In sociological contexts, deviance describes behavior or actions violating social norms such as formally endorsed or informal violations (Inderbitzin, Kristin, and Randy 4). On the other hand, social control is a discipline in social sciences that involves external sanctions (296) that can be endorsed by the government or the society to prevent the development of anomie in the society. Building upon the documentary “The House I Live In,” the war on drugs is being presented from a Conflict Perspective of Deviance and Social Control in several ways. For instance, the illegalization of opium was based on social control of the Chinese. According to the documentary (56:00 – 56:30), when the Chinese came to America, they were hardworking and often seen as taking the jobs from the U.S. citizens. The politicians had to come together and find a way to eliminate the Chinese workforce, and the only way to achieve this was to make opium an illegal drug. The same was replicated with the Black American workforce as well as the Mexicans.
Historically, the approach to punishing drug users show that the drug policy is rarely focused on preventing harm, but a step-by-step way to eliminate certain groups of people. More specifically, the drug policies have been designed as a need by the government to control specific groups of people. The situation, as explained by Miller and others seems like the government has an excess population that has no jobs and because they cannot help them, the most appropriate way to do away with them is to lock them in prisons and cut them off the society (00: 54 – 1:39:00). The government moves these people from the areas where they can prosper and then make policies that are likely to implicate these people as criminals and then lock them away.
Agents of Socialization
Socialization is a never-ending learning process, where individuals learn about social expectations and the various ways to interact with people. Family, peers, school, and mass media are some of the most influential agents of socialization responsible for individual socialization in their childhood. Consistently, peers and mass media are the two specific agents of socialization that have influenced the way I perceive drug users. Peers have a significant amount of influence on individuals as they discuss topics and learn behavioral norms that parents would not approve. Some of the peers I have interacted with have had one or two friends or family members who are drug users. The interaction has helped shaped my perception of drug users as people who need help to reform their way and not as a group of unwanted individuals. The influence of the media on drug use is both subtle and distinct. The constant exposure to media images leaves impressions consciously or subconsciously, which influence the way people perceive drug users. To address this, the society should be accommodating to the drug users and try to help them instead of seeing them as outcasts. The media should also positively present the drug users, influence people to accept them and accommodate them as a way of helping them reform. Notably, the film provides important information about drug users, advocating for acceptance of drug users and coming up with better policies to help them reform instead of banishing them in prisons. In a way, the argument resonated with what I have been socialized to view drug users.
Glover, D., Legend, J., Pitt, B.., and Simmon, R. “The house I live in.” Youtube. 16 Oct 2016 Accessed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlPNRaXj2OQ&t=293sInderbitzin, M. L, Kristin, B., and Randy R. G. Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological Perspective. SAGE, 2013.
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