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What is Deviance?

- an action or behavior that

violatessocial norms, including a
formally enacted rule,as well as
informal violations of social

Types of Deviance
Negative Deviance
behavior that fails to
meet accepted norms
- Occurs when people
either reject the norms,
misinterpret the norms or
are unaware of the norms

Positive Deviance over

conformity to social

Relativity Deviance
- Determination of which behavior or characteristics is deviant and
which is normal is complex
- According to Howard Becker it is not the act itself, but rather
the reactions to the act that make something deviant
- Deviance is a matter of interpretation
- What makes an act deviant then depends on who commits it; who
labels it; and where and when it occurs

Relativity Deviance
Actor Relativity evaluations of
behavior by an audience can be
altered depending on who is doing
the act
- Positions, characteristics and
groups bring different
expectations as to what
constitutes deviant behavior

Relativity Deviance
Audience Relativity socially
created by collective human
judgments and ideas
- Judgment depends on
observer who witness and
evaluates act

Relativity Deviance
Situational Relativity
immediate situational
circumstance can influence
definitions of deviance

Elements of deviance
Behavioral Expectation a norm that defines
appropriate, acceptable behavior, ideas or
Violation implies some violation of normative
expectation whether real or alleged
Reaction form of avoidance, criticism, warnings,
punishment or treatment

Social Control
set of means of ensuring that people
generally behave in expected and
approved ways
- Without social control the society will
be unproductive and even chaotic

Types Social Control

1. Internal social Control
with in individual that
developed during
socialization process

2. External social control based

on social sanctions or system of
rewards and punishments designed
to encourage desired behavior
Ex. Positive sanctions: awards,
smiles of approval, higher grades
Negative Sanctions: criticisms,
imprisonment, failing grades

Explanations of Deviance
- Early thinkers: deviance on the work of evil
spirits and demons
- 18th century, classical criminology: deviance
on unrestrained self-interest of irrational
- 20th century: deviance caused by individual
physiology and personality while some believes
that societal conditions influence people to
violate norms

Biological Explanations
Cesare Lambroso

William Sheldon

- people are born criminals

- body types or somatotypes

predict criminality

- he claimed that criminals

are throwbacks to earlier
(animal like forms of Homo
Sapiens) that physical
degeneration or Atavism
made criminal types

- concluded that muscular

and athletic builds are
more likely to commit

Psychological Explanations
viewed deviance as a result of unsuccessful
socialization, leading to some personality disorder

Sigmund Freud
- most people learn in the process of growing
- children look for an appropriate adult to identify
and imitate

Societal Explanations
- deviance as a result of societal processes and
structure rather than individual anatomies or
Functionalism and Deviance

looks on the negative and
positive consequences of
deviance in the society.

Deviance is functional for two

1. Ritual of Punishment
2. Useful in making necessary
changes and in preparing for

Functionalist Theories

Structural stain theory

Robert Merton
More likely to occur when there is a gap
between societal goals and the ability to
achieve those goals through legitimate means
Conformity is when people accept the goal and
allow the legitimate means of achieving them

Structural stain theory

- However not all people follow the
goal nor abide to legitimate means
when people resort to these strain
they report to deviant adaptations

Retreatism those who reject

and withdraw from both the goals
and means of the society

Innovation when people remain

committed but eject legitimate

Rebellion people who respond

to strain by changing goals set by
society and offer alternative
means of achieving new goals

Ritualism when a person rejects the

goal of economic success and
continues to work hard as the
appropriate aim was to succeed

- dropouts of the society

Functionalist Theories

Control theory

- Travi Hirchi
- Conformity to social norms depends on
the presence of strong bonds between
individuals and society
-Deviance happens when ANOMIE is present

Control theory
Four components
A. Attachment - ties of the
individual to their families, friends,
and institutions
B. Commitment - embracing
conventional activities and the more
committed the individuals to
mainstream values and goals they
are less likely to become deviant

c. Involvement- expenditure of
time and energy to conventional
D. Belief - commonly held values
bonds the individuals to rules of
the larger society and reinforces
the legitimacy of the society

Social Conflict and deviance

- Deviance as a result of power differentials
and social inequalities
- Diverse groups with varying degrees of social,
economic and political power, compete to have
their interests and values protected and
preserved in law
- Powerless often carry the stigma of deviance

Social Conflict and deviance


The norms and laws generally reflect the interests

of the wealthy and the powerful

2. Even if the behaviors of the powerful are called
onto question, they have the resources to resist the
deviance level
3. Norms and laws are often believed to be natural
and good thus hide their political character

Symbolic Interactionism and

- Explains how people define deviance in everyday
Differential association theory
- Edwin Sutherland
- Deviance is transmitted through
socialization the same way as
nondeviant behavior is learned
- Deviance is learned through primary
groups which individual associates with

- Learning of deviance depends on

three things

ratio of deviant nondeviant



the deviant behavior is

practiced by significant others


age of exposure

Symbolic Interactionism and

Labeling theory
- Makes us understand why deviance is relative
- focuses on social behaviors EXPLAIN EXAMPLE
- According to Edwin Lemert labeling is a twostep process
1. Individual engages in isolated acts of
deviance (primary deviance)
2. When deviance becomes a lifestyle and a
personal identity (secondary defiance)