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Deviancy: the Prostitute Versus Society

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Deviancy: The Prostitute Versus Society
S Scott Atkinson
SOC3400 Social Deviance

Sociology in deviance explores the many facets of deviant behavior. Many people look at at deviant behavior from the aspect of the deviant. Exploration of the behavior can be explained through different theories that involve biological, culture, control, and feminist. There are also stages that a deviant personality will go through that explain the reasoning behind their actions and they are as follows:

Stage one is "Caught and publicly identified": people begin to question behavior and recognize traits identified as deviant as the persons life begins to change (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.248).

Stage two is "Retrospective interpretation": people begin to change their attitude towards the person and start to reflect on previous behaviors (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.248).

Stage three is "Spoiled identity": where news begins to spread and their reputation becomes tarnished (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.248).

Stage four is "The dynamics of exclusion": where people begin to exclude the individual from non-deviant activities with certain groups (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.248).

Stage five is "Include": the person may be invited into deviant groups and circles that support their behavior (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.248).

Stage six is "Treat differently" where people who previously treated the person in a positive treats that person in a negative way (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.249).

Stage seven is "Looking glass selves" where the person begins to look at themselves and their behavior and begins to accept the deviant label given to them (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.249).

Interestingly enough there is one link that ties all of this together and that is society. Societies roll in deviant behavior is the most crucial in the development of norms and the labeling of deviant behavior. It is human nature to judge and start off with negative thought. Unfortunately when people are approached with negativity first and not approached with positive thinking...the creation of an uphill battle is the deviants first hurdle. Most people are hard-wired to "do good and please others." It is when society sees something different in that person that sparks labeling and deviance begins.

Prostitution is a deviant behavior that not only has a label...but has a changing label throughout cultural differences. For example, prostitution is not illegal in all states. In some states prostitution is a career with health benefits and retirement. Prostitution has been around since Biblical times an as a matter of fact, there were 13 prostitutes in the Bible. Yet there seems to be many different views and opinions on the subject matter. Will prostitution be viewed differently in states where it is legal? What are the religious views about prostitution? How is the male prostitute thought of compared to the female prostitute? Is there a difference between a prostitute, escort, or treating a partner to a night out on the town in turn for a one night stand?

Sources for this exploration into deviancy and prostitutions will include Adler & Adler's construction of deviance specifically relating to part I sections 3-11 where we will discuss theories of deviancy and how they apply to prostitutions. Adler & Adler's Part V sections 23-31 where we will explore identity development and stigmatism related to prostitution and finally Adler & Adler's part VII deviant careers section 43-47 where we will gain an understanding of how people enter into this deviant lifestyle and deal with its ups and downs. Other sources will include Readings in Deviant behavior by Thio, Calhoun, and Conyers. Specific readings are related to The Globalization of Sex Tourism, Flawed Method and Studies in Prostitution, and Exotic Dancers: "Where am I going to Stop?" An interview will also be conducted with local pastoral care educators. The aforementioned resources will give us a better understanding of the societal thought processes on the subject of prostitution. Finally we will use two sources from the Capella University Resource Library and they will include...

History of women in the United States. historical articles on women's lives and activities / Volume 9, Prostitution (3-598-41463-3, 978-3-598-41463-3), Cott, Nancy F.
K.G.Saur, 2011. Prostitution, harm and gender inequality : theory, research and policy (1-4094-0545-1, 978-1-4094-0545-0), Coy, Maddy.
Ashgate, 2011. Prostitution policy : revolutionizing practice through a gendered perspective (0-8147-4763-9, 978-0-8147-4763-6), Kuo, Lenore.
New York University Press, 2002. With these resources we will begin to discuss the history of prostitution and discover lives of woman who where involved in prostitution. This will give us an understanding of how and why people venture into this behavior. Prostitution is not female dominated but we will explore why there is a female domination of this behavior and take a look at the male prostitute and the opinions that surround it.

Conflict theory from the subcultural theorists view will be applied. The subcultural theorist applies conflict theory to conduct of norms in a cultural setting. It also investigates the crossover of norms from one group to another. Prostitution...being legal in some states and not others will apply to the subcultural theorists beliefs.

The control theory assumes that the existence of a common value system within the society or group whose norms are being violated is self explanatory (Adler & Adler, 2012, p.93)...but why does one violate his own value system. Exploration into prostitution and the control theory will give us an idea as to why people enter into this deviant behavior against their true beliefs.

In short, prostitution is considered a deviant behavior...but how is it viewed across genders, cultures, laws, and religion? How do these views change the norm and stigmatizms attached to prostitution?

S Scott Atkinson


Adler, P. A., & Adler, P. (2012). Constructions of deviance: Social power, context, and interaction (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

Cot, Nancy F. , Saur, K.G., (2011). History of women in the United States. historical articles on women's lives and activities / Volume 9, Prostitution (3-598-41463-3, 978-3-598-41463-3), Coy, Maddy, Ashgate, (2011). Prostitution, harm and gender inequality : theory, research and policy (1-4094-0545-1, 978-1-4094-0545-0), Kuo, Lenore, (2002). Prostitution policy : revolutionizing practice through a gendered perspective (0-8147-4763-9, 978-0-8147-4763-6), New York University Press

Thio, A., Calhoun, T.C., Conyers, A,. (2010). Readings in deviant behavior (6th ed.). Boston, CA: Allyn & Bacon

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