Deviance

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  • Refers to any behavior outside the socially dictated boundaries of normal, correct, or proper activity. Deviance encompasses a variety of behaviors. Criminal behavior is commonly defined as deviant, but behavior need not be against the law to be deemed deviant (e.g., tattoos and piercings). Deviant behavior is a socially constructed category. It is relative to what is considered ordinary or typical. Deviance is informed by culture, time, and place; therefore, the dictates are always changing in accordance with social norms. That which is deviant in one society or group may be customary and acceptable in another. Deviance is used to describe both behavior and individuals. A question related to deviance is whether it refers to behavior beyond the socially prescribed norms or acts that are ...

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