• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Deviance is normal" - In what sense is this true?

Extracts from this document...


"Deviance is normal". In what sense is this true? Deviance could be identified as a form of social classification which is a sociological concept concerning "things" which offend a cultures expectance and social norms. Thus deviance can change over time and differ from societies, what is not accepted in one decade or society can be in another. For example guy relationships where once perceived as a mental illness. It could now be argued that they have become social accepted and are no longer perceived as being deviant or a mental illness. This change of viewpoint could be due to time and the society's values changing. Downs and Rode defined deviance "As banned or controlled behavior which is likely to attract punishment or disapproval." Thus suggesting that all forms of "anti social" behavior are included, when considering deviance. Such acts such as murder which attracts punishment right through to mild acts such as burping and farting which attract mild disapproval. Therefore Downs and Rock could be suggesting that deviance is "normal" depending on the boundaries that the society enforces. Deviance can be either secret or private and occur within the home and can also be public and open. Deviance however is often concealed and feared off. ...read more.


Secondary deviance concerns acts which have been publicly labeled as deviant and can affect ones status in society. By society labeling more acts as deviant they could be in danger as creating further deviance as ever act could become deviant. Thus labeling people as deviant publicly marks them out so that the individual who was ones a friend, family member is now perceived as a criminal and has a stigma attached to them. They have been given a negative status and are not allowed to interact with society and may feel rejected thus seeks comfort in committing more deviant acts as they have accepted the label that has been given to them. This is referred to as "self fulfilling prophecy" where the individual carries out deviant acts as it gives them some form of "social status" and they feel it is what is expected of them. The labeling theory can be criticized as it does not consider who makes the rules and does not take into account how they become applied. Further more it does not take into consideration were the stereotypes originate form (Soc in focus pg 480) In addition there is no evidence suggesting that labeling an individual does have an effect on their behavior and cause them to be deviant or whether it is the interaction with other so called "criminals" which cause further deviant behavior. ...read more.


For example epilepsy has been in all three categories in history it has been perceived as a mental illness, a form of social deviance (badness) and as it is know today a physical illness. Ideas of what is social Normal can be worked out from these three categories. All the theories appear to empathies the importance that conformity plays in whether deviance occurs or not. It could be argued that a society should give leeway and accept that deviance is normal and likely to occur, due to as all being individuals with different thoughts and feelings and roles to play within society. For society to advanced according to Durkeims perspective then we need to take individuals needs into consideration and perhaps be more understanding. This can be seen in Holland who accept deviance as normally and have a lower crime rate, whereas in South Africa who implement strict rules and punishments on levels of freedom they "sow higher levels of violence" (Giddens pg 153). Thus suggesting that societies who accept deviance as normal need not suffer breakdown and moral confusion as long as equality is still a key factor. In addition as long as society's members are allowed to fulfill their wishes and are not restricted and the needs of the wider community are not forgotten then deviance need not be seen as a threat and be considered as Normal. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    Dobash & Dobash (1979) support the view that domestic violence is a product of patriarchal marriage relationships. They found that domestic violence was often triggered off by husband's perception that his wife was not carrying out her 'duties'. This suggests there is some validity in radical feminist ideas.

  2. Evaluate Functionalist Theories of Crime and Deviance

    This theory is predominantly backed by the clear fact that areas termed as "inner city" do indeed have higher crime. However, this theory can be criticized for being too simple, and also because Shaw and McKay's idea of "concentric zones" do not fit in with any city- which have a mixture of different zones in different areas.

  1. describe four studies relating to crime and deviance - each from a different perspective. ...

    Discrimination against individuals within these categories suggests that they are more likely to be labelled than middle or upper class individuals. Becker's theory emphasises the importance of being publicly labelled as it is possible the label may consume the individuals' identity - it becomes the 'master status', which disallows the individual to be anything other than the label.

  2. Compare and Contrast the Main Sociological Theories of Deviance.

    People will identify differences between themselves and others, no matter how small; these differences will constitute a form of deviance. Humans then don't just identify differences, they also evaluate them: good/bad, normal/abnormal, natural/unnatural. Another argument put forward by Durkheim, is that crime can have a positively beneficial role in social evolution.

  1. Outline and Assess Sociological Approaches to Social Control Within Crime and Deviance

    Police officers are drawn from the community and reflect its characteristics. This is particularly prevalent in small, rural villages with close-knit communities. Conflict policing has been suggested by Scarton, who argues the police can best be seen as an occupying force, imposed upon working-class and ethnic-minority communities.

  2. Critically Compare and Contrast Functionalist and Traditional Marxist Perspectives On Crime.

    Merton has been criticised ands it has been assumed that he gives no real explanation on why one person offends and another doesn't, this seems to be untrue as he does argue the different types of behaviour that working class are more likely to feel less guilty for committing a criminal act that a middleclass person would.

  1. Literature Review: The Impact of Heroin Prices on Robbery Trends

    drugs and crime, or the effectiveness of drugs treatments in reducing crime- rather than studying the price of heroin and its relationship with crime. Despite these gaps, existing research has laid the foundations for further research in this field. This review therefore suggests that future research is necessary in order

  2. Crime and deviance in Trinidad and Tobago

    the lower working class as a result of them having less access to the legitimate means by which to succeed. In Trinidad and Tobago, this is looked at as a Caribbean island that is more industrialized than others and therefore, has a higher standard of living and higher income levels.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work