Deviation is about breaking rules, searching for the factors in individual’s personality and situations in life that accounts for infractions. Individuals are treated and labeled in many ways when they tend to believe in individualism. Self-identity and people’s behavior greatly influence how they will be treated by society members. Individualism is characterized by a self-fulfilling prophecy and they are many stereotypes that accompany deviance. The labeling theory explains how self-identity shapes the way that a person will be treated; it states that deviation is rejected and those who hold on are avoided by the society. Stigmatization therefore occurs and it can harm the self-concept of a person.
People are labeled in line with the views and opinions that are characterized by their behavior. This makes individual aware of how others thinks about them. In interacting with others, an Individualistic character will be rejected and looked down upon as his behaviors are so negative that he will always receive a warm reception. The labeling theory looks into how our roles can define our lives in to an extent in which the self-image of an individual is affected. When an individual acts differently from the rest, he experiences social stigma since his actions are treated as a deviant behavior (Robert 68). Deviation might not be wrong but it can be well described as a behavior that is greatly condemned by the members of the society. When people are given labels, they change their own perceptions and the way they relate with the society is built on certain beliefs and misconceptions.
Becker writes, "social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction creates deviance.” (Simon & Gagnon 55)This shows how the people who act differently may be considered as outsiders. People who are only interested in their own well-being do not share information with others. They live in their own world and do not have a chain of friends. They are so mean in a way that helping others remains a dream that is not to be fulfilled. If one is very personal in his issues, he will be avoided by others and wherever he goes, many will openly avoid crossing his ways. The individual is so selfish in a way that he only considerate to things that will serve a purpose of boosting the chances of prosperity.
Human behavior is primarily governed by self-interest. Humans seek to dominate and ensure survival. In the pursuit of self-interest, conflicts, criminality and deception do occur. Individualists are perceived to be so interested in self-achievement rather than the success of the entire community (Elliott, 19). The society considers individualists to be deceptive, criminals and a major source of conflict that derails societal progress. It is not uncommon for the society to perceive such individuals as outcasts. Individualists face discrimination due to the fact that a large portion of the society is against their dogma (Oppenheimer 117).
Deviating from collectivism makes an individual to be considered as a great violator of basic human rights. Individualists are considered to be against the life and welfare of other social beings and have the potential to compromise their existence. For instance, they are perceived to create a stiff competition in the economic arena. They threaten the existence of the disadvantaged members of the society by striving to reap maximum benefit out of them (Baxter, 91).
Individualism is seen by some as a cultural aberration which is unsuited with fully satisfying interpersonal relationships. Individualists are seen as the main propagators of the self-dependence and violators of the social interdependence principle. The sense of what the society considers to be love is not in them. To the society, individualists are a group of people who cannot maintain a romantic relationship as their main interest is to benefit themselves rather than the partner and society at large (Elliott, 121). Individualists are therefore seen as the ones who make most marriages not last and in that way contravene the social norms or societal values and should therefore be removed from the society as they are a big social misfit.
Anyone who deviates from the collectivism culture and starts embracing individuality is seen as a selfish individual who is up to profiting themselves at the expense of the society (Baxter, 138). Society believes that such people unnecessarily exploit people weakening them economically. Due to individualism, most people find it hard to survive and in most cases engage in unethical activities so as to survive the stiff competition in the social, political and economic zones (Oppenheimer 87). This contributes to moral degeneration. In this way, an individual is dubbed as a great enemy to the society and the society may consider annihilating them. The entire society may therefore stand against an individual and this may make life very abrasive for the individual. The main aim of the society is to overcome the obstacle that they contemplate to be a cause of society retrogression and welfare degeneration.
Baxter, Garrett. Individualism. Norfolk, Va.: Economic Press, 1999. Print.
Elliott, Anthony, and Charles C. Lemert. The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Oppenheimer, Louis. "Perception of individualism and collectivism in Dutch society: A developmental approach." International Journal of Behavioral Development 2 (2004): n. pag. Print.
Simon, W. and J. H. Gagnon. 1967. "Homosexuality: The Formulation of a Psychological Perspective." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 8 September, p. 179.
Bellah, Robert N. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. Print