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Old 04-23-2009, 06:00 PM   #1
Brad Dougherty
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CrossFit as deviant behavior?

Hi, I just wanted to get some people's take on whether or not crossfit is deviant behavior. I am currently a college senior and in my class, 'deviance,' we are studying behaviors, conditions, and acts that are considered deviant. For a final paper, we have to select a deviant individual, group, organization or behavior that we consider deviant, and then research and explain why it is deviant. We also have to compare it to one of the groups that have come into the class to give a presentation (sado-masochism group, transgenders, Vermont Separatist, satanic and ritual worship, and biker gang) For my research I am using participant observation (I've been crossfitting for over a year now), and the crossfit journals. I would like to supplement this with some personal feelings from fellow crossfitters as to if you consider it deviant behavior or not.

Deviance by my definition (there are a millions ways to define it) is behavior or actions that are not generally accepted by the majority of society. We learned that there are 4 ingredients to deviance which are 1) a rule or norm, 2) someone who violates rule/norm, 3) audience, or someone who judges the action as a norm violation, and 4) likelihood of negative reaction. I consider crossfit deviant behavior due to its followers are a relatively small minority, we are unaccepted by the general gym population (look at the seen at a globo thread) and the negative reaction we have received (getting kicked out of globos, magazine articles) and the inherent risks and pain we suffer through a workout (rhabdo, rips, blisters, and puking). Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:53 AM   #2
Lurene Grenier
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

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Originally Posted by Brad Dougherty View Post
Deviance by my definition (there are a millions ways to define it) is behavior or actions that are not generally accepted by the majority of society. We learned that there are 4 ingredients to deviance which are 1) a rule or norm, 2) someone who violates rule/norm, 3) audience, or someone who judges the action as a norm violation, and 4) likelihood of negative reaction. I consider CrossFit deviant behavior due to its followers are a relatively small minority, we are unaccepted by the general gym population (look at the seen at a globo thread) and the negative reaction we have received (getting kicked out of globos, magazine articles) and the inherent risks and pain we suffer through a workout (rhabdo, rips, blisters, and puking). Thanks in advance.
I think paleo eating might be even more deviant considering your definition.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:08 AM   #3
Scott Erb
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

Under your (4-part) definition, any activity in which someone pursues excellence or success is probably deviant, including any fitness activity. I would encourage you to not create negative literature about Crossfit in particular or fitness in general (your defs again, could apply to Tour de France, Ironman, ultra-running, etc. etc.).

My point is that deviance has a clear and distinct negative connotation. Let's not associate that with fitness.

As an example... people who eat healthy food and run a lot (amateur runners with 6:30/mile 10K for instance)
Part 1 - is there a norm? Yes, a very large portion of the US population is overweight or obese and eats gobs of junk
Part 2 - Does person/group in example violate norm? Yes - not obese or overweight, eats healthy food.
Part 3 - Is there an audience? Yes - those same overweight/obese folks (not all of them - no flame wars necessary) who see the guy running every morning at 0600 and makes the 'there's the crazy running guy' comments
Part 4 - Is there a negative reaction? Yes - generally the disparaging remarks and resentment that 'it's easy for other people,' 'there's more to life than physical fitness,' etc.

Easy paper to write, but would be better clearly presented as a satire.

My recommendation would be to narrow the definitions to acknowledge the negative connotations of the term 'deviance' and find another topic.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:58 AM   #4
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

You have to realize that the training we are doing now dates back, well, to ancient grease and their gymnasiums. Organized weight lifting (two words) dates back to ancient china. Arthur Saxon and Eugene Sandow lifted heavy things for show at the turn of the century. Strongman games have a history in Highland games which dates back centuries.

I say the population at large are deviants in that they have deviated from the physical nature of our nature and history. THey have thrown away the physical capabilities we have honed over hundreds of thousands of years for a high score on Halo and to watch the latest episode of Lost. They have traded the energy, recovery and longevity that comes with a healthy diet for a bit of convenience.

Write a paper about those who have completely given up on themselves and their health, able to functions only becuase of the miracle of modern medicine. Write a paper about the hollow existence never knowing what they can do, never knowing what it's like to push yourself as our ancestors pushed themselves.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:02 AM   #5
Frank Dennis
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

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Originally Posted by Scott Erb View Post
Under your (4-part) definition, any activity in which someone pursues excellence or success is probably deviant, including any fitness activity. I would encourage you to not create negative literature about CrossFit in particular or fitness in general (your defs again, could apply to Tour de France, Ironman, ultra-running, etc. etc.).

My point is that deviance has a clear and distinct negative connotation. Let's not associate that with fitness.

As an example... people who eat healthy food and run a lot (amateur runners with 6:30/mile 10K for instance)
Part 1 - is there a norm? Yes, a very large portion of the US population is overweight or obese and eats gobs of junk
Part 2 - Does person/group in example violate norm? Yes - not obese or overweight, eats healthy food.
Part 3 - Is there an audience? Yes - those same overweight/obese folks (not all of them - no flame wars necessary) who see the guy running every morning at 0600 and makes the 'there's the crazy running guy' comments
Part 4 - Is there a negative reaction? Yes - generally the disparaging remarks and resentment that 'it's easy for other people,' 'there's more to life than physical fitness,' etc.

Easy paper to write, but would be better clearly presented as a satire.

My recommendation would be to narrow the definitions to acknowledge the negative connotations of the term 'deviance' and find another topic.
I agree wholeheartedly, I was trying to compose a succinct response but Scott hit it on the head. Any activity in which someone excels, particularly something which requires physical effort, almost by definition makes that person a member of a minority, and so just about any such activity meets the first three of your requirements.

It all hinges upon how you define "negative reaction" for the purposes of your definition of deviance. As Scott pointed out, if any "negative" reaction (jealousy, for instance, from people who want the results without putting in the effort) count, then yes, you could call CrossFit deviant by that definition but it would not serve a positive purpose.

If you're talking about a negative reaction in the sense that society finds the act "deviant" enough to be harmful or destructive (pedophilia, for an extreme example), then no, CrossFit doesn't fit this definition in anyone's mind, I would think; even those who think it's "too extreme" a fitness methodology cannot argue that point with the visible results of CrossFit.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:05 AM   #6
Andy Poquette
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
You have to realize that the training we are doing now dates back, well, to ancient grease and their gymnasiums. Organized weight lifting (two words) dates back to ancient china. Arthur Saxon and Eugene Sandow lifted heavy things for show at the turn of the century. Strongman games have a history in Highland games which dates back centuries.

I say the population at large are deviants in that they have deviated from the physical nature of our nature and history. THey have thrown away the physical capabilities we have honed over hundreds of thousands of years for a high score on Halo and to watch the latest episode of Lost. They have traded the energy, recovery and longevity that comes with a healthy diet for a bit of convenience.

Write a paper about those who have completely given up on themselves and their health, able to functions only becuase of the miracle of modern medicine. Write a paper about the hollow existence never knowing what they can do, never knowing what it's like to push yourself as our ancestors pushed themselves.
This would actually be a very interesting paper if you did it right. You could argue that the vast majority of humanity has deviated from tradition of self sufficiency. Why is it that we look at tribal hunter/gatherer society as "odd" but it's perfectly normal to go to McDonalds ( ).

I think it would be a far more interesting look at society to show how we have let ourselves slide to the point where we actually consider being fat and out of shape an "epidemic" 90% of the U.S. population could be considered deviant in this regard.

Eye of the beholder.
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:59 AM   #7
Jason Peacock
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

Yes, I really like approach of taking the long view and showing how the current majority is deviant when compared to human history. You can take many aspects of modern life to apply it to, and a make an interesting paper while examining the definitions (and assumptions) of deviance.

* Having above average strength/fitness is only unusual because the average has become so poor.
* Online communities have long been attacked for being refuges for anti-social deviants. But Facebook/Myspace is accepted?
* Apartment buildings used to be communities but now you scare people if you talk to them in the halls.
* Hitchhiking was a convenient, social way to get around but now it's terrifying yet the # of bad incidents isn't really that much higher than before.

Or maybe I'm just getting carried away here
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:47 AM   #8
Christian Gotcher
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

If I were to write this paper (assuming your four rules were given in the class), I'd use it as a case-study example for why those rules are too wide to fit the word deviant because of the distinct negative connotation associated with the word. You could address how to redefine "negative reaction," "norm," and "audience," for instance, to produce a more meaningful lay definition of deviance.

Just a thought.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:48 AM   #9
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

If it were my class, I'd fail a paper that treated Crossfit as deviant behavior.

Reason being that it trivializes the issue. Getting kicked out of a globo? Funny looks? pbbbpt! Members of groups that society truly considers deviant lose their jobs and get thrown in jail and/or killed.

So no, I don't think CF is deviant by the definition you gave, and I think trying to use it as your example misses the point of the class.

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Old 04-24-2009, 11:57 AM   #10
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: CrossFit as deviant behavior?

Katherine,

WHat about the funny looks we get for eating significan;ty different food from the rest of the office and the social stigma that goes along with it? Or going to a social event and not being able to eat anything there?

Having different needs as far as rest and recovery goes so we chose to not stay out as late, again missing some social interactions? Being somewhat sweaty and again stigmatized at the office?

Even within the the larger group of people who train, we are still not treated very well.
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