“Abnormality Is Very Difficult to Define. It Can Be Hard to Decide Where Normal Behaviour Ends and Abnormal Behaviour Begins.” Discuss 2 or More Definitions of Abnormality. Essay

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“Abnormality is very difficult to define. It can be hard to decide where normal behaviour ends and abnormal behaviour begins.” Discuss 2 or more definitions of abnormality. The first one is deviation from social norms which means a person’s thinking or behaviour goes against what is expected and acceptable behaviour in the present social group. This may be by being unnecessarily rude to another to another who hasn’t wronged you or by making others feel threatened or uncomfortable. This also extends to the unwritten rules of everyday life, like to walk around with no shoes on at work/school, as this is expected of you but isn’t written in any rulebook. However, you must consider the degree to which the norm is violated and therefore the value of breaking that social norm and what affects it has on the social group. An evaluation of this definition would be to consider the subjectivity of the matter; every person will think different actions are ‘abnormal’ that another will not. There is also over or under-inclusivity to consider and to whom these definitions should extend to. Also, we need to consider cultural relativity, which means that certain actions may be accepted in some cultures but not all, like Western cultures are different to Eastern. For deviation from social norms, there is always the chance of social norms changing between cultures and over time, this means that people’s conceptions of abnormality will also change as both those factors affect how humans see the world. For example, in 1973, homosexuality was regarded as a sexual illness but nowadays, it is not as discriminated against, even if some people consider it wrong, the vast majority accept it. Also, the classification of abnormality can only be based on the context in which the behaviour occurs, as in the difference between changing in a bathroom and changing in the classroom.

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