Lectured by: Ms. Ace Samaniego
• is any attributes, or belief that violates a cultural norm and elicits from others a
negative or positive reaction.
• Is any action that is perceived as violating some widely shared moral value or norm
of a society’s or group’s culture .
Different Elements of the definition
• First, when we think of deviance, we typically think of someone doing something
• Second, reactions to deviance are usually negative but the definition of deviance
allows for positive reaction.
• -Nothing is inherently deviant
• What is deviant depends not on the act, attribute or belief itself, but on how others
react to it.
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF DEVIANCE
• Deviance is a matter of social definition. It exists only in relation to the social norms
that prevail in a particular place, time, group, and situation and it changes over
• What is deviant is not absolute, but culturally relative It depends upon:
a. situational context
b. historical context
WHO BECOMES DEVIANT?
• Deviant behavior always carries the risk of punishment, whether it be social
disapproval or criminal sanctions. Why do some people regularly engage in deviant
acts, while others do not?
Explanation of Deviance
I. Non sociological Theories of Deviance
A. Biological Theories -Making inferences about another person’s character based on
his or her appearance
• Deviance and Physique
• Deviance and Heredity
II. Sociological Theories of Deviance
1. Durkheim’s Normality of Deviance-
• Emile Durkheim observed that deviance is an inevitable part of social life.
• Since all societies have norms, there will always be individuals who violate
• Deviance is normal in a society
2. Psychodynamic Theory of Sigmund Freud
• Freud argued that most people learn in the process of growing up how to inhibit or
productively channel their innate drives toward pleasure and aggression. Some
children who lack appropriate adult with whom to identify, whose moral norms and
values they can adopt as their own, such children fail to develop a strong super ego.
Freud believed that these people are especially prone to deviance.
3. Social learning Theory
• Explains that children learn deviant behavior by observing and imitating others who
behave deviantly, especially those that are close to.
4. Differential Association theory
This theory holds that people who engage in deviant behavior tend to form social bonds
with other deviants who reinforce deviant norms and values.
5. Robert Merton’s Structural Strain theory
• In Merton’s view, high rates of deviance are the result of discrepancy between
societal expectations and opportunities, between cultural goals and the means
available for achieving them.
• Merton wrote “ Some social structures, exert a definite pressure upon certain persons
in the society to engage in non conforming rather than conforming behavior”
Merton’s Five Modes of Social adaptation
• Conformity- Continuing to seek culturally approved goals by culturally approved
means, despite the discrepancy between expectations and opportunities.
• Innovation - Pursuing culturally approved goals by culturally disapproved means
( including illegal activities).
• Ritualism - Conforming so strictly to socially prescribed means of achieving goals
that the larger goals are forgotten.
• Retreatism – Abandoning both the goals and the means of achieving them that one’s
• Rebellion – Rejecting the approved goals and means of achieving them and
embracing new, socially disapproved ones instead.
The Social Functions of Deviance
Although deviance disrupts social systems, it also serves the positive functions of:
• Reinforces Existing norms
• Enhancing social solidarity
• A catalyst for social change
• is a violation of a norm that has been entered into law and is backed by the power and
authority of the state to impose formal sanctions.
• Crime and deviance overlap but they are not identical.
• Not all deviant acts are illegal.
• Definition of deviance is subjective, even when widely shared, but crimes are
formally defined by explicit procedures of law.
Types of Crimes
• Violent crimes – crimes that cause serious harm to people or property
• Victimless Crimes- in this type of crime, there is usually no complainant – that is, no
one who feels he or she has been harmed
• Organized Crimes - is a self perpetuating conspiracy that operates for profit or
power and that seeks to obtain immunity from the law through fear and corruption
• White Collar Crimes - crimes committed by a person of respectability and high
status in the course of his occupation
• Corporate Crimes - crimes committed in behalf of a formal organization. Their
primary goal is to boost company profits or avoid losses.
Refers to the efforts of a group or society to regulate the behavior of its members in
conformity with established norms