Social deviance describes an action or behavior that society believes violates social norms. According to Robert K. Merton, deviance occurs when a society does not give all its members equal socially acceptable goals, which is not agreeable. Other sociologists and criminologists believe that social deviance comes from society looking down on some people. The explanations attempt to give reasons why the incidence of drug abuse and social order is on the rise in society today. An understanding of the topic will help in dealing with the issues and making sure that the society becomes a good place for the people to live. Taking time to observe society, I understand that some people will have deviant behavior even if the society gave them all the attention required. It is, therefore, important to take a multi-agency effort when it comes to dealing with the cases of drug abuse in society (Akers, 2017).
The main form of deviance that is being addressed in this paper is drug abuse, and the study is aimed at finding the real issues that are associated with drug abuse. It also involves establishing the opinions of scholars with regard to the main cause of drug abuse. The theories and the positions held by the scholars with regards to drug abuse are important because they will play an important role in finding the solution to the problem and improving the lives of the people in the society. Understanding the real cause of drug abuse is a very important step towards finding a solution to the problem. Akers (2017) notes that theories are important in explaining phenomena because they come from research with the use of data, and they may be used to make conclusions with regards to the issues that the people face in society.
I disagree with Merton’s argument that “deviance occurs when a society does not give all its members equal ability to achieve socially acceptable goals,” I believe that there are many factors that make the people in the society to participate in deviance. However, there are cases where Merton’s argument may hold, but it does not represent the whole society; hence it cannot be relied upon to make a judgment about the cause of drug abuse and the other forms of deviance in the society. The reasons include not being aware of what is acceptable and what is not; others are aware of what is right and what is wrong but go-ahead to do the wrong because of their rudeness. It, therefore, means that deviance mostly occurs when people decide to be part of it in society.
Albert K. Cohen justifies how responses of the people to various issues in the society and their behavior affects the society as a whole. He holds the belief that society creates deviance and deviant is created by society. Merton tends to believe that society itself influences the deviance that occurs in society. He argues that moral panics are created within society. Moral panics have an effect on social control, which targets the young, working-class, school violence, and much more. Cohen believes that by examining moral panics, you would see the cause and effect on how society values and fears their identity. Moral panics go against social norms because it creates fear, and the media outlets always make it look bad, which make society shame you. Kenneth Thompson explains how the media emphasizes on situations that are not really harsh. The media puts out bold headlines to make it seem like moral panics are bad in society and shouldn’t be acceptable. According to Kenneth Thompson, the media plays an important role in causing deviance in society because of the kind of stories that they focus on. Focusing on beautiful stories could promote good behavior as opposed to the focus on the bad things. One of the major reasons why the media tends to focus on bad stories is the fact that bad stories tend to sell more than good stories.
Robert K. Merton implies that the deviance that occurs in society because all the people are not allowed to achieve acceptable social goals, something that is not true. Some people may deviate from the required standards, even when they have the necessary conditions. On the other hand, some people will end following the required standards of the behavior even though their environment does not allow it. It, therefore, means that deviation from the acceptable behavior occurs as a result of many reasons; hence it is important to assess the issue holistically as opposed to making blanket conclusions. Drug abuse as a form of deviant behavior is very complex in society. Drug abuse refers to the use of a drug in a way in which is not designed for and taking drugs that are harmful to one’s health. It is easier to blame society for the increase in drunken behavior in society when, in the real sense, the individuals who take the drugs are the ones to blame. Some of the drug abusers decided to take drugs out of their own volition. Even though society has done its best to improve the lives of the people, some turn out to have deviant behavior meaning that many other issues may cause the problem. There are some cases where society may contribute to the behavior of individuals, and there are cases where people will develop behavior despite the environment. For instance, many religions encourage people to live lives with no deviations, but still, some people still participate in deviations in religious settings. For instance, the Christian religion is against drug abuse and gives the congregants the tips on how they are going to live lives without taking part in the deviance. However, some people still participate in deviance even though they have been taught not to.
Literature review on deviance
Drug abuse is a form of deviance, which is caused by many factors in the society, such as bad company, various stressors may cause an individual to take part in drug abuse (Humphrey & Palmer, 2013). Drug abuse is an addictive practice in addition to it being harmful to the health of the users. Some types of drugs are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and prescription drugs. Sociologists and criminologists believe that excessive use of drug abuse comes from the responses given by society. Some people abuse drugs because they want to it in a group within society. Some of the people abuse drugs as a way of compensating a problem that they are facing in society. For instance, people with self-esteem tend to take part in drug abuse as a way of fitting into society. Some people may also abuse drugs because of the misleading information that they get from society (Knopf, 2015).
Lakhanpal & Agnihotri (2007) notes the fact that drug abuse has crossed the national, ethnic, religious, and gender lines. Gone are the days when drug abuse could be associated with a lack of religion. A good number of children from both the poor and the affluent families take part in drug abuse, meaning that it is a problem that affects all the social classes in society. All the ethnicities in the world have people who are addicted to drugs. All religions also have a good number of drug addicts even though they have been allowed to live holy lives and to live lives that are not risky. One cannot also blame a given gender for the problem of drug abuse, meaning that it is a challenge that all the people in the society are supposed to deal with for the benefit of the people in the society.
Why I disagree with the
According to Robert K. Merton, “deviance occurs when a society does not give all its members equal ability to achieve socially acceptable goals.” I disagree with the theory because it is not true from the observation point of view. Merton tends to put all the blame on the society when the people display deviant behaviors when some of them take part in those behaviors on their own volition. For instance, we have observed some religious and privileged people turning into drug addicts even though the society has given them the necessary support to ensure that they are living comfortable lives. It is therefore essential to apply several methods when it comes to dealing with various challenges in society.
Akers, R. L. (2017). Social structure and social learning in crime and deviance. Social Learning and Social Structure, 322-372. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315129587-12
Humphrey, J., & Palmer, S. (2013). Deviant behavior: Patterns, sources, and control. Springer Science & Business Media.
Knopf, A. (2015). Voices from the Rx drug abuse summit. Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 27(15), 3-5. https://doi.org/10.1002/adaw.30150
Lakhanpal, P., & Agnihotri, A. K. (2007). Drug abuse an international problem: A short review with special reference to the African continent. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine &Toxicology, 1(1), 3-12
.Shafiee, S. A., Razaghi, E., & Vedadhir, A. A. (2019). A multi-level approach to theories of addiction: A critical review. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.5812/ijpbs.88881