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Positivist and Constructionist Theories

Positivism aims to explain the reasons why people engage in deviant behaviors scientifically using a cause-and-effect model. Therefore, the central area of concern for positivist lies in the deviant act itself. On the other hand, constructionism mainly concentrates on the reasons why a particular behavior became regarded as abnormal in society by analyzing their beliefs and the context in question (Goode, 2016). However, while both positivist and constructionist theories offer definitions of deviant behavior, they provide significantly different perspectives of its presence and causes in society.

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Since the positivist theory relies on examining the reasons for people to commit a particular crime, it puts little consideration in questioning the nature of the accusations. For instance, revisiting false allegations against people can determine its basis, either on truth or lies, can provide answers to pending questions on their validity (Goode, 2016). Furthermore, this approach also requires the existence of a crime because explanations offered in such cases require their enactment by an individual. As a result, constructionists view the positivist approach as flawed due to its lack of focus on essential issues of social dynamics.

The positivist theory, however, believes that research on deviant behavior and crime requires scientific methods of study. With this approach, it tends to search for naturalistic explanations of different human behavioral phenomena (Goode, 2016). Therefore, it ensures that factors under study adhere to the cause-and-effect action since everything exists for a reason. Positivists thus rely on observable features to explain the factors that influence behavior in human beings.

Given the above descriptions, the constructionist theory provides an appealing explanation because it focuses on understanding the underlying social structures that define acceptable behaviors. Consequently, while both positivist and constructionist approaches explain deviant behavior, they have significantly different perspectives on its origins in society. Constructionism mainly tries to determine the reasons and context in which a particular behavior becomes deviant. On the other hand, positivist approaches rely on why an individual engages in specific unwanted behavior. Both theories, therefore, deviate when explaining the presence and causes of deviant behaviors and crime in society.

Reference

Goode, E. (2016). Deviant behavior (11th ed.). Routledge.

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