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What is Deviance?
These are the recognized violations of
cultural norms.
The concept of deviance covers a
correspondingly broad spectrum
because norms guide virtually all
human activities.

Not all deviance involves action or even a

choice. (whites vs. colored, by mere
presence, gays, lesbians, or etc.)
Deviance actions or attitudes can be
negative or positive. In either case,
deviance involves difference that causes us
to react to another person as outsider.

Reactions toward deviance:

friendly advice (Informal Norms)
Criminal justice system a formal reaction
to alleged violations of law on the part of
police, courts, and prison officials.

Deviance is much more than a matter of

individual choice or personal failing.
How a society defines deviance, whom
individuals target as deviant, and what
nonconformity are all issues of social

Social Control
All societies target their members with
efforts at social control. Like norms, social
control takes many forms.
peoples attitudes and behavior. On this,
deviance, generally speaking, provokes
criticism and scorn.
the techniques and strategies for regulating
human behaviour.
efforts to ensure conformity to a norm

How Norms Make Social Life Possible

Norms make life predictable by making
behavior predictable
We are socialized to follow norms, play
basic roles that society assigns us.
Norms bring social order, a groups
customary social arrangement.
Groups develop a systems of social
control , formal and informal ways of
enforcing norms



Internal Norms
External Social control
Positive Sanction = reward
Negative Sanction = punishment

Informal and Formal Social Control

- Sanctions used to encourage conformity and
obedience and to discourage violation of
social norms.

Informal Social Control

Formal Social Control

going along with ones peers
the pressure to conform in group
situations can have a powerful impact
on social behaviour.
compliance with higher authorities in
hierarchical structure

The Biological Context

- People a century ago, misunderstood,
human behavior as an expression of
biological instincts. Early interest in
criminality emphasized biological causes.
According to Caesare Lombroso
suggested that criminals had distinctive physical
features resembles the apelike ancestors of
human beings.
Some people are literally born criminals.

According to William Sheldon

Suggested that body structure might be
related to criminality delinquency was
most likely among boys with muscular and
athletic builds.
If people expect muscular, athletic boys to
act like bullies, they may treat them
accordingly, thereby prompting aggressive
behavior in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Nature vs. Nature

Actually, there is NO physical

attributes, of the kind described by
Lombroso, distinguishing criminals
and non-criminals.
There is no
conclusive evidence that criminality is
the product of any specific genetic

The Social Foundations of Deviance

All behavior deviance as well as conformity is
shaped by society.

Three social foundations of deviance,

identified below:
Deviance varies according to cultural norms.
People become deviant as others define them
that way.
Both rule making and rule breaking involve
social power.


The structural functional paradigm
examines how deviance makes important
contributions to a social system. The
structural-functional theories imply that
everyone who violates conventional
cultural standards will be defined as

EMILE DURKHEIM: The functions of

Punishments established within a culture help
to define acceptable behaviour and thus
contribute to stability
He introduced the term anomie
a loss of direction felt in a society when
social control of individual behaviour has
become ineffective.

There is nothing abnormal about deviance

since it performs four functions essential to
1. Deviance affirms cultural values and norms.
2. Responding to deviance clarifies moral
3. Responding to deviance promotes social
4. Deviance encourages social change.

Mertons Strain Theory

Strain is a term that is used to refer to
explanations of criminal behavior that
argue that crime is the result of certain
group of people being placed in a
position where they are unable for,
whatever reason, to conform to values
and beliefs of society.

Merton argues that excessive deviance arises

from particular social arrangements. His
theory is concerned with cultural goals (such
as financial success) and the means (such as
schooling and hard work) available to achieve
them. The essence of conformity, then, is
pursuing conventional goals by approved


Deviant Subcultures
They maintain that criminal deviance results not
simply form limited legitimate opportunity but
also from available illegitimate opportunity.
Deviance or conformity follows from the relative
opportunity structure that your people face in
their lives.
Albert Cohen suggests that delinquency is most
pronounced among the lower-class youths
because society offers them little opportunity to
achieve success in conventional ways.

Six focal concerns of delinquent



Hirschis Control Theory

Travis Hirchis control theory assumes that
everyone finds at least some deviance
tempting; what requires explanation is not
deviance, but conformity.

A persons location in society as well as

strength of moral convictions are crucial
in generating a stake in conformity or
allowing everyday temptations to cross
the line into actual deviance.


Interactions with primary group and
significant others, people acquire definitions
of behavior deemed proper or improper
Process through which exposure to attitudes
favorable to criminal acts leads to violation of
The assertion that deviance and conformity
result, not so much from what people do, but
from how others respond to those actions.

Labeling Theory
Also called the societal-reaction approach
The theory stresses the relativity of deviance
meaning the same behavior may be defined in
number of ways. behavior that people so
Attempts to explain why certain people are
viewed as deviants, delinquents, and
criminals, while others whose behaviour is
similar are not seen in such harsh term.

a powerful negative social label that radically
changes a persons self-concept and social

Operates as master status.

Sometimes an entire community formally
stigmatizes individuals through what Harold
Garfinkel calls a degradation ceremony.

Retrospective Labeling
The interpretation of someones past
consistent with present deviance.
Labeling and Mental Illness
what we call mental illness is also a
matter of social definitions people
sometimes make with the intention of
forcing others to conform to conventional

Labeling theory links deviance not to
action but the reaction of others
First, it affects who responds to
Second, how people respond to a
Third, the personal competence of the
deviant person.

Relativity of deviance
acceptable in one culture is deviant in
another- this statement is true within
societies. Deviance is relative.


Edwin Sutherland suggested that we learn
social patters, including deviance, through
association with others, especially in primary
The likelihood that a person will engage in
criminal activity depends upon the frequency
of association with those who encourage
norm violation compared with those
encourage conformity Differentiation


The social conflict paradigm links deviance to

social inequality. The approach suggests that
who or what is labeled as deviant depends on
the relative power of categories.

Social conflict theory explains this

pattern in three ways.
First, the norms - including laws of any
society generally reflect the interests of the
rich and powerful.
Second, even if their behavior is called into
question, the powerful have the resources to
resist deviant labels.
Third, the widespread belief that norms and
laws are natural and good masks their political

Deviance and Capitalism

First, because capitalism is based on
private control of property, people who
threaten the property of othersespecially the poor who steal from the
rich-are prime candidates for labeling as
deviants. It means that the rich who
exploit the poor are unlikely to be
defined as deviant.

Second, many members of our society think of

people who are out of work even if through
no fault of their own as deviant.
Third, capitalism depends on respect for
figures of authority, so people who resist
authority are generally labeled as deviant.
Fourth, capitalism rests on the widespread
acceptance of the status quo; those who
undermine or challenge the capitalist system
are subject to deviant labeling.

Deviance and Gender

Virtually every society in the world applies
more stringent normative controls to women
than to men.
we judge the behavior of females and males
by different standers, the very process of
labeling involves sex-linked biases. Further,
because society generally places men in
positions of power over women, men often
escape direct responsibility for actions that
victimize women.