Crime and Deviance Definitions

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  • Created by: Maria
  • Created on: 27-06-10 09:08


Any behaviour which breaks laws is a crime and is often followed by punishments. For example, shoplifting breaks laws and is thus a crime. All crimes are also deviance – usually formal deviance.


Any behaviour which differs from the norms of a society which are usually disapproved of or stigmatised is deviant. For example, turning up late to a class does not break any laws but is not approved of, therefore it is deviant.

Deviance may be formal or informal, with informal deviance not breaking any laws and formal deviance breaking laws. Formal deviance is not always punished. For example, finding and keeping money in the street breaks a law, however it is rarely punished. Elias states that if there is no rule anywhere, it is acceptable – the civilising process. Therefore, a behaviour breaking any rule…


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