What is Deviance

HideShow resource information

What is Deviance.


Crime is a behaviour which breaks laws and is punished by the legal system

All crime is deviant, however, not all deviance is criminal.

What is deviance?

Deviance is behaviour that deviates from the norm, introducing the concept that ideas of deviance/normality are culturally defined/specific.

Deviance can be classed as a narrative within societies as it is an accepted explanation of certain behaviour.

Deviance is a wide ranging term used by sociologists to refer to behaviour that varies, in some way, from a social norm. In this respect it is evident that the concept of deviance refers to some form of rule breaking behaviour.

Deviance is a broader concept than crime as it refers to a range of social phenomena which the dominant culture has stood against.

Many forms of behaviour maybe socially condemned or challenged even through the behaviour is not specifically illegal e.g binge drinking, swearing, street corner society or hoodies.

Example drugs.

Cannabis is legal in Holland but not in the UK and certainly not Sweden.

In Holland marijuana smokers would not be labelled as deviant like they are in the UK.

In Holland cannabis smoking is seen as less of a social risk and more of a social norm seen in coffee shops and some bars.


Heroin addicts are seen as deviant figures in society who commit crime.

But hospitals supply heroin, not seen as deviant by the state and the public.

Sexual deviance.

This concept refers to behaviours that invloved induviduals…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »