Deviance is the absence of accepting and obeying the policies set forth by a society, in which case, action is usually taken, often resulting in a consequence. Consequences are often acted in a lawful manner, if acted out at all. Having noted the description of deviance, the definitions of secondary and primary deviance can now be examined, later the importance of secondary deviance in comparison to primary deviance will be discussed.
Primary deviance is vaguely described as the first encounter of a deviant performing deviant behaviors. Primary deviance being the initial deviant actions carried out by someone, this deviant person considers their actions to be legitimate and authorized. Sykes and Matza proposed the theory of techniques of neutralization, which are “justifications of deviant behavior” (1957). Within the process of one committing an act of primary deviance, one drifts from social conformity to outlandish disobedient conduct. While doing so, the deviant risks the possibility of receiving minor penalties in a social manner. It is at this time that the deviant would begin to exploit the techniques of neutralization to justify the actions s/he has committed, interrupting any degradation that could be attributed to his/her self-image. For example, in the case of Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman, Zimmerman aged 28 shot Martin age 17 (Botello and Yan 2013). Martin was unarmed and Zimmerman told police that he had to defend himself. Stating that he had to ‘defend’ himself, was the use of neutralization, to protect his self-image. In Zimmermans mind, his actions were authorized and legitimate. With hopes of preventing social penalties he provided this explanation for carrying out the actions he committed.
Secondary deviance does not come into play until an individual’s identity begins to transform, “secondary deviance is the stage in which one internalizes a deviant identity by integrating it into their self-concept” (Encyclopedia). A deviant’s identity does not begin to change until repetitive primary deviance evokes reactions from the surrounding society. Becker states “deviance is interactive, not a quality that lies in behavior itself but in the interaction between the person who commits an act and those who responds to it” (1963). Society continually branding and stigmatizing an individual leads to the final stage of becoming a secondary deviant. Once labelled a deviant, one begins to be treated as one, it is this unremitting action, labelling, that outcasts a deviant. Once exiled s/he begins to pursue the everyday functions of a deviant. Lemert provided an explicit sequence leading up to the secondary deviant phase, the steps are as follows:
• Primary Deviation
• Social penalties
• Further primary deviation
• Stronger penalties and rejections
• Further deviation- causing resentment towards those doing the condemning
• Crisis point; stigmatizing begins
• Deviant conduct amplifies due to stigmatization
• Deviant accepts...