deviance n.
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Deviance. Deviance. Recognized violations of cultural norms Purpose or function? Affirms cultural values and norms Responding to it clarifies moral boundaries Responding to it promotes social unity Encourages social change Provides jobs. Functionalist theories. Merton’s Strain Theory

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  • Recognized violations of cultural norms
    • Purpose or function?
      • Affirms cultural values and norms
      • Responding to it clarifies moral boundaries
      • Responding to it promotes social unity
      • Encourages social change
      • Provides jobs
functionalist theories
Functionalist theories
  • Merton’s Strain Theory
    • tensions that are caused by the gap between cultural goals and the means people have available to achieve those goals.
  • Conformists are people who believe in both the established cultural goals of society as well as the normative means for attaining those goals. They follow the rules of society. An example would be a successful investor or businessman who is economically successful because of their employment or hard work.
  • Ritualists are individuals who do not believe in the established cultural goals of society, but they do believe in and abide by the means for attaining those goals. For example, a middle-management worker who cares little for wealth but still continues to climb the socioeconomic ladder through traditional means and hard work.
  • Innovators are those individuals that accept the cultural goals of society but reject the conventional methods of attaining those goals. These people usually have a blatant disregard for the conventional methods that have been established in attaining wealth and are generally those we regard as criminals. An example is a stockbroker who engages in illegal insider trading. The cultural goal of wealth is accepted, but nontraditional means of insider trading are used. Drug dealers, thieves, and prostitutes are also examples of innovators.
  • Retreatists are individuals who reject both the cultural goals and the accepted means of attaining those goals. They simply avoid both the goals and means established by society without replacing those norms with their own counter-cultural forces. Severe alcoholics, some homeless people, and hermits are examples of retreatists.
  • Rebels not only reject both the established cultural goals and the accepted means of attaining those goals, but they substitute new goals and new means of attaining those goals. Examples of rebels include the American Nazi party, “skinheads,” and the Ku Klux Klan.
interactionist theories
Interactionist Theories
  • Differential association
    • Criminal behavior is learnable and learned in interaction with other deviant persons. Through this association, they learn not only techniques of certain crimes, but also specific rationale, motives and so on.
    • criminal behavior emerges when one is exposed to a social message favoring criminal conduct more than messages favoring prosocial behavior

Labeling theory

    • behaviors are deviant only when society labels them as deviant

Primary and Secondary Deviance

    • The difference between primary deviance and secondary deviance is in the reactions other people have to the original act of deviance

Primary Deviance

    • An adolescent who smokes cigarettes with other adolescents is not at risk of being labeled a deviant among her peers, since they all smoke. Even though adolescents who smoke cigarettes are considered deviant by the larger American society, that teenager’s actions go relatively unnoticed, unpunished, and therefore unchanged. The primary deviance is of little consequence

Secondary Deviance

    • The same adolescent moves to a new school where his peers never smoke and where smoking is considered a deviant behavior. The students call him names and exclude him from all of their social activities. Because of their reactions to his smoking, he feels like an outcast and begins to smoke more, perhaps engaging in other deviant activities, such as alcohol or drugs

Control Theory

    • four elements that would render an individual more or less likely to commit deviance
      • Attachment - People who feel a strong attachment to other people, such as family or close friends, are less likely to be deviant.
      • Commitment - Individuals who have a sincere commitment to legitimate goals are more likely to conform to society’s norms
      • Involvement - The more involved people are with legitimate activities, the less likely they are to deviate from appropriate behavior.
      • Belief - An individual who shares the same values as the dominant society, such as respect for authority, the importance of hard work, or the primacy of the family, is less likely to commit deviance

1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine. 2) a crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison, since a year or less can be served in county jail. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute. Felonies are sometimes referred to as "high crimes" as described in the U.S. Constitution


offenses may include first degree murder (premeditated), murder with special circumstances (such as intentional, multiple, involved with another crime, with guns, of a police officer, or a repeat offense), and rape with additional bodily harm, and the federal crime of treason. A charge of a capital offense usually means no bail will be allowed


The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on how much money they have, the skill of their attorneys, race of the victim and where the crime took place. People of color are far more likely to be executed than white people, especially if the victim is white


The death penalty is a waste of taxpayer funds and has no public safety benefit. The vast majority of law enforcement professionals surveyed agree that capital punishment does not deter violent crime; a survey of police chiefs nationwide found they rank the death penalty lowest among ways to reduce violent crime.


Innocent people are too often sentenced to death. Since 1973, over 140 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed



  • Incapacitation
  • Deterrence
  • Rehabilitation