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Related to deviance: Social deviance


any social behaviour which departs from that regarded as ‘normal’ or socially acceptable within a society or social context. Whilst deviance includes criminal behaviour, its sphere is far wider than this. Furthermore, not all criminal behaviour will always be labelled as deviance, e.g. minor traffic offences (see also CRIME, CRIMINOLOGY).

Although there are some recurring elements among the forms of social behaviour regarded as deviant within society, for the most part social deviance must be seen as a socially relative phenomenon, in that conceptions of normality and deviance are relative to social context and highly variable between different societies, different subcultures, etc.

As emphasized by Erving GOFFMAN, there is also an important sense in which all social actors are deviant in that no one conforms to all the canons of socially acceptable behaviour, none of us entirely fits any social ideal, and we are all sometimes in situations in which we are socially deviant.

A further crucial question is, ‘What or who within society determines “deviance"?’ As stressed by BECKER (1963), ‘deviance is not a quality of the act… but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions’. Thus, the question of by whom, and how, deviance is ‘labelled’ becomes crucial to its explanation (see LABELLING THEORY).

Two main sociological approaches to the study of deviant behaviour can be identified. The first approach includes functionalist accounts of deviance. For example, in the work of DURKHEIM, two complementary usages of the term ‘deviance’ are found. In The Rules of Sociological Method (1895), he describes crime as ‘normal’, in that it is a universal phenomenon in societies, and is functional in that the concepts and ceremonies surrounding crime provide a ‘social reaction’ to crime and a ritual ‘reaffirmation’ of social values which strengthens the social order. In Suicide (1897), Durkheim focuses on deviance as a social problem arising from ‘abnormal’ or ‘pathological’ forms of social solidarity particularly excessive individualism (‘egoism’) and ANOMIE.

Modern functionalist accounts of crime have largely followed Durkheim's. For example, for Parsons, deviance results from inadequate socialization, while Merton directly builds on Durkheim's concept of‘anomie’.

The second approach has developed, in particular, in opposition to the ‘positivism’ seen as underlying orthodox criminology and related approaches to the study of deviance. The starting point of such an alternative approach was the LABELLING THEORY of Becker and others. This was combined, especially in the work of the Radical Deviance Theorists (e.g. Taylor et al., 1973), with a revival of general critical debates about deviance and social control, including Marxian theories of crime. See also PRIMARY AND SECONDARY DEVIANCE, DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION. NATIONAL DEVIANCY CONFERENCE. Compare FOUCAULT.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
The effects of job insecurity on workplace deviance might also vary across different individuals.
Third, this study examines supervisor-targeted deviance, an outcome that is likely influenced by, but which has not yet been studied in conjunction with, co-rumination.
Past studies indicated that job-related affections influenced employee deviance, particularly negative affectivity (Alias et al., 2012; Salami, 2010; Aquino, Lewis, and Bradfield, 1999).
The literature (e.g., Michaels & Miethe, 1989; Blankenship & Whitley, 2000) provides initial support for the theory that authoritative parenting may inhibit adult children's academic dishonesty, in that it allows for a conceptualization of academic dishonesty as related to general deviance, thereby suggesting that authoritative parenting might have a similar relationship with both types of behaviors.
Some research has examined the relationship between deviance and maternal and child health; (14,16,20-22) however, this research has focused primarily on pregnancy outcomes and children's health (especially child nutrition), rather than on the use of maternal health care services.
The term deviance was first used in 1938 by the Americans sociologists, meaning "all behaviors against rules of conduct or institutional order," and Merton considered deviance as "a normal reaction of normal people in abnormal conditions" (Quoted in Radulescu, 1990: 9).
This research study aims to examine the association between sleep deprivation and individual performance of working mothers with in the educational sector of Pakistan, and to examine the role of mediators, which are "stress at the workplace and workplace deviance" in the given relationship of sleep deprivation and individual performance.
Similarly when an organization treats an employee well and pays him adequately, the employee might not indulge in organizational deviance. In fact s/he will work for enhancing the productivity of the organization.
Deviance or delinquency are commonly measured in two ways: through official records concerning convictions and through self-reported measures.
Now in a revised and expanded second edition, "Sociology of Deviance: Differences, Tradition, and Stigma" by Robert J.
Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Ed Wright, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said Sethi had abused the residents to satisfy her own "sexual deviance".
Employee Characteristics Associated with Deviant Workplace Behaviors Chapter 2: Emotions and Deviance Chapter 3: Bom to Be Deviant?