Deviance is non-conformity to a set of norms; crime is the breaking of laws. Deviance has two socially useful functions: it develops new approaches and thus promotes change and it promotes social solidarity through the maintenance of the boundaries between the acceptable and unacceptable. Merton saw a strain between the demand of modern society to be rich and successful and the actual social opportunities for some groups to attain success which could lead to different kinds of deviant adaptations. Other American theorists of the 1960s stressed the importance of subcultural groups that encourage or reward deviant or criminal behaviour. Labelling theorists see deviance not as a property of an individual, a social group or of an act, but of the meaning given to that act in interactions between ‘deviants’ and ‘non-deviants’. The ‘new criminology’ saw deviant behaviour as an active response to the inequalities of the capitalist system. Left Realism criticizes the Marxist-inspired new criminology for romanticizing
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course SOCIOLOGY Sociology taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..