalent form of punishment used to punish the deviants. Throughout the world most nations deal with deviance by imprisoning the deviants. However, it has not always been so. In the ancient world there were other methods which could be both brutal and humiliating and were used to punish anyone who had committed a crime. Now a days imprisonment is used to keep the deviants away from the civilized society. It mainly indicates that such people are unfit to remain with rest of the civilized society and so must be kept in isolation. Isolation is used as a method of keeping the society safe from the deviants and make them realize the gravity of their offense.

Isolation or exclusion is a common form of punishment that several societies have used to punish deviance and protect their social identity. If a person from a group commits a transgression, the result can be people from outside the group associating such acts with the group’s identity. For example, the stereotypes that are commonly associated with native Indians are that of drunkards and criminals. If one person commits a crime, it becomes associated with the group’s identity and people start viewing the group with bias. Groups use several different kind of strategies to deal with such deviance. Some groups may support such behaviour with the hope that the deviant will correct himself. In the other cases, such acts are openly condemned and punished.

Rejection and denial are also used commonly to deal with deviance. In past, several religious groups have been using such tactics to deal with people that deviated from the prescribed norms. Such people are shunned from the group or rejected. No one from the group maintains a relationship with such people and they have to live outside the group. Simply put, the group throws them out. In ancient times banishment was a similar punishment used to deal with the traitors. While denial is used by groups often to control deviance, apology and forgiveness are also used to help deviants mend their ways and return to normal life. If the deviance is not of a higher degree or does not severely violate the norms of the group, an apology may be sufficient to allow the deviant to be forgiven for his crime. To an extent groups also demonstrate tolerance while dealing with crimes of lower degree. Small crimes are treated with tolerance in the modern society too. The criminal justice system allows such people having committed small crimes to be dealt with tolerance and applies minor punishments in such cases. The tolerance for deviance may also vary from group to group and based on their demographic characteristics.   It may be higher in the lower strata of the society. People from the lower socioeconomic groups may demonstrate higher tolerance whereas those from highly educated and civilized societies may demonstrate lower tolerance from crime and deviance.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.