Deviance is an act that goes against the social norms such as rules or expectations. It can be something small such as running through the stop signs or it can be something big such as hijacking an airplane. Deciding if the act is deviant or not depends on the context (society, environment, etc.). According to Howard S. Becker, it is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act that, makes something deviant. Deviance is not a word that is used for judging people, but it is used to refer to an act to which people respond negatively. Norms vary among different cultural groups, therefore, one deviant act in one group might not be deviant to another. For example, it will be considered deviant or going against the norm if someone decided to
In any and every society, there is a level of deviance or crime, no matter how big or small. Deviance is when the norms of a society are disregarded, while crime is when there is a defiance of laws within a society. Individuals who are deviant tend to be nonconforming to the society in which they live, challenging social expectations and deviating from what is considered the norm. Meanwhile, crime is a form of deviance that also discards norms, but in a way that breaks the laws of a certain society or community. When looking at deviance and crime in a micro-level perspective, there are three different theories often used to analyze the reasoning for both in a society. These theories include the Differential Association Theory, the Control Theory and the Labeling Theory. In further dissecting these theories, one can gain a greater insight into the workings of society.
Deviance as a word refers to any behavior regarded as odd or unacceptable. However, from a sociological point of view, deviance refers to any action or behavior that runs contrary to social norms (Macionis and Gerber 200). This includes crimes, which are violations of formally enacted rules, as well as violation of the socially accepted norms. Norms refer to the rules as well as the expectations that guide the conventional behavior of human beings (Macionis and Gerber 204). Thus, deviant acts arise from non-conformance with these norms. Deviance is relative, to both the time and the place. This is because an act that may appear deviant in a particular context may not be deviant in another. For example, fighting at school is a deviant behavior,
In my years growing up has been a whirlwind of events and fast growing to adulthood. I believe that all crime is not deviance and all deviance is not crime.. At a young age I wanted to get a move on with life I wanted to be an adult therefore I was employed with a fulltime job at fifteen years old, while still attending school fulltime. I took it a step further and was emancipated then married at fifteen years old to a man a few years older then me. Was this deviance to my family yes because I wanted to be an adult not a child? Was it a crime could have been but I believe
During the 1970’s to the early 1990’s there had emerged two new approaches to the study of crime and deviance. The discipline of criminology had expanded further introducing right and left realism, both believe in different areas and came together in order to try and get a better understanding on crime and prevention. There were many theorists that had influenced the realism approaches such as; Jock Young (Left Wing) and James Wilson (Right Wing).
The legal definition of crime is “an act of violation of a criminal law for which a punishment is prescribed; the person committing it must have intended to do so and must have done so without legally acceptable defence or justification” (Walsh & Hemmens 2008:2). Alternatively, deviance is any social behaviour which departs from that regarded as ‘normal’ or socially acceptable within a society or social context (Jary & Jary 1991:160). The underlining focus of my essay is The Criminal Justice System in England and Wales which is a key public service consisting of various bodies and individuals including: the Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty’s Court Service, National Offender Management Services (Probation and Prisons) and Youth Justice Board.
Crime and deviance are seemingly effortlessly defined by the Oxford dictionary. However sociological prospectives have differing views on crime and the explanations for it.
Crime can be described as an act that harmful to an individual as well as the society; such acts are against and punishable by the law. While deviance can be described as acting against social norms, for example a boy wearing a skirt would be out of place in the society
Deviance can be defined as an absence of conformity to the social norm. Not all deviant behavior is necessarily illegal or harmful to individuals, these behaviors can range from standing in another’s personal space to murdering another individual. In some cases, it can be looked upon as a positive change or a unique and favorable act. Although, considered deviant because it is not the social norm, it still can have a very positive social aspect or lead to social change. Culture and the societies within these cultures have a significant impact on what is considered deviant and what is acceptable or even lawful behavior. The degree of deviance is measured by society’s reaction towards the action and the lawful sanctions that may take
Crime as a social construction is the idea that reality is created in our minds. What we perceive something to be ends up to be what it is. Crime, often described as deviance is a labelled behaviour. If one does not view an action as deviant at the time then it is not deviant, this shows us how deviance is a relative concept. In terms of how different people perceive crime, depending on what religious or ethnic backgrounds one may come from, there is heavy variation between individuals. What is illegal or legal in one culture can be very different in another culture. It can
Deviance is socially constructed because it is defined and outlined firmly by society’s norms. As a result, a deviant act in one society may not be considered deviant within a different society. Societies define themselves through the shared common values of the individuals and in order for a society to maintain these values and cultural identity they create and maintain boundaries (Erikson, 2005, p17). These boundaries allow individuals to relate to each other in an articulate manner and so that they may develop a position within society (Erikson, 2005, p17). The boundaries are created by individuals’ behavior and interactions in their regular social relations. Deviance then becomes the actions which society perceived to be outside of its boundaries. In other words, an act is viewed as deviant when it falls outside of those commonly shared values and norms which created the boundaries. This is because the society is making a declaration about the disposition and arrangement of their boundaries. Boundaries are not fixed to any society rather they shift as the individual’s redefine their margins and position on a larger cultural map (Erikson, 2005, p20).
With changing norms in response to deviance, the deviant behaviour can contribute to long-term social stability. This provides the key to understanding the disruption and recalibration of society that occurs over time. Some traits that could cause social disruption will be stigmatized. As traits become more mainstreamed, society will gradually adjust to incorporate the formerly stigmatized traits. Take, for example, homosexuality. In urban America 50 years ago, homosexual behaviour was considered deviant. On the one hand, this fractured society into those marked as homosexuals and those unmarked as normative heterosexuals. While this us-versus-them mentality solidified social identities and solidarities within the two categories, there was nevertheless an overarching social schism.
Crime is considered to be some breech or violation of behaviors which stand in opposition of rules or norms instituted by some governing body. Some actions are considered to be crimes throughout most societies in history; murder or physical abuse can serve as an example as an example. However, the majorities of things that are considered crimes are more of a subjective nature and vary widely in different societies. In many societies it is a crime to be an atheist or to be homosexual for example, while in other societies these items are tolerated and in some cases are considered social norms. Furthermore, when an individual is considered to have committed a crime, the punishments for these crimes also can vary widely depending on the culture, the social norms, the position of the authority figure, as well as a plethora of other factors. This paper will analyze some of the different forms of crime and they develop and how they are treated in different societies.
Crime is an act against the law where the consequence of conviction by a court is punishment is a serious one such as imprisonment. The Oxford English Dictionary states that crime is: - “An act punishable by law, as being forbidden by statute or injurious to the public welfare…An evil or injurious act; an offence, a sin”. The government usually set laws that the people must follow, punishment is given for those who lighten those laws. The legal or criminal justice system applies the law and punishes those who break it. Crime is described by Blackburn (1993; p.5) ‘acts attracting legal punishment […] offences against the community’. There is a social shame associate with crime. It is important to note that all breaches of the law are not criminal such as civil offenses and breach of contract. The word ‘crime’ is reserved for the offences that cause harm or injury to the public, individuals or the state. Social, political, financial and emotional conditions influence the definition of crime and how the law is useful. These changes may ban or allow behaviour. The data on crime will have to take this reason into account.