Term Paper: Juvenile Deviance on the Streets and in Schools

Pages: 3 (896 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper

Sociology of Deviant Behavior

Violence, Deviant Behavior, Labeling and Conflict Theories in "Code of the Street" by Elijah Anderson

In the study of human society, people as social actors are analyzed based on their interactions with each other. Furthermore, it is through an analysis of people's interactions that social norms and rules are formulated -- that is, beliefs, behavior, and actions that are further reinforced and collectively followed by the members of the society.

Despite the establishment of these social norms and rules, there are still individuals who do not conform, or "deviate," from the established norms and rules in the society. Schaefer (1998) identifies deviance as a "behavior that violates the standards of conduct and/or expectations of a group or society" (160). Directly linked with the study of deviant behavior is the concept of social control, which regulates human behavior within society. Thus, deviance may include some form of social control in order to inculcate in society that deviant behavior are undesirable for the society. Social control may be formal or informal, wherein the former imposes a legal procedure, such as imprisonment, or simply, by making the individual an "outsider," isolated from his/her society and not welcomed to interact with other people.

In this paper, the researcher discusses and analyzes the occurrence of deviant behavior in the context of 'life on the street' or street life. Street life are predominated by people who live in "poor inner-city neighborhoods," which Elijah Anderson (1999) studies in his book, "Code of the Street." Applying the basic concepts associated in the study of the sociology of deviant behavior, this paper argues that Andersons' analysis of street life in "Code of the Street" puts into context the labeling theory of deviant behavior, wherein people's attitudes and behavior are associated with the "labels" that other people associate or give them as deviants in the society. In the texts that follow, this issue is discussed extensively, with references to both Schaefer and Anderson's discussions on deviant behavior.

In his book, Anderson identifies "code of the street" as the establishment of 'norms' among deviants -- that is, the cultivation of "indecent ways" that are actually a set of informal rules followed by street families and people, especially among the youth. Early on in the book, the author makes it clear that people adopt various "degrees of alienation," where people can identify them as such. Thus, street life may include the extreme form of alienation through the "criminal element(s)," people who are isolated and socially controlled by society through imprisonment (35). However, there are those street people who maintain two identities: the first identity is able to adapt to the normative view of the society, while… [END OF PREVIEW]

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