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I have been asked to address the importance of deviance as it relates to study of...

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sweet107 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 25, 2010 at 2:53 AM via web

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I have been asked to address the importance of deviance as it relates to study of sociology.

Consider the concept of deviance. How do sociologists view the concept of deviance?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 25, 2010 at 6:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Your original question asked more than one question, so I have had to cut it down according to enotes regulations.

Key to the study of crime and deviance in sociology is the realisation that what we perceive as being a "criminal" or a "deviant" behaviour is socially constructed. That means that our society and culture, by the way it works, creates a list of such behaviours that are not included in the way the society expects its members to operate.

To illustrate this in practice, you only have to look at history and compare and contrast different cultures to see how at certain points in time and in certain places what is considered "deviant" or "criminal" varies greatly from today or from our culture.

A classic example I love to use with my students is food. In Korea and Indonesia, it is absolutely acceptable to kill and eat dog. It is a major meat source. Yet in the Western world if you killed a dog and ate it you would be committing a deviant act.

Likewise if you look at the change in legislation. A few years back in certain states it was illegal and a criminal act to purchase alcohol. The same with abortion. Now, it is not illegal.

These examples help us to see that what we perceive as "deviant" behaviour is actually just a result of our culture and society.

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