February 27, 2013
Albertus Magnus College – Sociology of Work
In the sociological sense of the word deviance is simply any violation committed that is not considered one of society’s norms. Deviance behavior can range from something minor, such as a traffic violation, to something major, such as suicide or murder. The meaning of deviance may differ between societies and the cause of deviance behaviors can vary depending on who you are asking. There are many different thoughts on what causes a person to perform in a deviant manner. Some may say its biological or psychological and even sociological reasons. There have been many studies to try and determine why people have deviant behavior and what happens to individuals when norms are broken. Not all behaviors are judged the same by all groups. For example, some may question if there are conditions under which suicide is an acceptable behavior. Lets same one person commits suicide in the face of a terminal illness but another person is a despondent person who jumps from a window, the second person may be judged differently. The first person’s suicide may be looked at with pity which the second person would be looked at in a shameful way. Another behavior that would highly be considered deviant would be committing a crime. For example, juvenile gangs provide an environment where young people learn to become criminals. Gang members glorify violence and retaliation as means to achieve social status. Whether it is an act of a crime or gang violence, criminals learn to be deviant as they embrace and conform to their street or gang’s norms. Americans consider such activities as alcoholism, excessive gambling, being nude in public, starting fires, stealing, lying, prostitution, and being gay to name only a few as being deviant. Therefore people who engage in deviant behavior are referred to as deviants.