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The word deviance connotes odd or unacceptable behavior, but
in the sociological sense of the word,deviance is simply any








something minor, such as a traffic violation, to something
major, such as murder.
Each society defines what is deviant and what is not, and
definitions of deviance differ widely between societies. For
example, some societies have much more stringent rules
regarding gender roles than we have in the United States, and
still other societies’ rules governing gender roles are less
stringent than ours.
Gender and Deviance
In the United States, women who cry in public in response to
emotional situations are not generally considered deviant—
even women who cry frequently and easily. This view of women
has remained relatively constant. Over the past fifty years,
however, society’s perception of men who cry has changed. A
man who cried publicly in the 1950s would have been
considered deviant. Today, men who cry in response to extreme
emotional situations are acting within society’s norms. Male
politicians cry when announcing defeat, male athletes cry after
winning a championship, and male actors cry after winning an

killing another person is not considered deviant.  Individual societies: In the United States. including the following:  Location: A person speaking loudly during a church service would probably be considered deviant. . but during wartime. but an older child or an adult cannot. and standards for deviance change based on a number of factors. but a nonfamous person would be considered deviant for trying to do the same. customers in department stores do not try to negotiate prices or barter for goods.  Age: A five-year-old can cry in a supermarket without being considered deviant. whereas a person speaking loudly at a party would not. By today’s standards.  Social status: A famous actor can skip to the front of a long line of people waiting to get into a popular club. none of these men is committing a deviant act. not to do so is considered deviant. Relativism and Deviance Deviance is a relative issue. Society generally regards taking the life of another person to be a deviant act.award. In some other countries. people understand that one should haggle over the price of an item.

A Japanese executive who receives a business card and does not take the time to look at it and ask a question would be considered deviant. . The question may be irrelevant. One person presents his or her business card with the writing facing the recipient. who looks at it for a moment and asks a question about some of the information on the card.Cultural Norms and Deviance In Japan. but it tells the giver that the recipient has read the card and acknowledges the person and his or her company. there are strict norms involving the exchange of business cards.