Definition Of Deviance

Definition Of Deviance

Deviance has to be the one topic that made to stop and think while really referring to the society. Deviance is defined as the actions that are a deviation from the norm, but most people confuse it with crime. This is because in the society we live in people love social order and committing a crime is a deviation from the norm (Sykes and Matza’s, 2009). All crimes are considered to be part of deviant behaviour but not all deviant behaviours are crimes.

Deviant behaviours have both positive and negative sides of it. The one positive effect of deviant behaviour is that it brings about social change and development. This is mostly because man is known to be dynamic in his ways of living and will always seem to want to improve everything around him. This will lead him to do things differently and it through deviant actions that the society has become better. For instance the fights against racism and gender equality are results of deviant behaviour (Sykes and Matza’s, 2009). This is because someone in the society saw that the norm was not fair and wanted to change it. The negative aspects of deviance is that it disturbs the social order in a society and may lead to chaos and confusion as people are already set in their ways and all of a sudden they are expected to change.

Crime is a violation of the laws that govern the state while deviance is simply lack of adhering to the social beliefs; this means that deviance is a relative term that is it varies from one society to another. What is considered as deviant behaviour in one society may not be considered as deviant in another society (Sykes and Matza’s, 2009). For instance in most African societies, it is not accepted for a woman to speak before men; however in the developed societies of America it is the order of the day. In some societies polygamy is widely accepted and a man can have more than seven wives and all are okay with it, but in developed countries that is not acceptable.

What stands out is that a society cannot survive without deviance as the oppressed will always seek for better treatment away from the accepted ways, man will always want a different environment and he will induce that through deviant behaviours.


Sykes, Matza’s. (2009). Techniques of Neutralization as Justification for Deviant Behaviour, University of Oklahoma Print Press