Deviance and Social Control Among Haredi Adolescent Males

Type of resource
Deviance and Social Control Among Haredi Adolescent Males
The ultra-Orthodox (haredi) Jewish community includes the Hasidim and Misnagdim who believe that they are the true followers of God's commandments, as He intended them to be followed when presented at Sinai, and as interpreted and codified by the Mishnah, Talmud, and other Rabbinic works. Little research has examined deviance within this group. The author delves into types and causes of deviant behaviors taking place among haredi adolescents. Theoretical definitions of deviance are examined as they relate to this community and its emphasis on religious observance. Ultimately, deviance is defined as matters that can distract the individual from expected levels of religious observance. The author also explores the environmental factors contributing to a rise in deviant behavior in segments of the Montreal ultra-Orthodox community. From an analysis of data obtained from numerous interviews with community members as well as with mental health professionals familiar with this group, the author finds that there are four contributing factors to the rise of deviant behavior among adolescent boys within this religious community. These factors test current haredi methods of maintaining strong cultural boundaries and may suggest that changes are necessary to cope with current challenges. The lure of mainstream culture is a strong draw for adolescents and advances in technology allow these individuals to easily engage in secret deviant behavior while remaining in good standing within the community. Moreover, the rigid structure of the school day with its long hours and intensive curriculum makes it difficult to accommodate the needs of all students. Changes in family structure, dynamics, and composition, as well as an increasingly stringent interpretation of religious law have also contributed to a rise in deviance. Finally, community financial weakness is explored as it relates to adolescence and a loss of religious identity.
Master's Thesis
McGill University
Levy, Jonathan. “Deviance and Social Control Among Haredi Adolescent Males.” Master’s Thesis, McGill University, 2004.
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