Deviance and Control

Deviance is a highly contested concept in the social sciences and beyond. As with most scholarly topics, the research on deviance includes many competing perspectives and shifting historical frameworks that can generally be divided into two main camps: (1) positivism, or consensus theories; and (2) social constructionism, or conflict theories. The former approach can be described as conservative (conserving tradition) and is based on the premise that there is a shared understanding in society about social rules or norms, what constitutes the violation of norms, and how violations should be punished and regulated. Conflict theories are based on the premise that there is no underlying agreement about what constitutes norms or violation of norms, and that deviance is socially constructed based on the interests of ...

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