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THE NATURE AND CONSEQUENCE OF LABELING DEVIANT IN NIGERIA

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THE NATURE AND CONSEQUENCE OF LABELING DEVIANT IN NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

The aim of the article is to provide a theoretical nexus between social values, deviance and security in Nigeria. In Nigeria today, society at large is threatened by deviance, crime, conflict and violence which are violations of societal values and norms of security and welfare of the citizenry. People now show an increased interest in personal well-being and a decreased interest in the welfare of others. Citizens are not safe and secure on the streets, in their homes and offices. The paper posits that there should be a renewed awareness regarding social values and norms of security and welfare of the citizenry as taking precedence over all other subjects. Societal values and norms, and security and welfare of all citizens must be articulated. The paper challenges the collective lethargy of the state and the citizenry about societal values, norms and security, and effective measures to protect the rights to living and well being of all members of society, and so maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background of the study

The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999). But in Nigeria today the state and citizens are subjected to violations of core values and norms, and exposed to danger even by the very governments that are maintained with their taxes. The problem of security is more disturbing because government functions have been personalized by the ruling class, and national interest and security of the nation have been equated with interest of the privileged class and elites. It is common knowledge that the security organizations have distorted views of their constitutional roles, their commitment to the people of this nation, and their tendencies to be part and parcel of different regimes’ illegalities, oppression, exploitation and extortion of the common citizens (Imobighe, 2003). Deviance or crime is concerned with the process whereby values, beliefs, norms, actions or conditions come to be viewed as deviant or criminal by others. Deviance and crime can be observed by the negative, stigmatizing social reaction of others towards these violations. Criminality, corruption, conflict, cultism, violence and terrorism, and all illegalities, oppression, exploitation and extortion of the common man, can be deviant behaviours. The issue of power cannot be divorced from a definition of deviance or crime because some groups in society can deviantize or criminalize the actions of another group by using their influence on legislations (Goode, 2004). Psychopaths and sociopaths are some of the favourite “deviants” in contemporary popular culture. From Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, to Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, to Dexter Morgan in Dexter, to Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock and Elementary, the figure of the dangerous individual who lives among us provides a fascinating fictional figure. Psychopathy and sociopathy both refer to personality disorders that involve anti-social behaviour, diminished empathy, and lack of inhibitions. In clinical analysis, these analytical categories should be distinguished from psychosis, which is a condition involving a debilitating break with reality. Psychopaths and sociopaths are often able to manage their condition and pass as “normal” citizens, although their capacity for manipulation and cruelty can have devastating consequences for people around them. The term psychopathy is often used to emphasize that the source of the disorder is internal, based on psychological, biological, or genetic factors, whereas sociopathy is used to emphasize predominant social factors in the disorder: the social or familial sources of its development and the inability to be social or abide by societal rules (Hare 1999). In this sense sociopathy would be the sociological disease par excellence. It entails an incapacity for companionship (socius), yet many accounts of sociopaths describe them as being charming, attractively confident, and outgoing (Hare 1999).

Society is made up of individuals who share common culture, and occupy a particular geographical area, (Zanden, 1996). Notwithstanding the fact that, socialization process is a powerful mechanism, that shapes the behavior of people of, and living in the same society, the distinctive, and unique nature of human personality, make individuals from the same society to behave differently. As a result, some members of one, and the same society conform to the expected patterns of behavior, as dictated by culture of that society whereas, others deviate. Deviation from norms, and rules is what is referred to as deviance, and crime respectively. Conventionally, societies do not allow deviation, and crime unchecked. They do reward comformity for re- enforcement purposes, and condemn deviation for deterrence, and corrective reasons. According to Clinard and Meier, (1998), The notion of deviance is connected to that of social control, possibly because an act that violates a group’s norm is usually followed by the group’s reaction or sanction in a negative form.Chukwukere, (undated), argued that, as long as human society comprises individuals, and the relationship between these individuals components is generally guided by cultural norms and rules of behavior, and as long as the cultural norms are never observed by all the people involved in the society, culture must take deep interest in the diverse processes of social control. Chukwukere’s argument is cogent, taking into cognizance the constituted interplay between society and culture and the influence of the culture via socialization especially, culture’s tendency to impose social sanctions, by rewarding conformity, and punishing deviance.Tanimu, (2003),maintained the ubiquitous nature of deviance. Thus, it becomes an illusion to anticipate comformity by all members of the society. Having such a conception renders the universal nature of deviance questionable. Decades ago, Durkheim, acknowledged the impossibility of deviance or crime free society, especially in periods of rapid social change, or in his jargon, anomie. Consequently, he suggested a collectiveresponse to deviance – social control– toensure moral bound to boundless desires of individuals. Absence of crime or deviance, implies social solidarity, as there is complete consensus over norms and values. For Durkheim, though, this situation is not only impossible to achieve, but the very idea is not congruent with the values placed on individualism in a modern society.Thus, Durkheimasserted that the existence of crime is unavoidable, and as Roshier, pointed out, responses to it must be collective. In the specific case discussed by Erikson, it could be asserted that the deviance of the dissenting group was not a necessary precondition for the acceptance of the new moral boundaries. If no split had occurred, then expectedly,the moral boundaries would have been universally agreed upon, anyway.It should be noted that, deviance, crime, and social control or social sanctions are key areas of criminological enterprise.As Jock Young [1998:451] aptly opined, criminology in general has much to offer to social science: Many of us were attracted to the discipline [criminology] because of its theoretical verve, because of the centrality of the study of disorder to understanding society, because of the flair of its practitioners and the tremendous human interest of the subject. many of the major debates in the social sciences in the 1960s and 1970s focused quite naturally around deviance and social control (quoted in Bell, 2010:157). Similarly, Tierney (2010:1) shared the same view with Young by opening his introductory remark with the following argument: Since the late 1960s the area of study broadly described as criminology hasexpanded enormously in Britain. Nowadays all sorts of writers, researchers andteachers make many and varied contributions to issues of crime and social control,and represent various political and theoretical positions. This paperdiscusses social control, its genesis, typology, and some of its theoretical explanations. Much of the work has been adapted from Clinard and Meier’s, (1998), Sociology of Deviant Behavior, but other literature has beenreviewed to enrich the paper with adequate insight into the subject of social control, and related concepts

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The social understanding of the study of deviance and crime examine cultural norms; how they change over time, how they are enforced, and what happens to individuals and societies when norms are broken. Deviance and social norms vary among societies, communities, and times, and often sociologists are interested in why these differences exist and how these differences impact the individuals and groups in those areas. What is deviant to one group may not be considered deviant to another. Sociologists define deviance as behaviour that is recognized as violating expected rules and norms. It is simply more than nonconformity, however; it is behaviour that departs significantly from social expectations. Sociologists stress social context, deviance is looked at in terms of group processes, definitions, and judgments and not just as unusual individual acts. Furthermore, they recognize that established rules and norms are socially created, not just morally decided or individually imposed. It is in view of the above that the researcher intend to explore the nature and consequences of labeling deviant in Nigeria.

1.3      OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to investigate the nature and consequences of labeling deviant in Nigeria. But to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intend to achieve the following specific objectives;

i)  To ascertain the consequence of labeling deviant in Nigeria.

ii)  To evaluate the social consequences and implication of lebeling deviant in Nigeria.

iii)  To examine the relationship between Social Values, Deviance and Security in Nigeria.

iv)  To examine the implication of labeling deviant in Nigeria society

1.4      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researchers.

H0:  There is no significant relationship between Social Values, Deviance and Security in Nigeria.

H1: There is a significant relationship between Social Values, Deviance and Security in Nigeria.

H0: There is no significant implication of labeling deviant in Nigeria society

H2: There is a significant implication of labeling deviant in Nigeria society

1.5   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to security management agency as the study seek to explore the consequence of labeling deviant in Nigerian society, as the study intend to give insight into the psychological implication of labeling deviant. The study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further research. Finally, the study will be of importance to students, teachers, lecturers, academia and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter and also contribute to knowledge.

1.6  SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the nature and consequence of labeling deviant in Nigeria. But in the cause of the study, there were some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study 

TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

Finance: Limited Access to the required finance makes it difficult to broaden the scope of the study;

1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Deviant: In sociology, deviance describes an action or behavior that violates social norms, including a formally enacted rule, as well as informal violations of social norms

Behavior: Behavior  is the range of actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with themselves or their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the (inanimate) physical environment.

Labeling: Labelling or labeling is describing someone or something in a word or short phrase. For example, describing someone who has broken a law as a criminal. Labelling theory is a theory in sociology which ascribes labelling of people to control and identification of deviant behavior.

Labeling deviant: In sociology, labeling theory is the view of deviance according to which being labeled as a "deviant" leads a person to engage in deviant behavior. Originating in Howard Becker's work in the 1960s, labeling theory explains why people's behavior clashes with social norms.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows; Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

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