Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Deviance
  • Oss0212
  • Sociology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Discuss changes in the definition of deviance over time


    OER Text material

    Deviance and Control

    Chapter 7, subsection 7.1. In this subsection examples are given of behaviors that were considered deviant some time ago but now considered normal, and vice versa. For example, in some states the use of marijuana which was considered deviants is now considered normal. Throughout the chapter, examples of changes in the definition of deviance are given.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    Deviance and Conformity (Video)

    This presentation is about how the definition of deviance has changed over time, The presenter notes that in the Netherlands, before 2004, smoking on commuter trains was normal behavior. However, since 2004, it is considered a deviant before to smoke on commuter trains. He acknowledges that what is considered deviant is not fixed, rather the definition depends on time and the place we live in

    Deviance: Changing Concept, Elements and Forms of Deviance

    In this article, Mondal walks us through the changing definition of deviance. He compares definition during pre-industrial era to that of the era of the industrial revolution. Then, he brings in more recent definition of deviance starting with the definition by the sociologist Howard Becker. For Becker, “Social groups create deviance by making the rules whose imposition constitutes deviance, and by applying these rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders.” Thus, deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather the consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender.

    Deviance and Social Control (Video)

    This video explains how society defines and controls deviance. How we define deviance varies over time and differs from society to society. Deviance may lead to change but may also result to social problems like crime. The presenter gives examples of how the definition of deviance has changed over time.


    Introduction to Sociology/Deviance

    Data on recidivism, prison population of US compared to other countries, adult corrections populations by status, rape rates, homicide rates, etc.