Professionals have names for the different behaviours that people illustrate for processing
o Depression: when they can no longer become and productive and functioning
member of society
o adj. Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society. (e.g. madness)
o n. One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes
differ from accepted social standards.
o Deviancy: state or act of being deviant
o Primary Deviance: Where the individual commits deviant acts but does not adopt a
primary self-identity as a deviant.
Is not aware the behaviour is unacceptable
o Secondary Deviance: Where the individual commits deviant acts and although
recognizing that these acts are socially defined as deviant remains committed to
continue them. This results in the adoption of a deviant self identity that confirms and
stabilizes the deviant life style
Doesn‟t care what the rules are but adopts the deviant lifestyle and not
accepting of other people calling them wrong
May accept the behaviours of the label that others have given them
But can then maybe actually have the illness or is it in their head?
o Are social norms always good, fair, and true?
o “According to Sirnes, normality is historically and culturally specific and non-
substantial. It is necessary to identify the logic of normality in order to adapt
individual actions forced by social demands. Normality does not grow out of a
specific set of values, but appears totally random (Sirnes, 2006). It is the expectation
of certain behaviours defined by the power elite in society, and even people who do
not honour these definitions will try to adapt to them to a certain extent (Goffman,
Sometimes people are doing the right things that many consider normal, but in
the wrong way that makes them be seen as abnormal
No scientific basis or validity of normality, it‟s always culturally changing
Even though there‟s no real normality, there‟s a way to illustrate it
Society imposes the standards of normality
Who makes up the norms:
o Absolute Norms: Some societies have absolute rulers with total power. They claim
they have absolute knowledge, wisdom, and truth. They make rules that they say must
never be changed or broken or society will „fall apart‟. Followers who try to change
or break the rules may be punished severely or killed.
o Relative Norms: Some societies have norms based on relating between people.
Truth, knowledge, and wisdom (i.e., „sanity‟, „sound mind‟) are considered „relative‟
and ever-changing. Some people may have more power to set norms. Rule breakers
are helped with changing and fitting into society, or are ostracized (rather than
punished or killed). Ostracization may have severe consequences, however.
don‟t have to fit into rules so strictly with harsh punishments o Individual Norms: What norms and rules do you follow? Having NO rules is a kind
of code too. Are your values similar to someone you know? Do they reflect your
family‟s values at all? Do you value your culture, your education, your technological
tools? Are your values very different from the dominant social norms in Toronto,
Canada in 2012?
may be generally imposed due to having been in the environment such as
o R.K. Merton argues that deviance is actually largely created by the structure of
Societal, not individualistic
Deviance labeled as Mental Illness
o Rules are not always written or stated. Legal rules are, and breaking them is called
„criminal behaviour‟ or „criminality‟. People can be convicted of a crime and be
ostracized, punished, or killed (Canada has no death penalty, but some want to have it
o Sometimes people are ostracized, punished or killed without breaking any stated
rules. These „deviants‟ (deviating from the norm) are not breaking stated rules, but
unstated rules. People who are not like „normal‟ people can be ostracized, punished or
E.g. name calling can be enough to signify to others that the individual is
deviant from the norm
o What kinds of deviance are there?
o Non-normal behaviours or beliefs can be identified, monitored, treated, and legally
constrained. For example, Ontario‟s Mental Health Act says people who can‟t take
care of themselves or make others feel threatened due to a mental disorder can face
o Case in point: Richard Green battled to have homosexuality removed from the DSM
(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in the 1970s. He is now
trying to put something into the DSM: pedophilia could be a „mental illness‟. What
makes some deviance an illness? And is some crime committed only because of an
o Mental Illnesses:
Give one example of former mental illnesses. (e.g. homosexuality,
Give one example of future mental illnesses?
Are illnesses just judgments?
o Howard Becker developed labelling theory (not labelling itself). He was an
American sociologist in the mid-twentieth century. Some of his points:
a label is applied by society, the condition is not „internal‟ to the labelled
person, it is not an individual defect.
Nothing else of the individual matters, expect that they are a
productive and functionin