Brothel Analysis Assignment
The social deviance theory chosen is the Anomie theory which is at times called the strain theory. The term anomie may refer to a situation in which the cultural norms break down due to rapid change. This theory was addressed by Robert Merton to demonstrate that social deviance results due to lack of fit between the cultures norms in regard to the constitution of life goals.
According to Robert Merton, distribution of deviance behavior across groups defined by race, ethnicity and class is as a result of anomie. The term anomie refers to the confusion that results when social norms conflict or do not even exist. For the anomie theory to serve as an explanation for deviance, individuals should achieve success through means that are not culturally approved. For instance ambition and hard work in school and the economic marketplace are the cultural approved means of achieving success. However, there is an element of admiration for a rogue who breaks the rules and achieves success through deviance means. The other characteristic of the anomie theory is that success is mostly rated more highly compared to virtue.
Laying greater emphasis on success goals compared to the approved means of achieving the goals defines the anomie theory of deviance. Moreover, the theory also applies when individuals within a given society emphasizes on a similar kind of success for everyone regardless of ethnic, race and class stratification. Due to this fact, there is limitation of success opportunities to the less privileged groups in the societies. It is worth noting that the anomie theory is characterized by innovators. These are individuals who break the rules with the aim of achieving success goals that are highly promoted in the society. Innovators are mostly found at the lower levels of social stratification systems.
These systems are characterized by deviance behavior as a means of achieving success.Brothel prostitution can be clearly explained using the anomie social deviance theory. It is evident that the key priority of the brothel prostitutes is to achieve monetary success. Hence they will use any available opportunity to achieve this goal. They do not care where the opportunity utilized is morally right or not. Brothels are allowed in countries with small populations. This conforms to one of the characteristics of the anomie theory, which applies within a small group of individuals within a society. Countries will small populations utilize each and every available means in order to achieve financial goals or success. Legalization of prostitution is brothels are one way through a small population can achieve financial or monetary success.
More often these countries give less priority to the morality of the means of achieving success goals (Albert, 2002).Albert says that she wanted to know the people who dared to stand out so visibly despite being ignored by the entire passerby as if they were pariahs (Albert, 2002). It is therefore evident that the brothel prostitutes were individuals who were lowly regarded and unacceptable in the society. The key goal of these prostitutes was to make money and hence attaining monetary success. Albert further emphasizes that the Nevada prostituted need to be neither condemned nor pitied (Albert, 2002). Instead, they should be well understood and appreciated. The mustang ranch is an area that was highly stigmatized by the society. This means that people within the ranch belonged to a low societal stratification system.
These people were less privileged and had limited success opportunities. The innovators of the anomie theory often found at lower levels of social stratification system. Hence, the brothel prostitutes may be regarded as innovators of the anomie theory.Nevada is a state that rates success more highly compared to virtue. The state is famous for embracing vices that are shunned elsewhere. Prostitution is one of the vices that has become a legitimate and big business. The state has been reaping high economic benefits from different brothel-related revenue resources. Though prostitution is considered a taboo topic by majority of the segments in the population, it is evident that the activity has contributed a lot to the stateâ€™s economy.Mertonâ€™s analysis of the anomie theory of deviance does not focus at the individual level.
Instead, the analysis is aimed at explaining deviance at the level of societies and groups. In her book, Mustang ranch, Albert does not study an individual prostitute but a group of prostitutes in a brothel. Hence, the anomie perfectly applies in the case of brothel prostitutes in Mustang ranch. Albert lives with the prostitutes and defines their way of life and what drives them into doing the activity that is unaccepted in the society. She clearly depicts that the main reason why the individuals engage in prostitution is due to the fact that they need to attain financial freedom (Albert, 2002). These individuals need to make money in order to survive. They are oblivious of the fact that prostitution is a vice that is against societal norms.
Attaining wealth is a key goal of Americans but not all Americans have the means to attain wealth, especially members of the minority group. Albert clearly depicts Nevada State to consist of a minority group. Hence, the state is less privileged and predisposed to fewer opportunities for achieving success goals. Due to the few opportunities, prostitution is legalized in order to enable the minority group meet the financial or economic goals. Prostitutes in the mustang ranch therefore experience anomie since it seems the road to attaining success has been closed to them (Albert, 2002).
To prove that legalization of prostitution is aimed at increasing opportunities for the less privileged, Nevada residents support laws allowing licensed brothels in the rural areas but oppose legalization of prostitution in urban areas such as Las Vegas. Rural areas are less privileged compared to urban areas. Hence, the rural population decides to legalize prostitution as a means of achieving wealth In order to match up to the standards of the urban population. Hence, the conditions of Mustang ranch are the main contributor of legalization of brothel prostitution. The key conditions are those of financial strains and limited job opportunities (Albert, 2002).
Albert examines the life of prostitutes in the Mustang ranch and it is evident that the conditions of the place are the driving force to prostitution. The anomie theory clearly explains social deviance in Mustang ranch since it is a result of the confusion due to conflicts of social norms. The book enables a reader to understand the reason behind brothel prostitution and have a changed perspective towards them. Though prostitution is a socially unaccepted, some conditions may drive individuals into doing the vice. One of the reasons is the desire to achieve the success goals that are highly regarded in the society.
Albert, A. (2002) Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women. Random House Publishing
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