Deviance refers to behavior or characteristics that violate significant social norms and expectations and
are negatively valued by large numbers of people as a result. Deviants are those who violate these
• Conformity refers to behavior that is universally accepted, approved, or expected within society.
Norms, which guide action and behavior, help to ensure conformity.
• Social controls are mechanisms for maintaining social norms. They may be either:
1) Informal (internal) social controls – include significant others and relies on successful socialization.
These are generally effective and inexpensive.
2) Formal (external) social controls – include structures or institutions that enforce norms or laws of
society (e.g., police and courts). These are generally ineffective and expensive.
Formal social controls can be either:
a) repressive – tend to have extraordinary powers to detect and enforce a wide range of behaviors or
conduct (common in authoritarian societies)
b) restrained – permits social control agent less power and authority in regulating behavior (common in
• Crimes refer to violations of norms that are formally enacted into criminal law by local, state, and
• Criminal justice system refers to the formal system that responds to alleged violations of the law using
police, courts, and punishment.
• The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) is the major source of information on crimes reported in the
United States. The UCR focuses on eight major crimes, called index crimes: