Breath of Clarity

The Vital Role of Deviance

Deviants are essential to the strength of society because it combats the negative impact of social strain. Social strain is a social crime theory that attributes criminal acts to an individual’s position in society. The article “Ideology and Terror explains the potentially detrimental effects experienced by societies that lack deviance, as individuals suffer the consequences of abiding to their class expectations. When fear is instilled in the middle class to follow norms, it makes them less willing to be deviant. In a totalitarian government, people are forced to move around, which destroys social networks and makes people less stable so that they are more open to exploitation. In the article “Rape as a Social Control,” Janice Reynolds explains, “men who are charged with rape differ little from their class counterparts on standard personality measures” (63). The theory is that cultural definitions of the male gender encourage them to rape. Reynolds claims, “the equation of virility with strength supports the view that men are sexual aggressors” (63). Therefore, the men who deviate from this social construction are improving society. The article additionally notes that lynching used to be “a socially acceptable means of controlling Negros in the non-too distant past” (64). The individuals who deviated from the normal attitude to recognize the immoral nature of this practice contributed to the progression of racial equality since periods of slavery. Deviants played a crucial role in the recognition of flaws within social norms.