Junior Melissa Bean is combining cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, literature and creative writing for her Gallatin concentration, called “Deviance and Social Control: Realities and Representations.”
Born in Rochester, N.Y., Bean came to Gallatin because, she says, “I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to study, and Gallatin was the only school that would let me approach the combination of subjects in my own way.”
Bean says that she has always been interested in the pervasiveness of social rules. “But,” she adds, “there are individuals and groups within any society who knowingly and purposefully go against the general social guidelines. The first part of my concentration is looking at those rules. The second part is looking at how these deviant groups are able to enforce themselves.” The last part of her project considers how we deal with these groups in the media. “What place do deviant groups have in our social narratives?” she asks.
Professor Sara Murphy’s class Guilty Subjects: Guilt in Literature and Psychoanalysis was one course that influenced Bean’s work: “It gave me a new way to think about both deviant behavior and social control on personal and social levels,” she explains.
This semester, spring of 2013, Bean is taking advantage of one of Gallatin’s many study-abroad options to study for a semester in London. “I like the mixture of freedom and individual attention at Gallatin,” she says. “I also like the fact that you learn so much about different things from your peers.”