Term for person in group who exemplifies untolerated behavior

Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 08:46 am
Hi, I'm wondering if there is a specific term used to describe people in social groups who become "that guy" who's a rebel that always pushes the boundaries of the social norms of the group.

People will say things like, "He's an example of how not to act." I'm such a person in my particular social group. I'm wondering if there's a particular term used to describe this kind of behavior and any articles / essays/ resources that describe the usefulness / function of such a person in any group.

In my experience, it seems to give cohesion to establishing social norms in a backhanded sort of way amongst the rest of the group. As long as I'm "that guy," there's always an example to point to of how not to act. Someone can look at me and know what behavior to avoid.

I also have the potential to become a scapegoat for the rest of the group if anything goes wrong perceivabley as a result of such untolerated behavior. I'm not sure if that's a particularly good thing. But it is kind of funny.
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Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 08:52 am
Troublemaker, black sheep or misfit might work.
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Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 08:54 am
Firstly, welcome to A2K. There's a few members here in this forum that might fit that description.

A few terms come to mind:
black sheep
social pariah
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Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 09:21 am
Thanks for the welcome and the replies! I'm curious, too, am I thinking about this correctly? Does a black sheep actually serve a positive function in a group, even if through some backhanded way that doesn't seem readily apparent to the rest of the group? Are there any studies you know of that outline the behavior, its function, and even perhaps its necessity?
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 09:53 am
Update -- I found this (here: http://academic.cuesta.edu/fha/1a/study%20guides/study%20guide%20for%20chapter%206%20conformity%20deviance%20and%20crime.htm):

Émile Durkheim
Deviance is necessary for society.
Deviance can contribute to the stability of society.
Deviance in an innovative force.
Deviance promotes boundary maintenance.

Functions of deviance
Deviants help us to understand what is considered “right” and “wrong.”
We try very hard to avoid the sanctions that result from doing “wrong.”
We try to avoid deviance so that we will not be treated as social outcasts.
Public punishments prevent us from behaving in a similar way.

This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for. Can anyone recommend any more resources that talk about deviants being necessary for and contributing to the stability of society? Thanks!
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 10:03 am
There is a black sheep social theory.

It's not so great for the black sheep in the group, but it's supposed to make the balance of the group stronger.
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 10:04 am
There's not much that is positive in regard to the deviants.
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Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 10:17 am
Can you direct me to any resources that detail this theory, especially in how it makes the balance of the group stronger?
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Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2015 10:53 am
I recently read the book "Masterminds and Wingmen" and it had this to say:

Here are the eight roles tweens and teen boys play, according to Wiseman:

Mastermind - He is naturally good at figuring out people's weaknesses based on what would cause the maximum amount of public humiliation. He decides what is funny, stupid or cool.

Associate - This person is more talkative and more well-liked than the Mastermind. He's interested in everybody else's business and how the group can use information about people to their advantage.

Bouncer - Like a bouncer at a club, this kid is generally big and tall. He isn't good at verbally defending himself and he can't read other's motivations very well. He'll do what the Mastermind and Associate tell him to do, and that often gets him in trouble.

Entertainer - He's the boy who's the first to diffuse tension in a group by being willing to make fun of himself or making jokes. He has a hard time knowing when to stop joking around.

Conscience - Every group needs one. This is the kid who's worried about getting caught and thinks through the consequences of what the group wants to do. He's a rule follower.

Punching Bag - This boy is relentlessly ridiculed by other members of the friend group. He goes along with it because he doesn't like conflict and just wants people to get along.

Fly - This boy hovers outside of the group, or several groups. Guys can tolerate a Fly for a while, but they generally get frustrated with him because he isn't really a part of the group and they shoo him away.

Champion - He may be the only boy who doesn't conform to ‘Boy world' and is comfortable being himself. Most kids like and respect the Champion.

I don't know if these roles hold through to adulthood but my guess is that you're somewhere between The Entertainer and The Punching Bag.
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