normative and relativistic definitions of crime and deviance

the normative and relativists approaches to explaining and defining crime and deviance.

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what is the normative definition of deviance?

The normative definition of deviance is the common sense definition. A typical example of this definition is that 'it refers to actions which differ from the sociall accepted standards of society'. It provides a simple and clear image of a society that has shared values and accepted ways of behaving. Underpinning this definition of deviance is the belief that society is essentially consensual, that is that the vast majority of the population share similar values.

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what is the relativistic approach?

The relativistic approach argues instead that society is a diversity of values not a consensus, as societies are just too complex for their to be a clear set of shared values. Sociologists from this perspective point to the conflicts of interests and diversity of beliefs and values that helped characterize modern society. The relaivistic approach to deviance therefore suggests that there are different sets of competing values that coexist and are constantly in a state of change, jockeying for the position to become the more socially valued, values of society. So the values of society are to be understood less in terms of consensus of fundamentalist beliefs and values and much more as the outcome of some sort of dynamic process whereby some values are adopted by society at the cost of other values.

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what are the differences between the normative and

The key question for the normative definition is what are the differences between people who deviate and people who behave conventionally? what makes deviants act in the way they do? Whereas the relativistic approach argues intead that the dominant values are just the outcome of a struggle to get one groups values accepted over anothers. The focus of study for the notmative approach is to explain the causes of deviant behaviour, whereas the key focus for the relativistic approach is to uncover the processes whereby one set of values dominate.

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