A study on the deviance in a person
- Developing a framework
- The stigmatic trend
- Supremacist or racist views
- Excerpt from Travis Hirschi's article
- Providing a social context
- Situation of a social deviant
- Data analysis and interviews
- The moral careers of women
According to sociologist Travis Hirschi in his article Control Theory of Delinquency, the act of deviating from the norms in a given society is caused mainly, not by the social structure, but by the deviant himself and the strength of his connection to that society. In this paper I will try to answer the question of whether this, while it may not be wholly responsible, has contributed to the identity of deviant held by Jon, a conservative Republican living in eastern Massachusetts. But a major question that I will also try to answer is whether Jon's deviance is the result of him deviating from the society he lives in, or the society around him deviating from what once was more of a norm, and that he has simply refused to change along with it.
Persons who have a particular stigma tend to have similar learning experiences regarding their plight, and similar changes in conception of self ? a similar ?moral career? that is both cause and effect of commitment to a similar sequence of personal adjustments (Goffman 32).
[...] In looking at the case of the deviant I interviewed, Jon, a conservative Republican living in the blue state of Massachusetts, I looked at some of these theories to try and get different perspectives of deviance like Jon's, and also to try and answer two questions: does Jon's distance from the rest of society make a significant contribution to his deviant identity, and is Jon a deviant, not because he actively changed into one, but because the society around him, and the norms in turn, changed and not him? [...]
[...] In order to be a deviant, you simply have to go against the norm, but Goffman seems to assume that the person actively becomes a deviant, changing their conception of themselves in order to contradict these norms, rather than the norms actively changing to go against the deviant. Kathleen Blee, whose article follows, estimates that there are fewer than 50,000 ?racist activists? in the United States, ?with as many as 200,000 sympathizers.? Moreover, these figures suggest sharp declines from the early twentieth century, when millions of Americans joined white supremacist organizations and a decline, too, from the 1980's, when their numbers were several times higher than what they are today (Goode, Vail 103). [...]
[...] According to a 2000 poll on that year's senatorial elections of those polled supported the Democratic candidate, Edward Kennedy, compared to only 18% supporting Republican candidate Jack Robinson, even though 12% of those polled considered Robinson to be very conservative, while 61% thought that he was ?somewhat conservative,? ?very liberal,? or somewhere in between. And going against this norm is Jon, who says that he has voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election since he first registered to vote. [...]