Essay on The And Deviance From Social Expectations

1700 Words Mar 18th, 2016 7 Pages
From the things as personal as our religious practices, to our public workplaces, our lives revolve around the beliefs and norms that are imposed on us without our knowledge. French Sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1964), explains that the vast majority of our thoughts and behaviors are not actually our own. In reality, the ways in which we “choose” to live our lives are actually dependent on societal conventions. Thus, conformity to and deviance from social expectations are the result of one’s desire to prove their humanity. People who conform do so in order to be perceived as “normal” because normality is seen as sign of humanity. On the other hand, people who deviate from the norm do so when they feel as though they are being dehumanized because their values, morals, or beliefs conflict with the rules of their society. Thus, individuals deviate in order to prove that their different belief systems are also valid. In the chapter, “What Does it Mean to be Human,” from the book Ten Questions: A Sociological Perspective, Joel Charon describes the characteristics that define human beings. According to Charon(1998), as human beings we are defined by our social and cultural nature. In other words, every aspect of our identity is shaped by our social interactions with the people around us (i.e. parents, teachers, religious leaders, media) and the culture that we all share. What is more, our socialization and social life are dependent on culture because culture separates people into…

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