Sociology Index

AMPLIFICATION OF DEVIANCE

Developed by Leslie Wilkens, the phrase 'Social Amplification of Deviance' is used more frequently in Britain. Deviance amplification refers to the unintended outcome of moral panics or social policies designed to prevent or reduce deviance or deviant behavior. Amplification of Deviance or 'deviancy amplification spiral' refers to an exagerated cycle of reporting on particular antisocial behavior.

In Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Stanley Cohen wrote that moral panics usually include a deviancy amplification spiral. Certain groups periodically become the focus of moral panics. They are labelled as being outside the central core values of our consensual society and as posing a particular threat to them. The groups investigated by Cohen were the Mods and Rockers. The 'central core values' which such groups transgress against are argued to be the norms and values which serve the interests of the dominant classes.

They are labelled as being outside the central core values of our consensual society and as posing a particular threat to them. The groups investigated by Cohen were the Mods and Rockers. The 'central core values' which such groups transgress against are argued to be the norms and values which serve the interests of the dominant classes. Typically, the attention given to deviance by the media and moral entrepreneurs serves to attract new recruits and provides them with a definition of what the public expects, thus amplifying the amount of deviance in society.

Because of such 'amplification of deviant behavior', insignificant problems gain significance and uncommon events begin to look common. Media keeps people motivated and informed on such events. The amplification of deviance spiral glamorizes and increases deviant behavior by making it acceptable.

Labeling the Labelers: A Quasi-Experiment Examining the Deviance Amplification Hypothesis at the Organizational-Level
Ward, Jeffrey - Paper presented at the annual meeting of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY
Abstract: The two main testable hypotheses of labeling theory, the “status characteristic hypothesis” and the amplification of deviance hypothesis, are derived from the conflict perspective and the symbolic interactionist tradition, respectively.

The Politics of Deviance and Terror - Lauderdale, Pat
What conditions lead someone to be defined as a terrorist versus a freedom fighter? The sociology of deviance also can be viewed as the study of stratification and social mobility, rather than only the shift of moral boundaries resulting in the amplification or creation of deviance. "Deviants" often struggle to overcome their positions at the bottom of a status hierarchy, and others attempt to shift the balance of power (Cummins, 1994).

African Delinquency as Social Amplification of Deviance
Revue internationale de criminologie et de police technique Volume: 35 Issue:2 
It finds labeling effects arising from inappropriately criminalized behaviors, from the discretionary practices of arrest and prosecution authorities, and the absence of diversion alternatives.

FORMAL PROCESSING AND FUTURE DELINQUENCY: DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION AS SELECTION ARTIFACT - DOUGLAS A. SMITH, RAYMOND PATERNOSTER - Law & Society Review, Vol. 24, 1990.
Labeling theory suggests that it does, arguing that formal processing by the juvenile justice system is part of a deviance amplification process that ultimately results in increased criminal/delinquent activity. A higher rate of future offending among those referred to court, often interpreted as evidence supporting the amplification of deviance argument, could be nothing more than a selection artifact. Approaches for testing the amplification of deviance argument against the alternative hypothesis of a selection artifact.
Limitations arise because being labeled may create barriers to legitimate employment or lead to social censure from conventional others. Described by Frank Tannenbaum as the "dramatization of evil," this process increases the likelihood that the labeled person will become more involved in and committed to a deviant line of activity than he or she was before the labeling experience.

Religiosity and Delinquency over Time: Deviance Deterrence and Deviance Amplification. - Peek, Charles W.; And Others - Religiosity deters self-reported delinquent conduct in a national panel of White high school males interviewed as sophomores, juniors, and seniors. However, decreases from high sophomore religiosity are associated with greater senior delinquency.

Cycles of Deviance: Structural Change, Moral Boundaries, and Drug Use, 1880-1990 - J E Hawdon
Sociological Spectrum Volume:16 Issue:2 Dated:(April-June 1996) Pages:183-207
How the amplification of deviance eventually ends, and explains how deviant behaviors sometimes become acceptable. Data supports the explanation that changing moral definitions and rates of behavior depend on demographic and economic changes in society. The two drug epidemics that occurred in the United States since 1880 occurred when structural change expanded pluralism.

African Delinquency as Social Amplification of Deviance - G Houchon
It finds labeling effects arising from inappropriately criminalized behaviors, from the discretionary practices of arrest and prosecution authorities. In the cultural milieu of African communities, judges should not be making disposition decisions regarding status offenders or status offence and other less serious forms of juvenile deviance.

Aggregation and amplification of marginal deviations in the social construction of personality and maladjustment - GIAN VITTORIO.
Some social maladjustment in children is understood from a new perspective focusing on the cyclical interaction between personality variables and social psychological processes in the development of risk mechanisms.