SOCI 2445 – A
Sociology of Deviance
Lecture One: Introduction to Social Deviance
Professor Davies went over the course outline, which can be found on the main
Carleton site under “Departments”; under the specific course code and professor. (He
does not use WebCT or CULearn. Essay Questions and an Evaluation Grid can also be
found with the Course Outline.
Q: What is deviant behaviour?
E.g. – A grocery store sign states that cash 1 is for 1 – 8 items only. A woman walks up
to the cash with 9 items. An elderly woman asks her “can’t you read? This is only for 1 0
8 items!” The Clerk agrees with the elderly woman. So, the woman with 9 items
removes one and goes through the cash. Before leaving, she turns to the elderly
woman and curses at her. A male clerk at the next cash laughs.
Who is deviant?
There are different ways of viewing deviant behaviour.
Questions to ask in relation to Deviance:
How do we define deviance?
Why do people engage in deviant behaviour?
Why do some people assume a deviant behaviour?
There are several definitions on deviance:
1. Demonology/Demonological Explanations
Historically, deviance was viewed as persons who were possessed. It revolved
around witchcraft and the supernatural.
2. Physiological Definition
Anyone who has a physiological (physical) defect (e.g – shorter arm, shorter leg,
body types, etc.) is considered deviant. Any bodily defect we consider NOT to be the
norm. Who decides what is “ideal”? The Media.
3. Statistical Definition
Looks at numbers. The Majority within a society becomes/represents the “norm”,
while the minority represents the deviant. 4. Pathological Definition
Medical Analogy: Looks at society as a living organism. War makes it pathological. It
is “disease-like”. For example, Durkheim claimed that crime was normal, yet
pathological at the same time. It is the norm because it occurs everywhere; and it is
pathological once the State can no longer control it.
5. Relativistic Definition
6. Dangerous Behaviour
People are viewed as normal or dangerous by the way they act. The way you act
influences how people see you. People are classified as being serial killers and we
believe that they need to be locked up.
Terms of Dev