Deviance is recognized violation of Cultural Norm.

  • Actions / attitudes
  • “outsider”
  • Doesn’t always involve choice
  • Lots of cultural variation

Social control: Attempts by society to regulate thoughts and behaviour

Deviance varies according to cultural norms.

People become deviant as others define them that way.

Both norms and the way people define situations involve social power.

From a Structural-Functional analysis: Emile Durkheim’s insight:

  1. Deviance affirms cultural values and norms.
  2. Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries.
  3. Responding to deviance brings people together.
  4. Deviance encourages social change.

Dysfunctions: reduces certainty that others will conform, costly

Also see Labelling Theory.

Labelling Difference as Deviance

In our society, we see things that people who are different from us as deviant. This is an an idea that Thomas Szaz was concerned about:

  • Tendency to treat difference as deviance or even illness
  • Enforcing conformity to standards set by those in power

Yet, there are certain differences that are also praised.