Deviance Is A Violation Of Established Contextual, Cultural, Or Social Norms

1784 Words Nov 13th, 2014 8 Pages
Crime exists within the broad category of behaviour that sociologists call deviance, according to sociologist William Graham Sumner ‘deviance is a violation of established contextual, cultural, or social norms, whether codified by laws or not.’ and crime is behaviour that breaks a law requiring a legal sanction. Crime is socially and historically subjective, as it varies depending on the time and place the act is committed, for example, homosexuality was illegal and punishable by death under the buggery act of 1553 while King Henry the VIII ruled, punishable by imprisonment in 1861, and decriminalized in 1967 (Haralambos, 2008, p322). Deviance, also varies across different time periods and societies, as it 's culturally determined, for instance, in Britain it is rude to burp in public, and in Vietnamese culture it is socially acceptable, and simply seen as a natural reaction after a meal. Although, Deviance usually comes with a negative connotation, it can also be positive, for instance, when Rosa Parks decided to sit on the wrong section of the bus, she challenged societies notions of segregation. This is a form of heroic deviant behaviour. Therefore, deviant behaviour is simply behaviour that goes against social norms of that particular society.

Investigation of crime began with Lombroso (1876) biological theory, who theorised that criminals were genetically different to the rest of us, and Bowlby (1946) viewed it from a psychological stance stating that children…
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