Social Deviance: social control and deviance
Social Deviance : “A New Way to be Mad” an article overview.
This article has a quite unusual topic chosen for discussion. As the author himself states, this kind of “situation” is much more common than most would think. Simply put, some people feel “un-whole” or incomplete with all of their appendages attached from birth. The initial reaction would be to automatically classify these kinds of thinkers as crazy, or just plain ludicrous. However, the author, Carl Elliott, took a step past all of the labels and ridicules and tried to find out exactly what makes a person want to detach a birth-given body part.
The first thing he states is that there is an actual name for this kind of “disorder” (using the term loosely). In 1977, John Money, a psychologist from John Hopkins, published the first known case of this, something he labeled apotemnophilia. As stated in Elliot’s article, apotemnophilia is defined as an attraction to the idea of being an amputee. This is not to be confused with acrotomophilia, clarified Money, which is the sexual attraction to amputees.
In Elliot’s article, he speaks of people who wish to be amputees that claim apotemnophilia is much like gender-identity disorder. Just as some believe that they were born into the wrong biological skin, others believe that they are born with more limbs than they should have been. A considerable portion Elliot spoke to also make claim that their yearning to become amputees goes far back to their early childhood, usually before the age of six or seven. It is speculated that the desire to amputate a limb is a result of the image a person has of themselves.
It was proposed in the article that the desire to amputate a limb may be a transient illness, an illness that is specific to a particular time and place. Elliot refers to Ian Hacking, a philosopher and historian, who claims that these transient illnesses, such as the desire to be an amputee, is fueled by what he labels an “ecological niche.” The ecological niche is something that helps explain why a certain transient illness is able to flourish during a particular time period in a certain area, according to Hacking. “If the niche disappears, the mental illness disappears along with it” (Elliot 81). Specified situational elements provide a foundation for these kinds of illnesses to thrive.
The looping effect in question can be aligned with the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As Elliot puts it, “how a classification affects the thing being classified” is what he refers to when speaking of the looping effect. For example, if a person is certain that they are bipolar but have not sought professional assistance, it is possible that they will read up on how bipolar patients act. If they eventually seek out professional help they may consciously or subconsciously alter their behavior to fit within the guidelines matching those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, thus creating behavior that would be classified as such.
Affinity means that in order for a person to become deviant they must have some kind of attraction to it and eager to encounter it. Affiliation refers to the opportunity and exposure a person has to deviant behavior. For example, a person who steals a car craves a high level adrenaline rush that is provided (the affinity). But, in order to do so, one must have the knowledge and tools of the trade to commit such an act. If the car is without keys, one must know how to get inside if it is locked, how to start it, and have some idea of where to get rid of it (the affiliation). I suppose affiliation could also be referred to as illegitimate opportunity in some cases.
Those who wish to amputate a body part have an attraction to it, otherwise it probably wouldn’t even cross their minds. And for some, the reason why they have not yet become amputees could very well be because they have not had the opportunity, or creativity of some, to follow through with such an act. Most surgeons would not commend such a procedure without medical necessity. Those who have amputated a limb either themselves or with the help of another, sometimes a qualified surgeon, have had the opportunity to do so. The individual who created a homemade guillotine to become an amputee had the knowledge to create such a device. Another thought about using an oncoming train on the train tracks as a way to achieve her goal. Either way, these people needed affiliation with the kinds of methods that could be used as a means to an end.
See: social deviance , social deviance on the unborn, and social deviance life with the cult. social deviance