Social Deviance Theory
Social Deviance Theory can be broken down into five sub components, which generate further theories that can be used in order to explain Juvenile crime. Depending upon the nature of the crime it is possible to select different theoretical approaches. Social deviance is defined as a behavioral condition that acts against the considered 'norms' of society. The concept is an important part of a criminal investigation as it helps to explain the behaviour and cause that resulted in the juvenile crime. Where a child deviates from normal behaviour, if this is left untreated it can progress into more serious behaviour in adulthood.
Robert Merton described five types of deviant behaviour and associated these with different cultural goals and institutional types.
Conformists - Those that work within the parameters of society and accept the goals by endeavor and hard work. Mostly middle class people. Innovators - Those who accept the goals of society but not necessarily the conventional means of achieving them. These people are often more creative types. Ritualists – Those that reject the goals of society but do accept institutionalism. They still essentially agree to the norms within society. These people are often found in dead end jobs or in jobs where they cannot achieve anything. Retreatists – These people reject society's goals and the conventional wisdom of working within the legal framework. Essentially rebels who wish to replace the normal conventions of society. These are often anarchists and gangs of juvenile delinquents.
It was Piaget who suggested that children enter the concrete operational stage of development at around 7 years of age. As such children enter a more substantive degree of logic and reasoning over objects and events. At age 11, they reach the fourth stage of cognitive development and a formal operational stage commences. He identified four key stages of learning: 1) Sensorimotor stage – birth to 2 years of age 2) Preoperational Stage – age 2-7 3) Concrete operations – age 7-11 and 4) Formal operations – age 11 to 15. Piaget signified the importance of developing a curriculum to assist in the education of children and teachers need to be fully aware and take into consideration environmental factors in consideration of learning. Although his theory was criticised Piaget was one of the founding theorists in cognitive development and his contribution was considerable. (Shaffer, R. 2009)
Piaget was a cognitive constructionist whereas Vygotsky was considered to be a social constructionist. Vygotsky's theory was considered to be more flexible and adaptable to the teaching of adolescents because it was not hampered by being in fixed sequential stages, as was Piaget's theory. (Smith, P.K. 2002). The two psychologists were instrumental in putting forward two important theories of cognitive learning and sociocultural development.