Reaction Paper: Emotionally Charged Concepts

Pages: 2 (821 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] "We are an eclectic bunch spanning every imaginable cross-section of society, and we battle an equally eclectic mix of obsessions and compulsions. Some of us obsess about contamination, others about hurting people, and still others about symmetry" (Bell 2008:1).

This deviance is not chosen, like a physical disease, but it can affect the individual's entire character from an early age, unlike being diagnosed with cancer or AIDS. Individuals with this psychological disorder (that may have its roots in a chemical imbalance or genetic tendency or a combination of both) are not necessarily 'unified' like members of other socially deviant categories who lobby to have their deviancy accepted. Instead, therapists try to treat OCD in a way that they hope changes the biological 'wiring' of the brain that contributes to OCD by slowly exposing suffers to different anxiety-fraught situations.

Regardless, OCD manifests itself in a way that will be read as socially deviant by observers. Some people with OCD in a restaurant will demand to examine the waiter's hands for scratches, in case the server's blood might contaminate their food, or have to rotate through several tables to find one that does not wobble (Bell 2008:1-2). These rituals, as they become increasingly difficult to replicate, can make living in 'normal' society increasingly difficult.

Thus some forms of deviance can be beneficial to the individual, like musical talent, or inconsequential, like sexual orientation, and are only a liability if society penalizes such traits. Even normalized traits, like drug use in some communities, can be a liability if the 'normal' person damages his or her body through such abuse. But for other deviant traits, like OCD, treatment rather than tolerance might be better for the sufferer and can enable people like Bell, in his words, to "take back his life" from the deviant disorder. With medication and therapy Bell can lead a more fulfilling existence that is not hemmed in by compulsions and rituals. In fact, one could argue that at its extreme the deviant behavior of OCD is itself intolerance of any deviance from a particular routine, and is an example of how tolerance and leaving one's personal and cultural comfort zone can be a positive experience.

Works Cited

Bell, Jeff. (6 Feb 2008). "When Anxiety is at the Table." The New York Times. Retrieved 6 Feb 2008 at

Henslin, James. (2005). Sociology: A… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Reaction Paper:

APA Format

Emotionally Charged Concepts.  (2008, February 6).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Emotionally Charged Concepts."  6 February 2008.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Emotionally Charged Concepts."  February 6, 2008.  Accessed July 19, 2019.