Different Crimes And Social DeviencesIn the nineties the world and society has been faced with many different crimes and
social deviancies, most of which have been as a result of rebellion and a form of
expression. Whether it is to force a change or to create something new deviance is at a
strong high. At the dawn of a new millenium some of society feel the need to express
themselves in proscriptive norms and “leave our mark” on the world.
The words “deviance” and “crime” are two words often mistaken for each other.
Crime is a unlawful activity while deviance is a behavior that is different from that of the
accepted social or moral standards. Deviance most of the time is the “gateway” to crime.
A strong example of this would be the recent exploits at the Woodstock 99 music festival.
In the September 2nd issue of Rolling Stone magazine the author Kurt Loder writes about
the transgression that takes place when the music festival turns sour. He writes about how
amid the music and peaceful motto of the festival some individuals feel the need to be
malicious and irregular. He goes on to tell that when the band Limp Bizkit performed the
song “Break Stuff” the violence took place. There was an “unending blizzard of empty
plastic water bottles sailing through the air and bouncing off skulls further down front,
across the field people were ripping up the plywood barriers…and launching big, splintery
crowd-surfing boards atop a sea of upsteached hands…The bonfires roaring out of control,
the looting, the explosions, the whole stupid riot. Festival security, such as it was,
collapsed in the face of this sudden war-zone situation.” There was also accounts of
different and unusual sexual activities. Kurt’s interpretation was like most others. This day
that was supposed to be a social gathering in a peaceful atmosphere turned into a battle
field of abnormal demeanor and a place abundant in deviant behavior.
The events that took place are a perfect example of crime and deviance. The
actions that were performed were both unlawful and abnormal. The conflict perspective of
sociology states that groups in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for
control or resources. The Woodstock events can share a similarity with this perspective.
The riots and turmoil were due in part to unsanitary conditions and high prices on
necessary items. The bathrooms at the festival were left uncleaned, the sleeping conditions
were horrible and the prices for water were inhumanely high. This is the conclusion that
was made to the reason for the riots and destruction. Though not a reason for violence the
actions were done as a message and as a retaliation for the obscure conditions. This was a
“struggle for control.”
The functionalist perspective was assumed by the organizers and security of
Woodstock. This was an assumption that the society was a stable, orderly system. The
people in charge of the event took for granted that the people attending were stable and
tame. As was evident the “society” at Woodstock did not share a common set of values
The sociologist Walter Reckless (1967) said that certain factors draw people to
deviance. He said that an individual may be persuaded by deviant subcultures, media
depictions and their own feelings of frustration, hostility and inferiority. This is clear in the
riots that took place. In the case many individuals were in an inhumane atmosphere and
became frustrated by what was going on and about not being able to change what was
happening. Many people felt trapped and inferior. Some people succumbed to deviant acts
by themselves and many followed the others in their hostility. Either way Walter Reckless’
theory of deviance was correct in this case.
Edwin Sutherland (1939) had a similar case in his differential association theory, he
says that “individuals have a greater tendency to deviate from societal norms when they
frequently associate with persons who are more favorable toward deviance than
conformity.” This is another theory that can be said as a reason for the Woodstock riots.
People who were normally not deviant were persuaded to a more deviant personality when
they were surrounded by the deviant individuals who were causing havoc around the
festival fields. They learned the “necessary techniques the motive, drives, rationalizations,
and attitudes of deviant people.”
There are many views on crime and deviance and many theories to why they occur.
The events that happened at Woodstock are among