Deviance : Deviance And Deviant Acts

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Deviance has had many definitions over the years as sociology has evolved and reevaluated the changing world. Although the definitions created by prominent sociologists including Erickson, Humphrey and Becker, differ there are resounding commonalities include the attention drawn to behavior outside of social norms, the label of deviance being transferred to an individual by way of social consensus and finally the societal reaction to the behavior that will either define it as deviant or not (Franzese, 2009). Most easily identified deviance is that of crime, murder, rape and theft to name a few, although these are obvious examples they are only a handful of types of deviance out of a much larger pool of deviant acts some of which that are…show more content…
An example of differing of social reactions to behavior is suicide, throughout much of the world suicide is not looked upon favorably and in some places it is illegal however, Japan (although becoming less now) has seen suicide as a very honorable, additionally various religious see it as a repentance of sins for themselves or spouses(Stack, 1982). Another example of this distortion of crime is cases of people in power or influence being held to a different standard due to their position (Anleu, 2014). An example of this would be the public believing a judge or a person in high position ‘could not’ be a child abuser just because of their position. These examples serve as points of contention against crime being the most fundamental of deviance as it shows that definitions of crime and deviance are highly variable and are easily influenced, this indicates fragility in the aforementioned argument.

To understand changes in the meaning of crime from a sociological perspective it needs to be viewed as the social construct in which it was created. Sociology views crime as being defined by societies reactions to behavior rather than society reacting to it because it is a crime (Rosenfeld, 2009). This suggests that for behavior to be considered criminal it must create a certain amount of social upheaval. However, this differs highly by context and over time, for example, behavior that was considered deviant in the past and once a crime (in varying
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