Crime and deviance introduction


Crime: behaviour which is against the criminal law.

Deviance: rule-breaking behaviour of some kind, which fails to conform to the norms, values, or morals of a particular society/social group.

An act can be criminal and not deviant, deviant but not criminal, or both criminal and deviant. Eg., smoking weed and illegal downloads are criminal but not deviant. Shouting and smoking are deviant but not criminal. Drink driving and genocide are both.

What makes us follow rules

Criminal behaviour:

  • formal agencies of social control - police, courts, prisons
  • The criminal justice system 
  • fear of punishment

Deviant behaviour:

  • informal agencies of social control - family, community, peers, education, religion.

How crime and deviance are socially constructed

What affects whether an act is deviant?:

  • context
  • who's doing it
  • motives
  • social expectations of 'normal' behaviour
  • other people's reactions

Societal deviance: acts which are seen by most members of society as deviant. Eg., ****, child…


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