In the field of sociology the concept of deviance refers to the behaviours or action which can violate the social norms and protocols comprising of social violence, crime, etc. Deviance is a behavioural character that is not in conformity with an existing set-up or code of manner. Even if deviance may have an adverse association, the destruction of social standards is not always a harmful action; positive deviance occurs in some conditions. Although a norm is disrupted, a behaviour can still be categorized as positive or suitable. Social standards vary from one culture to another culture. A deviant act can be devoted in one civilization but may be usual for a different culture. Opinion for deviance varies over time, as the conception of what is a social standard regularly deviations. Deviance is relative to the place where it was devoted or to the time the act took place. Slaughtering another human is generally considered wrong for example, except when governments permit it during conflict or for self-defence. There are two types of main deviant actions, mala in se and mala prohibita. The destruction of standards can be characterised as two forms of deviance and they are formal deviance and informal deviance. Formal deviance can be defined as a crime, which interrupts regulations in a society. Informal deviance are minor damages that break unwritten guidelines of social life. Norms that have great ethical consequence are mores. Under informal deviance, a more opposes social restrictions.
Taboo is a solid social system of conduct considered divergent by a majority. To speak of it openly is convicted, and hence, almost completely escaped. The word “taboo” originates from the Tongan word “tapu” meaning "under prohibition", "not allowed", or "forbidden". Some procedures of taboo are banned under law and transgressions may cause punishments. Other methods of taboo result in embarrassment, insolence and shame. Taboo is not worldwide but occurs in most of the societies in this world. Some of the examples comprise incest, murder, rape, or child molestation.
In order to describe the deviant behaviour in the society, mainly three theories can be used easily. The theories are structural functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interaction. The term structural functionalism refers to the concepts of how the factors of a single society live in a collective manner and then interact with each other to form the whole society. The concept of social functionalism has come from the work of Robert Merton and Emile Durkheim.
The Merton’s Strain Theory stated about the deviance in terms of the means and goals as a vital part of the life as well. On the other hand, the theory of Durkheim depicts that anomie is the confounding of social standards. Merton goes further and proposes that anomie is the state in which societal goals and the legitimate means to realize them do not correspond. He hypothesised that an individual's response to societal prospects and the means by which the specific pursued those aims were beneficial in understanding deviance. The two dimensions regulate the variation to culture as per the cultural aims, which are the culture's opinions about the ultimate life, and to the institutionalized means, which are the genuine means through which a person in the society may aspire to the cultural goals. According to the Merton’s theory, there are 5 types of deviance in the society of the human beings. They are mainly innovation, ritualism, conformists, rebellion and retreatism.
Another theory that is symbolic interaction refers to the forms of communication, explanation and alteration between persons. Both the nonverbal and verbal responses that a audience delivers are similarly constructed in expectation of how the original speaker will react. The ongoing process is like the game of charades, only it’s a full-fledged discussion. The term "symbolic interactionism" is used as a label for a comparatively distinguishing method to the study of human life and human behaviour. By using the symbolic interactionism reality is comprehended as social, developed communication with others. Therefore, most of the symbolic interactionist thinks that the physical reality does not really exist by a person’s social definitions. Both the society and individuals cannot be disconnected far from each other mainly for two reasons. The first one, as both are created through social interaction, and second one is that one cannot be understood in terms without the other. Behaviour is not well-defined by forces from the environment such as drives, or instincts, but rather by a reflective, socially understood meaning of both the internal and external incentives that are currently presented. Under this, theory of Neutralization, the explanation of deviant behaviours by giving alternate definitions of their activities and by providing explanations, to themselves and others, for the lack of responsibility for engagements in specific circumstances. On the other hand the labelling Theory developed by Frank Tannenbaum and Howard S. Becker, discusses the process of social response by the "social audience", (stereotyping) the individuals in civilization exposed to, mediating and consequently defining (labeling) someone's performance as deviant or else.
Edwin Lemert developed the idea of secondary and primary deviation as a process of explaining the methods of labelling. Primary deviance is any common deviance before the deviant is labelled as such in a specific way. Secondary deviance is any accomplishment that takes place after primary deviance as a reaction to the official identification of the individual as a deviant.
The concept of deviance can be applied in the criminal justice system of the society and there are three sections in this system and they are police, courts, and corrections system. The police preserve public order by applying the law. Police use personal choice in deciding whether and how to tackle a situation. Courts depend on an argumentative procedure in which attorneys-one on behalf of the respondent and one representing the Crown-present their cases in the presence of a magistrate who observes legal trials. Community-based improvements include trial and parole. These programs lower the cost of controlling people imprisoned of crimes and decrease prison congestion but have not been exposed to decrease tendency.
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