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Deviance – Normative and Non-normative Behavior (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Now, let’s take a look at something called Deviance.

    00:04 This is when you’re actually going against some of these norms.

    00:08 So, it’s described as a behavior that violates social norms, either formal or informal.

    00:13 So, if it’s an informal norm, and you’re going against that, it does not mean that you’re breaking a law, and it doesn’t mean that you’re a social deviant.

    00:23 You may have heard that term before.

    00:25 So there’s a range in terms of severity of deviance.

    00:28 So things like jaywalking or not opening that door for that old lady going in to the store, you’re deviating from this informal social norm but it does not make you a social deviant. Okay? Versus something more formal where perhaps you’ve committed a murder.

    00:45 You’re definitely breaking a social norm, a formal norm and in that point the level of deviance would be much higher.

    00:53 Now, before complicating this motto would be social context.

    00:57 Now, I have an image here that you can see and we have a couple of our good Canadian boys playing some hockey.

    01:03 and in hockey, it’s okay to take a stick and slash a player and punch him in the face until he loses some teeth.

    01:11 But if you’re at a parking lot and somebody’s steals your parking spot and you go and pull out a stick and hit that person in the face, knocked out a couple of teeth, it’s a little bit different.

    01:21 In the hockey arena, you get a standing ovation and you’re considered a legend and in a parking lot, you’re considered a deviant and you might be going to jail.

    01:29 So, the two situations there, the difference is the social context.

    01:33 One is in a sporting arena and one is a shopping mall parking lot.

    01:37 One it’s okay to get into a fight and break a norm versus a parking lot where you really shouldn’t be doing that.

    01:46 Now, let’s look at Differential Association.

    01:50 So, how do you learn some of this deviant behavior? So deviance learned, this behavior, when they’re around other individuals.

    01:59 So we say that deviance learned, deviant behavior and it is not inherently part of one’s nature.

    02:03 So, think of our young generation, and if you remove the fact that they don’t know anything about say smoking or drinking.

    02:13 But they’re in this environment.

    02:14 and one of their peers at school perhaps one of the older kids is smoking.

    02:20 The young children will see that and learn this deviant behavior not because it’s something that they feel is within their normal behavior and what they wanna do is they’re seeing it so they are learning that deviant behavior.

    02:32 And as a result, they end up partaking in that deviant behavior.

    02:37 So, they are exposed to that who are engaging like deviant behavior therefore they pick it up.

    02:43 So that’s different than saying something that it’s a little bit more innate where we have these individuals who are social deviant and might have murder within them.

    02:53 So, they might commit serial murders.

    02:56 And this isn’t something that they’re necessarily learning from looking around them, this is something that they might have innately within them.

    03:02 So, two differences there.

    03:06 Now what are two theories in terms of understanding deviance: One is Labeling Theory and what we’re saying here is that this motto suggest, this theory suggest that the deviance is caused by that individual being labeled as a deviant or that deviant behavior.

    03:21 They internalize that and then act upon it.

    03:24 So, again, let’s think of a youngster and the reason I keep going back to a young child is because a lot of times, their behavior is still being shaped; which is why it’s really really important to be cognizant about how you interact with these young people.

    03:39 So, think of a kid at school and that kid is labeled as being a bully.

    03:46 This kid always pushes all the other kids around and why wouldn’t he look at him and look at the way he’s dressed and he’s always hanging around those other kids that cause trouble.

    03:54 All of a sudden, he gets labeled as “that kid”, “that bully”.

    03:58 And maybe he’s actually not a bully and once, just that one time when somebody stole his sandwich, he decided to push back and say, “No. that’s my sandwich.” And all the people remember was the fact that he pushed another child.

    04:10 Now, he’s been labeled as a bully.

    04:12 Now, because he’s been labeled as a bully, he starts to believe that maybe I am a bully.

    04:17 and now he starts to actually conform to that label which has been given to him and now he starts bullying more and more ‘coz he’s thinking that’s how I’ve been labeled.

    04:25 Now another side of things is the Strain Theory.

    04:30 And here, what happens is we suggest that the deviances caused by the disparity of social goals and legitimate means by which to achieve them.

    04:37 So in English, what I’m saying is that society says you need to, get a great job and you should be able to afford a car and have a nice place by the time you’re 21.

    04:50 These are some goals that have been set by society, other realistic, maybe not.

    04:55 But to some people who achieved those goals, yes.

    04:58 To some people not achieved those goals, of course.

    05:00 So those who don’t achieve, they might start to deviate.

    05:03 Say, how am I gonna come up with enough money to get a car? Well, I don’t have enough money to get a car. So now, I’m gonna have to find ways.

    05:10 Well, maybe if I steal, I can sell those stolen goods and make some extra money that will allow me to get the money that I need to buy a car.

    05:19 And now, we’re saying as the deviant or the deviant behavior arises from the stranger’s stress on an individual because of the goal that they have in front of them and the means by which to get to that goal.

    05:30 So, perhaps they don’t have the education that they need or they aren’t doing as well in school or they don’t have the time, they don’t have the support to do well in school and get a great job and so as a result, they find ways to achieve that end goal which is still have a nice car, wear the nice clothes and do all the right things.

    05:47 But the reason they’re achieving these behaviors because of that strain that leads them to the deviant behavior.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Deviance – Normative and Non-normative Behavior (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Social Processes That Influence Human Behavior.


    Author of lecture Deviance – Normative and Non-normative Behavior (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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