●A. Defining Deviance●Deviance is behavior that does not conform to basic cultural norms and expectations.●1. Deviance and Social Context●Emile Durkheim argued that crime (and deviant behavior) could be defined only in relation to the social norms a criminal act violates. ●We are not offended by action because it is a crime; rather, we define an act as criminal because it offends basic social norms. ●These basic norms contribute to what Durkheim called the collective conscience,the shared norms, beliefs, and values in a community. ●What is considered normal or deviant varies over time and across cultures, and definitions of normal often shift in response to social change. ●2. Labeling Theory: Defining Deviant Behavior●A behavior is defined as deviant when it is marked publicly as deviant by those with enough power to enforce that designation.●Labeling theory argues that deviance is the result of how others interpret a behavior and those individuals who are labeled deviant often internalize this judgmentas part of their self-identity.●3. The Effects of Deviant Labels●People who are labeled deviant are likely to face negative consequences and limited options in life. ●Those who are labeled deviant must deal with the stigma or shame associated with their deviant label. ●Stigma refers to the shame attached to a behavior or status that is considered socially unacceptable or discrediting.●Labeling people as deviant may lead them into secondary deviance, deviant behavior that is a responseto the negative consequences of labeling. ○Labeling creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and marks social boundaries between the normal and deviant.
●B. The Role of Deviance within Social Structures●Emile Durkheim pointed out that deviant behavior is a feature of all human societies. ●He argued that deviance can be functional, playing a positive social role, and reinforcing social structures. ●1. Defining Group Boundaries●In much of social life, rules are implicit rather than explicit. Deviance helps clarify the boundaries of acceptable behavior.●2. Creating Social Solidarity●Deviant behavior reinforces conformity within a socialstructure. ○Example: Erickson’s study of the hysteria aboutwitchcraft in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts.●The way people respond to deviance can produce group solidarity.●3. Providing a Source of Innovation●Deviant people push boundaries and can facilitate change.○Example: advocates of democracy considered radicals●C. Explaining Deviance●Sociological explanations emphasize the social dynamics surrounding deviance, explaining it as a rational choice, the result of inadequate or improper socialization, or the product of mismatch between social norms and economic opportunities.