Deviance and Crime: Definition
According to William Graham, a sociologist the term deviance is considered as the violation of established cultural, contextual, and social norms. The crime is considered the deviance act which breaks the rules, regulations and moral duties (Cole, 2014). A deviant act can be minor picking one’s nose in public and a major committing murder. People have different deviant behaviours that make them deviant. This behaviour is mainly influenced by social interaction and then accordingly people get labelled. The labelling and making up people is refers to the social process in which people is categorized as per their traits (Kramar, 2011). Furthermore, all these are influenced by enforcement and regulations of norms; here comes the role of social control. Social control is defined as a set of actions with the aim to change the behaviour of people (Innes, 2003). The aim behind social control is to ensure order and discipline, an arrangement of behaviours and practices as daily lives of people are based on these aspects. In order to understand the concept of social control, Foucault's view is used that includes the government and power (Foucault, 1979). This modern concept is considered as disciplinary social control by the government because they focus on the training of individual and continuous control. Further, his views are that through social control a normalized society can be created.
There are different theoretical perspectives on deviance such as biological perspective, functional perspective, and sociological perspective. The functionalist perspective considers deviance as a key element of society (Rimke, 2011). This perspective includes strain theory, Durkheim theory, cultural deviance theory, and social disorganization theory. Durkheim's theory states that deviance is an important part of success in society (Davis, 1972). Besides that, when a criminal is punished it confirms the social norms that contribute to the development of social control. On the other side, strain theory states that deviance is normal behaviour and in support, of Durkheim's theory, revealed that accessing towards the social acceptable objectives is an essential role in knowing whether an individual deviates or conforms (Downes, Rock, & McLaughlin, 2016). Strain theory includes five ways through which people adapt to the gap or don’t want to pursue the goal and have socially accepted goals. These five ways are conformity, innovation, rebellion, ritualism, and retreatism (Kramar, 2011). The functional perspective also emphasizes deviances and crimes are linked with the vulnerable group. But no such evidence is there for it. Whereas, crimes committed by owners and corporate employees remained under punished and costly. In support of this, Pwc reported that in 2013, 36% of companies in Canada were reported cases related to white-collar crime (Sinha, 2013).
Concept of Social Control
Now looking into the label that is given to women as when they are criminally deviant they are seen as double deviant people. Because women have broken the gender norms and laws as well. Whereas, crime done by men is seen as similar to their self-assertive and aggressive character (Rimke, 2011). Deviance and crime can also be seen from the symbolic interactionism approach that helps in knowing how “social groups are important to understand behaviours as conventional and deviant” (Kramar, 2011). The main element of the approach is concentrate on the social process in which deviant are identified, social activities are define and furthermore, these activities is labelled as deviant. According to Downes, Rock, & McLaughlin (2016), deviance can be learned due to this can be labelled and influenced by social control. In support of this, Hacking (2006) stated that deviance is not an intrinsic quality of people rather it is created by social connection. In this way labelling theory states people violate norms but few people consider themselves deviant. But those who believe that they are deviant are labelled as deviant by society. Labelling theory states that deviant behaviour can be assigned to another person by members of society. In this way, deviant is not determined by behaviours rather they are labelled as per the reactions of others to these behaviours (Little, 2016). Hence, when the label has been given is considered as deviant whereas in deviant behaviour the behaviour of the people is labelled.
Later on, labelling theory expanded and two types of deviances are identified. Primary and secondary deviance. Primary deviance is all about the violating the moral duties and norms does not lead to a long-term impact on self-image of an individual (Davis, 1972). Secondary deviance is all about a person’s behaviour and self-concept that start to change after people’s actions are labelled as deviant. This is also considered as an individual as master status. Master status is a label that shows the traits of people who are labelled as deviant. Such as some people view themselves as artists, doctors, and grandfather. Others see them as addicts, beggars, and convicts. In the criminal justice system, the labels are criminal and juvenile delinquent but these are not applied to people who don’t obey the law (Davis, 1972). Hence, due to labelling people being viewed as deviant irrespective of their level of crime and violation of norms. From the discussion, it is clear that deviant and crime are labelled as per the social norms and practices. Social activities influence the behaviour of people and social control is to maintain order and discipline. So it can be said that a person becomes criminal when violating the norms and laws set by the society and sometimes labelled as secondary and primary deviance as per their behaviour and act.
Cole, W. (2014). Introduction to sociology. Sociology, 1010(002), 002.
Downes, D. M., Rock, P. E., & McLaughlin, E. (2016). Understanding deviance: A guide to the sociology of crime and rule-breaking. Oxford University Press.
Davis, N. J. (1972). Labeling theory in deviance research: A critique and reconsideration. The Sociological Quarterly, 13(4), 447-474.
Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punishment: The birth of the prison system (A. Sheridan. Trans.).
Hacking, I., (2006). “Making Up People” London Review of Books (28: 16/17) August pp. 23-26.
Innes, M. (2003). Understanding social control; Deviance, Crime and Social order. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Kramar, K. J. (2011). Criminology: Critical Canadian Perspectives. Pearson Canada.
Little, W. (2016). Deviance, Crime, and Social Control. Introduction to Sociology-2nd Canadian Edition.
Rimke, H. (2011). The pathological approach to crime. Criminology: critical Canadian perspectives, 79-92.
Sinha, M. (2013). Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends. Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 1. Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11766-eng.pdf