Crime and Deviance


In modern day society we often speak of crime and deviance but what are they?   Crime could be defined as being an act, by a person or persons of a specific society, which breaks the law of that society. This could be anything from not paying a Television Licence to committing an act of murder.   Deviance however is when a person or persons do not conform to the social rules of their society by failing to adhere to the social “Norms and Values”. This could be some thing as minor as wearing the wrong type of clothing to a deviant act of murder and from this, we can conclude that crime is always deviant but not all deviancy is criminal.   BBCFE (page 1)
Cultural relativity plays a great part in the definition of crime and deviance because “Norms and Values” vary considerably across different societies and what one society considers acceptable another may consider deviant or criminal.   In Britain walking about in the nude would be acceptable in the home but walking down a busy high street like this, would be deemed deviant.   In America shooting a person who you deem to be an endangerment to your physical well being is acceptable but this would be a criminal act in Britain. The Gender, age and class of a person would also determine whether an act is deviant or criminal. An example of this would be a man in the Netherlands having sex with twelve year old girl. This would be acceptable as this is the age of sexual consent there but in Britain this would actually be a criminal act and the man would be seen as a paedophile by society, and would face criminal proceedings.   Time in history also plays a part of what would have once been seen as deviant and who is deemed deviant but today is no longer classified as so. An example of this would be having a child out of wed lock.   The woman would have once been seen as a deviant, but the man who sired the child would not have been classified as so.