Deviance - a Social Construct Defined by People with Power

Deviance - a Social Construct Defined by People with Power

  • Submitted By: anohs
  • Date Submitted: 02/20/2010 10:06 PM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 680
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 1

This summer photographer Zach Hyman grabbed headlines for having his models pose nude at various locations in New York City and on August 26, 2009 those actions resulted in an arrest. Model Kathleen Neill was posing nude for Zach Hyman in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) when she was spotted by a security guard and detained until police arrived then subsequently arrested for public lewdness. So was this arrest justified or is it an example of deviant behaviour? Deviance is subjective, so who is to say what is deviant? It is completely dependent on what perspective you view it from.

Deviance is a social construct that is defined by people with power. Herbert Blumer summarized Symbolic Interactionism as: “people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them; and these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation.” (Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method) Symbolic Interactionism is a micro-scale perspective so those who have a more liberal approach to life, or see themselves as having high-culture, might view these pictures as art while the general population or mass-culture might view this photography as pornographic. So if you were brought up in a strict Mormon religious background your views would be completely different than if you were raised by parents who were non-conformist with a more liberal perspective on the human body. The Mormon would see these pictures taken by Zach Hyman as scandalous or pornographic and the child who was raised as a non-conformist in a more liberal environment might view them as works or art. The dichotomy in viewing these pictures would be dependent on how the person was raised or socialized as a child.

Functionalism can be defined as: “the theory that all elements of a culture are functional in that they serve to satisfy culturally defined needs of the people in that society or requirements of the society as a whole” (Archaeological Glossary). From a...

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