Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Deviance versus Defiance

Social normality and societal expectations are often a construct, created to control the behavior of individuals within a society, bearing different codes in different cultures. What is ethical code of conduct in one country may be unethical in another, and what is expected of us as members of the society is constraint within the social construct.

In a society where freedom of expression and speech is prevalent, the culture frequently breeds complacency and people demand their rights to information among other things. In a less privileged society, the culture breeds obedience and people conform to a kind of self regulation in adhering to pre-defined social norms. Neither of the two extremes is ideal, hence a balance is always sought.

Where freedom is restricted, people who question the authorities are often seen as deviants. Prolonged restrictions however beget defiance at every opportunity available, especially when a rule is in the gray. For example, when the news tell of a magazine or a book that is banned because of inappropriate content, citizens rushed to find ways to obtain the material so they can know what has been restricted or what is hot and juicy. Human behavior is such that the more one is told not to commit a wrong, the more likely the person will choose to defy, if not in front of authorities, will be committed underground.

This is simply the force of nature at work, where unlike poles attract and like poles repel. Many governing systems using authoritarian or socially responsible do not seem to realize that restrictions and constrains breed contempt and opposition, thus increasing defiance. People who defy are not totally to be blamed and variations from norms need not necessary become deviancy. All of us differ in opinions and each of us interprets things differently, yet not of our own, but of a framework within a constructed way of thinking, what is known as hegemony. While we choose to believe we are the ones making up our own minds on issues, we are in truth making decisions based on our upbringing, and our upbringing is based on the education we received, taught by the same people who construct the culture and beliefs.

There is in fact only a thin line differentiating deviancy and defiance, and the people of the new generation knows this very well. What parents and society think of children who disobey and do things their own way are a result of too much constrains and restrictions, and without freedom, people cracked under the yoke, resulting in defiance. This is essentially the state of the society today.