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A Technique of Neutralization

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Primary deviance is deviance with little or no condemnation from others, in other words this form of deviance has very little consequence. Secondary deviance is just the opposite. Secondary deviance is a deviance with a negative social label. Techniques of neutralization are things we use to try to neutralize deviances. A technique of neutralization that I applied to my own life experience was normalization. Normalization is almost like following the crowd. Normalization is the act of creating a norm that is similar to the standards of life or standards of a group.

A few years ago, one of my friends and I went off campus to get some lunch. We had seen other students doing the same and said "if they are doing it, so can we". For the reason that others were also going off campus, we felt it was ok for us to go also because it was a normal behavior from the students' point of view. When we got back, one of the deans had seen us and escorted us to the dean's office with a few other students. While in the dean's office, we were informed that we were suspended for three days; at this point, the deans were giving me a negative social label. Even though I was suspended, I went back to school. On the second day, one of my teachers told me I had to go to the dean's office because I was not supposed to come to school. When I was sent to the dean's office, they sent me home. After my dad had found out, he called the school and they said I was not in trouble because of my grades. There was no longer a negative social label attached to me.

In order to defend ourselves, we told the dean we were not the only ones going off campus. Normalization was used to try to soften the consequence. This technique of neutralization did not work when we were trying to defend ourselves.

The deviance was primary because there was not a label attached to me at the end. When I first went to the dean's office, the people working in the office gave us a negative social label. They gave us a social label based on what we all did as a group and not as individuals. After my dad had called, they checked my records and said I was off the hook because of my grades and knowing I had never done anything wrong in the past. At the end, I no longer had a labeled attached to me for the reason that I was a good student and that I was judged as an individual, not as a group.



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