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NCJ Number: 31581 Find in a Library
Title: DEVIANCE AS A METHOD OF COPING
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY 1976)  Pages:3-16
Author(s): A B SMITH; H POLLACK
Corporate Author: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Newark, NJ 07102
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DISCUSSION OF VARIOUS TYPES OF DEVIANT BEHAVIOR, EXPLANATIONS OF SUCH BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIETAL METHODS OF DEALING WITH DEVIANCE IN LIGHT OF ITS ROOT CAUSES.
Abstract: DEVIANT CONDUCT MAY BE DIVIDED INTO THREE CATEGORIES: CRIME, SIN, AND POOR TASTE. CRIME REFERS TO THOSE ACTS WHICH ARE OBJECTIVELY AND MEASURABLY HARMFUL TO THE COMMUNITY AND WHICH CANNOT BE TOLERATED BY ANY SOCIETY THAT WISHES TO CONTINUE AS A STABLE ORGANISM. SIN REFERS TO THOSE ACTIONS WHICH WERE ORIGINALLY PROHIBITED BY THE DOMINANT RELIGION OR RELIGIONS OF THE COMMUNITY AND WHICH AT VARIOUS TIMES MAY HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO SECULAR LAW. POOR TASTE REFERS TO A WHOLE HOST OF SOCIAL PRACTICES WHICH ARE UNPLEASANT AND ABRASIVE AND WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE SYMBOLIC OF CONDUCT THAT SOCIETY MAY WISH TO PROHIBIT. MOST DEVIANTS RECOGNIZE THAT THEIR CONDUCT IS PERSONALLY DESTRUCTIVE AND MAY BE SOCIALLY HARMFUL AS WELL. YET THEY CONTINUE TO DEVIATE FROM THE SOCIALLY PRESCRIBED NORMS BECAUSE THIS CONDUCT ENABLES THEM TO COPE WITH THE STRESSES THAT A HIGHLY ORGANIZED SOCIETY IMPOSES ON THEIR PERSONALITIES. MANY FORMS OF DEVIANT CONDUCT ARE TENSION RELIEVERS. SOME CREATE A SHORT-LIVED EUPHORIA, AND SOME ARE ACTS OF REBELLION AGAINST SOCIALLY PRESCRIBED NORMS IMPOSSIBLE TO REACH. IN COPING WITH DEVIANCE SOCIETY MUST FIRST LOOK AT WHAT THE DEVIANT IS ATTEMPTING TO TELL US THROUGH HIS CONDUCT. IF OTHER WAYS OF RELIEVING STRESS CAN BE PROVIDED FOR HIM, HE CAN BE PERSUADED TO CONFORM. IF HE CANNOT CONFORM AND HIS CONDUCT IS VIOLENT, WE MUST PHYSICALLY RESTRAIN HIM; IF HE IS NONCONFORMING AND NONVIOLENT, WE SHOULD LET HIM ALONE. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT)
Index Term(s): Crime Causes; Deviance; Incarceration; Rehabilitation; Violence
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